With a new ballpark several years down the road, the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Class AA; Eastern League) signed a lease extension for The Diamond through 2015, with options through 2017.
With the lease extension in hand, the Richmond Metropolitan Authority will accede to the team’s wish for new lighting at the ballpark, with a new playing field on the agenda as well. The lease covers the 2014 and 2015 seasons, with two one-year options going into 2017.
The original lease agreement was scheduled to end at the conclusion of the 2014 season.
“Maintaining The Diamond for the enjoyment of Squirrels fans and playability for the team is a top priority for the RMA as we consider the lease extension,” said RMA General Manager Mike Berry. “The installation of new lighting at the stadium will allow for greater reliability of the lighting system. We feel it is necessary to move forward with this project, while the metro regional partners continue to discuss new ballpark options.”
“Although the Squirrels have not lost sight that a new facility is needed for the long term viability of professional baseball in Richmond, we both realize the importance of creating the highest caliber conditions possible for the World Champion San Francisco Giants and all of our fans in Richmond. We thank the RMA for being pro-active in recognizing our needs,” said Flying Squirrels Chief Executive Manager Chuck Domino.
The lighting project is expected to cost approximately $300,000 and will be completed before the April 2013 season opener, according to David Caudill, RMA director of operations.
The lease extension should relieve some pressure on all sides to negotiate a new ballpark. A few different plans have been floated, including a new ballpark next to The Diamond and a new facility downtown, but funding and regional participation are two of the many hurdles in the process.
RELATED STORIES: Experts: Downtown ballpark could revitalize Richmond; Squirrels: No plans to leave Richmond “at the present time”; Didn’t take long: Opposition rises to Richmond Shockoe Bottom ballpark site; Richmond ballpark discussion shifts back to Shockoe Bottom; Manchester in play as well; Richmond: Yes, we really do intend on building a new ballpark; Budget issues postpone Squirrels ballpark to 2015 at the earliest; New Richmond ballpark by 2014?; DiBella: Time to start talking new ballpark; Flying Squirrels throw out first offer on new ballpark; Baseball returns to Richmond’s Diamond — but for how long?; Baseball returns to Richmond tonight; Flying Squirrels unveil uniform designs; Flying Squirrels unveil logo, color schemes; Richmond contest yields another dreadful name; Five finalists for Richmond team name announced; It’s official: Defenders to Richmond; Key decisions due on Connecticut/Richmond move this week; DiBella to keep Defenders, move team to Richmond;Opening Day Partners, HNTB propose radical overhaul of Richmond’s Diamond; Sale of Connecticut Defenders scrapped; New Richmond ballpark can’t happen without city assistance: consultants; Community support lacking for Richmond ballpark proposal; MiLB: New ballpark still preferred route in Richmond; Bostic: It makes no sense to renovate The Diamond; Richmond baseball study didn’t consider renovated Diamond, stacks deck for new downtown ballpark; Richmond ballpark consulting deal draws criticism; Norwich approves Defenders lease transfer; Richmond to study new ballpark; Defenders ballpark lease transfer on tap for next week; new team for Norwich chosen?; Renovated Diamond may do in Richmond; MiLB to Richmond: Show us the ballpark plan; Richmond group applies for permission to buy team; New Richmond ballpark would rely on sales-tax rebates; Richmond group says it’s close to buying team
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you a subscriber to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter? You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.