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Deal reached on Flying Squirrels ballpark funding

Proposed Richmond ballpark

Work on a new Richmond Flying Squirrels (Class AA; Eastern League) ballpark in Shockoe Bottom will continue, as the City Council voted to spend $10.6 million in the current budget cycle on land acquisition.

The Council had threatened to strip all ballpark funding from the budget, but negotiations led by Mayor Dwight Jones led to a restoration of the funding. Ballpark opponents had painted the debate as a choice between school funding and ballpark spending, but the compromise takes some money originally earmarked for the ballpark and puts it toward schools. The new amount — $10.6 million, as opposed to $13.6 million originally budgeted — will be used for land acquisition and other planning.

In the long run, this is a blip: ballpark spending represents an awfully large pot of money, and any financially strapped municipality is bound to look at raiding it for other purposes. And building a new ballpark in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom area is a complicated project with lots of moving parts: money from the redevelopment of the Boulevard area (where the team currently plays at The Diamond) will be used to fund the Shockoe Bottom revitalization, which will include the ballpark, grocery store, retail and housing. But more moving parts also means more potential points of failure, and all those potential points of failure will be tested as the ballpark project moves forward.

RELATED STORIES: Shockoe Bottom back to top site for new Flying Squirrels ballpark; Private funding of new Squirrels ballpark in the works; Flying Squirrels ballpark site under historical review; Flying Squirrels ballpark plan advances; Votes on new Richmond ballpark set to start next week; Flying Squirrels add more locals to ownership; Richmond ballpark revenues could be used for other purposes; Richmond ballpark opponents: Map used to justify location is inaccurate; Richmond purchase of Diamond: Making way for Shockoe Bottom ballpark; Alternative plan pitched for Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom: No new ballpark; Flying Squirrels lease: $1.7M annually; naming rights could lower that number; Squirrels ballpark plan include hotel, apartments, grocery; Richmond quietly positions for new ballpark; 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 ballpark


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