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.
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