A proposed new ballpark for the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Class AA; Eastern League) is currently headed for defeat, with five council members poised to vote against a Shockoe Bottom plan.
Mayor Dwight Jones has proposed a plan that calls for the sale of land in the city’s Boulevard area currently serving as the site of The Diamond, with the proceeds going to fund a development in the city’s downtown Shockoe Bottom area, which would include a new Flying Squirrels ballpark, office and retail space, and a grocery store. It is an ambitious plan, to be sure, and the city has been struggling to make all the moving parts work: not all the land for the project has been acquired, and not all the financials have been made public.
That lack of detail has led five of the nine councilmembers announcing they’d vote against the project as is. This stance led to some fiery words from Jones on the eve of tomorrow’s scheduled council vote:
“For months, I’ve worked to build trust with City Council members under the leadership of Charles Samuels,” Jones said. “That trust has been damaged.”…
Jones had invited the council to a briefing on Thursday, where he said he will present “exhaustive details” that has not been presented to the full council.
“Council members are receiving the detailed information they requested, but most briefings have taken place in committee meetings or in lightly-attended informal sessions,” the mayor said. “Nevertheless, they now want to kill the project before hearing the information that staff, the developers and the baseball team have invested a great deal of time and expense to gather.”
Now, there’s the chance for a change of mind amongst council members; all it takes is one vote to flip the script. And this is more a referendum on Jones’ leadership than the merits of a new Flying Squirrels ballpark, although the success of the team, ironically, probably works against the Squirrels. It’s harder to make the case that a new ballpark is needed when the team is leading the Eastern League in attendance with 132,187 total, 6,957 per game.
RELATED STORIES: Deal reached on Flying Squirrels ballpark funding; 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 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
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.