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Year Later, VCU/Squirrels Ballpark Effort Continues

Richmond Flying SquirrelsThe joint VCU/Richmond Flying Squirrels (Class AA; Eastern League) effort toward a replacement for The Diamond is now a year old, but both sides report progress is being made toward a new ballpark.

The two sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding to embark on a new ballpark development effort, mostly likely in the proximity of The Diamond, and although there has been plenty of study, nothing tangible has yet emerged. That’s not necessarily a surprise: the wheels of bureaucracy move slowly, and with the potential 21-acre ballpark site currently occupied by a state facility (the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control headquarters and distribution warehouse), no one was anticipating a quick and easy process. Something else that’s not a surprise: the two sides will continue to work on a new-ballpark effort. From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

The MOU was signed by Ed McLaughlin, VCU’s vice president and director of athletics, and Lou DiBella, the Squirrels’ president and managing general partner. On Monday, McLaughlin and DiBella said VCU and the Squirrels are still working and the joint effort will extend beyond Sept. 28, 2017.

“The date is a guideline, not a deadline,” said McLaughlin. “We have a solid group of parties who continue to make excellent progress on this project and we look forward to more good news in the future.”

DiBella said, “There is no magic to Sept. 28. … We can extend that document or handle it in a way that’s (agreeable to all) parties.

“I still believe we have a coalition of people working toward the same goal, something that works for everyone.”

There are some hard dates coming up. First, the state is indeed moving forward with a plan to move its Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control facility, and a decision is expected by the end of the year.

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