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Despite lame-duck status, $3.5M needed for The Diamond renovations in 2023

The Diamond Richmond

Despite plans for the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Double-A; Eastern League) to move to a new ballpark for the 2025 season and meeting MiLB’s new facility rules, MLB is mandating some $3.5 million in The Diamond renovations for the coming season.

The laundry list of required repairs and upgrades comes after an MiLB inspection of the ballpark. The Flying Squirrels are in the midst of multiple parties finalizing a rather large development at The Diamond site involving a new ballpark, economic development and more. If all goes well–and apparently we’re near the end of negotiations–the Flying Squirrels could be playing in a new ballpark in the 2025 MiLB season.

Until then, however, the MiLB facility guidelines still apply to the Squirrels and The Diamond. That means the city must fund some $3.5 million in The Diamond renovations, including the addition of a second batting cage, repairs to the concrete roof and supports, and upgraded clubhouses. That means a million dollars for the second batting cage, as well as $700,000 in clubhouse upgrades. From Richmond BizSense:

The city’s lease with Navigators Baseball LP, the entity that owns the Flying Squirrels ballclub, requires periodic inspections of The Diamond’s structural integrity, according to a staff report explaining the funding request.

The report states that, “As in previous inspections,” parts of The Diamond’s roof support structure were “found to have concrete spalling and cracking that requires repair to maintain structural integrity.”

The report adds that MLB requires an enclosed batting and hitting tunnel for each team’s use, whereas The Diamond currently has one tunnel. Of the locker rooms, it notes “a number (of) deviations” that “must be cured to maintain MLB’s approval for the Diamond to remain as an authorized minor league facility. These deviations from minimum standards will be corrected as part of this work.”

The city is picking up the tab from its capital maintenance budget, if approved by the City Council.

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