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Opposition to Shockoe Bottom ballpark intensifies

Richmond Flying SquirrelsThe very idea of a new Richmond Flying Squirrels (Class AA; Eastern League) ballpark in the city’s Shockoe Bottom district is causing protests today because of the site’s past as a slave-trading area.

The coalition of activists and academics oppose putting a ballpark in an area that was once the second-most-busy area for slave trading in the United States, behind New Orleans. Activists have worked for years to locate a slave-trading museum in the area, but funding has not materialized. Still, their contention is that a ballpark on a culturally sensitive area is inappropriate.

This is not a new argument. Ever since former Mayor Doug Wilder proposed placing a ballpark in Shockoe Bottom, the reaction from some in the community has been that a ballpark is an incompatible use for the site. And while their pleas didn’t directly stop progress on a Shockoe Bottom ballpark site — inaction from city officials and a lack of funding did that — they could exert plenty of political force in opposition, particularly if Mayor Dwight Jones does indeed propose a Shockoe Bottom site instead of a new ballpark near The Diamond.

ELATED STORIES: Poll: Squirrels home should be built next to current ballpark; Richmond: No vote on ballpark location; Flying Squirrels: Fans don’t know what they are missing; Richmond committee: Don’t put ballpark location to vote; Richmond ballpark location may be decided by voters; New Richmond ballpark: on or off?; Shockoe Bottom gaining momentum as Flying Squirrels ballpark site?; Progress made on new Richmond ballpark: McEacharn; MiLB squirrelly about new Richmond ballpark; Flying Squirrels: New ballpark still a priority; Flying Squirrels extend Diamond lease, setting stage for ballpark improvements; 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 siteRichmond ballpark discussion shifts back to Shockoe Bottom; Manchester in play as well; Richmond: Yes, we really do intend on building a new ballparkBudget issues postpone Squirrels ballpark to 2015 at the earliestNew Richmond ballpark by 2014?DiBella: Time to start talking new ballparkFlying Squirrels throw out first offer on new ballparkBaseball returns to Richmond’s Diamond — but for how long?


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