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Richmond quietly positions for new ballpark

The Diamond

Richmond is putting together ownership of the The Diamond and surrounding land to position the city for a new ballpark there or at Shockoe Bottom.

Richmond originally owned the land at The Diamond and then shifted ownership to the Richmond Metropolitan Authority, which then built the ballpark. The deal called for the return of the land to the city should the ballpark be demolished, but the transfer is happening now. It won’t affect operations for the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Class AA; Eastern League).

By acquiring the nine-acre Diamond area, the city now controls 45 acres that would be prime real estate either for a new ballpark or a larger redevelopment, which could then fund a new ballpark in Shockoe Bottom. From Richmond BizSense:

“One thought would be to take the southwest portion of the Boulevard tract where we currently have a maintenance facility for our vehicles as well as a storage facility for our schools, tear those down and build a [new] Diamond there,” {Richmond Chief Administrative Officer Byron] Marshall said. “Schools will be moving off of that site by the end of the first quarter, and those two buildings will be ready to be demolished.”

Marshall did not address any potential role the Boulevard tract could play should the city strike a deal to build a ballpark in Shockoe Bottom or whether it might use proceeds from a sale of land on Boulevard to fund a downtown venue.

If a ballpark went into Shockoe Bottom, “instead of being able to develop 30 acres or so, there would be 60 acres available,” Marshall said of the Boulevard site.

Talk of a new Shockoe Bottom ballpark has already spurred protests from some in the local African-American community, who say a ballpark is not respective of the area’s former status as a slave-trading center.

RELATED STORIES: Activists: Ballpark not best use for Shockoe Bottom; 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 ballpark; Flying Squirrels throw out first offer on new ballparkBaseball returns to Richmond’s Diamond — but for how long?


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