Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones says some of the revenues generated by economic development at the Boulevard and Shockoe Bottom could be devoted to other uses, such as schools and parks.
The offer comes at a time when Jones is pushing hard for a plan that would tear down The Diamond, the current home of the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Class AA; Eastern League) and free that land for development, with proceeds used to fund development at Shockoe Bottom that would include a new Flying Squirrels ballpark. It’s a plan that’s met with plenty of opposition on a couple of levels: ballpark opponents don’t want to see a sporting facility in an area with a past as a slave-trade area, and others don’t want to see privately industry benefiting from public spending. Whether the City Council will move forward with the plan remains to be seen — “I can’t say that I’m confident” there are seven votes for passage, says Jones — and if there’s no new ballpark, it’s unclear whether the Flying Squirrels will stay in Richmond. From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
“I think that as we continue to negotiate with City Council people and get them on board, that there’s probably going to be some designated streams that go to some various places that people feel very strongly about,” Jones said during a meeting with the editorial board of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The mayor didn’t elaborate on the point because the negotiations haven’t taken place, but one likely beneficiary of a designated revenue stream would be the city schools, which several council members have been seeking to bolster with new funding sources.
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