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Flying Squirrels ballpark plan on hold

New Richmond ballpark

Mayor Dwight Jones withdrew a proposed financing plan for a new Richmond Flying Squirrels (Class AA; Eastern League) ballpark just before it was destined for City Council rejection.

The mayor made the decision last night to give him and staff more time to persuade at least one of the five council members opposing the project to change their minds. The mayor has proposed an ambitious redevelopment plan for Richmond that includes selling off city land at the Boulevard area — where The Diamond, the current home of the Flying Squirrels, is located — and using the proceeds to finance a major development at the downtown Shockoe Bottom area, which would include a new ballpark, retail and office development, and a new grocery store. But there are a lot of moving parts with this proposal, and with some issues still to be addressed, like the final land-acquisition work, Jones decided it was best to fight another day. From the Times-Dispatch:

“The issue of taking the paper off the docket is to make sure that we get an informed vote and we do not disrespect the hundreds of people who came out to all of the public information sessions that we were required to do,” Jones said. “And all of the people who have poured a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the planning of this proposal.”

The mayor will likely face an uphill battle, with five of nine council members having publicly stated their opposition, and the process already behind schedule….

The mayor made clear that he expects the issue to go to the council for an up-or-down vote at some future date after he presents more information. Last Friday, Jones invited the council to a “comprehensive briefing” on the plan Thursday.

RELATED STORIES: Richmond ballpark plan lacks council support; 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 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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