By Kevin Reichard
Could Richmond be a market where affiliated and independent baseball work together? Peter Kirk thinks so, and he’s laying out a series of scenarios for a new ballpark in Richmond that would accomplish just that.
Kirk, a veteran operator running three teams in the independent Atlantic League, is pitching a new-ballpark proposal for Richmond as part of a larger redevelopment plan submitted to the city by former city manager Robert Bobb. The combined plan would put an $40-million, 8,500-capacity ballpark in a 60-acre redevelopment that would include an entertainment district, retail and more. The Diamond, now the former home of the Richmond Braves, is currently part that parcel and would eventually be torn down.
New ballparks tend to be part of larger development plans, so that part isn’t unusual, but the proposal from Opening Day Partners – which comprises Kirk, Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson and veteran minor-league executive Jon Danos, as well as other investors – is unique on many levels.