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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Take Me Out to a Ballpark

The consultants report came out about how I though it would. They played it down the middle. The ballpark will need city help, but that it is a good investment likely to repay its debt.

The skeptics have said this would be a rubber stamp and a forgone conclusion. The developers would have liked that. I was never on the side of the developers. I am on Richmond's side and believe this is the right thing for the city. It will transform downtown and bring new life to Shockoe Bottom. Fans and visitors will be able to walk to restaurants, museums and historic venues. They will learn about the history of Richmond, the canal walk, the turning basin, Mayo Bridge and the James River Park System. It will make Richmond the focus of the region, not an afterthought. It will remind them that they are part of a city, not a suburb. We have a huge untapped market that only visits Richmond for special events. Money will move around in the region, this time into the city and not to the malls and big box stores of the suburbs. It's time we tipped the balance back in favor of Richmond. We have put the pieces in place for a new downtown, CenterStage, the Miller and Rhodes Hilton, the National and other nightclubs. There is a new excitment downtown in spite of the economy. Two new office building are nearing completion, restaurants are hanging on and new ones are coming online.

Anything worth having is worth paying for. Richmond needs to make a stake in it's future. We've waited five years for this to happen. Let's not wait five more, or worse, lost the ballpark to the suburbs.

Consultants say Ballpark plan needs city's help,
The study calls the project 'highly feasible' with city credit support and 'highly unlikely' to be financed otherwise. If city backing were provided, the ballpark could be financed at a substantially lower cost, ... (Mayor)Jones said he has made no decision on whether the city should provide the public support to attract bond investors. 'We know that we have to do something' to make the project viable, he said. 'If we determine it's in the best interests of the city, then we'll have to back it with our credit.'

He did not rule out keeping baseball on the Boulevard or pursuing a stadium elsewhere, but he said he believes Shockoe Center could help transform the Bottom by overcoming the area's severe flooding problems and by positioning the city for funding to bring high-speed rail to Main Street Station.

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FanGuy said...

There is still a lot to shake out from this initial report, I think, though the naysayers will certainly cherry pick what is useful to them, as they already have to some degree.

Mayor Jones appears to have the same vision that you do though, and that is very encouraging.

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