Richmond City Council members want changes before approving ballpark

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Several Richmond City Council members asked for changes to the mayor's Shockoe Bottom economic development and ballpark proposal before a big vote Monday night.  NBC12 polled council members on whether or not they would support the mayor's proposal and new Monday, several of them said unless amendments are made to the resolution, they won't vote yes.

Monday, it was "the bottom of the ninth with two outs" and some council members "threw a curve ball" to the mayor's administration.

"I have concerns about the project as it currently stands," said Council President Charles Samuels. "In fact, as it stands, I can't support it."

Voting yes on the resolution as is wouldn't mean council actually supports the economic development plan to bring a ballpark, grocery store, hotel and slavery heritage site to The Bottom. It just would say members support further negotiations on "Revitalize RVA."

Still, several members we checked in with maintain they can't support the paper as it is.

President Samuels sent an email to the rest of council Monday morning. It suggested several amendments including a traffic study with current numbers, measures to preserve the history of the area, stipulations on a timeline for a plan for The Boulevard and financial guarantees from developers if the numbers don't add up.

"This is a project that's meant to pay for itself and if we expose the taxpayer in a way that the project may not pay for itself it doesn't seem right," Samuels added.

Mayor Dwight Jones called Monday "a big vote" on "a bold plan."

"We fully expect them to tighten up on the proposal and put their fingerprints on it," he told us.

Now, the game plan is flexibility, which could mean the difference between a homerun and strikeout for baseball in The Bottom.

"Anything that we can do to give council people the kind of assurances that they need and still keep the deal in place then I'm ok with it," Jones said.

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