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New Flying Squirrels ballpark tied to VCU development

Richmond Flying SquirrelsThe wheels of progress turn slowly: the fate of a new Richmond Flying Squirrels (Class AA; Eastern League) ballpark is increasingly tied to Virginia Commonwealth University coming through with a VCU Athletics Village along the Hermitage Road corridor.

The current plan, which has been settled for what seems a long time, calls for the VCU Athletics Village to be located across Hermitage Road from the teams current home, The Diamond. It’s a site currently occupied by Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Authority warehouse and offices. But the ballpark may end up being located on the other side of Hermitage Road, near where VCU’s Sports Backers Stadium is located.

If everything works out, we could see a new VCU/Flying Squirrels ballpark by 2023. Why so long? It made take until the beginning of 2o22 for the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Authority to finally leave its current home. That would provide roughly a year for new-ballpark construction. From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

The Flying Squirrels have consistently expressed their interest in a new ballpark since they moved to Richmond before the 2010 season. There have been several plans for a new stadium since their arrival, but none matured, often because of financing or site issues that accompanied a city initiative.

This is the first ballpark project led by VCU. The school has not disclosed a financing plan, or indicated to what degree area jurisdictions and the Flying Squirrels would be involved.

“I’m riding with my friends at VCU on this, and I’m confident progress is being made,” Lou DiBella, the president and managing general partner of the Flying Squirrels, said Wednesday.

In other words, don’t schedule that last game at The Diamond just yet. The wheels of progress turn slowly.

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