The Richmond City Council unanimously approved $5 million for a slave commemoration project in Shockoe Bottom, Monday night. That money would possibly secure an extra $11 million from the state. The city council passed the resolution during the same meeting it was introduced.
However, some opponents of Mayor Dwight Jones's Shockoe Stadium plan voiced concerns. They worry the money will somehow end up going toward the mayor's proposed stadium plan and corresponding development. That plan also includes a slave history museum.
Opponents of a baseball field in the bottom wanted assurance that the money won't be used in conjunction with the mayor's proposal.
"Is there going to be a stipulation that will basically make that not possible," asked Lillie Estes at the podium.
Richmond City Council members insisted that the funding, and the mayor's stadium proposal, are completely separate. Council members also say the resolution wouldn't influence their decision on a potential stadium in Shockoe Bottom. However, some people in the crowd were tough to convince.
"I've been around civic engagement for way to many years to know that anything can happen. It's not over with until it's over with," said Estes.
Opponents say a baseball field isn't appropriate for such a historic district, trampling on Shockoe's vast slave history.
Supporters say development would only enrich SHockoe Bottom, with the mayor's proposed slave museum commemorating slave history.
"Why is it that people can't see the vision of job creation and economic development...and most important, something that would tell the true story of our ancestor's history," asked one supporter at the podium.
The $11 million from the state has a spot in the former governor's proposed budget. However, nothing is final until it is passed.
The Richmond City Council is set to vote on whether a stadium will go in Shockoe Bottom on February 24th.
Thursday, April 17 2014 9:05 PM EDT2014-04-18 01:05:03 GMT
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