Mayor: New Squirrels stadium site by end of 2015

Mayor: New Squirrels stadium site by end of 2015
Nutzy's Block Party will serve as the ticket sale launch for the Flying Squirrels. (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones said progress is being made to help the Richmond Flying Squirrels find a new home.

"Today, we met with representatives of the Squirrels and the President of the Eastern League. We agreed that the Squirrels should meet with all localities in the Richmond area to explore potential locations that have easy access and visibility for Squirrels fans," Mayor Jones said in a statement on Friday.

The Mayor said the Squirrels agreed to work with Richmond, Chesterfield and Henrico to help identify a new stadium site by the end of the year. In the meantime, "I propose to extend their current lease on the Diamond through the end of 2017," Mayor Jones said.

READ: Mayor Jones' statement on the Flying Squirrels (PDF)

Friday's agreement comes weeks after the Squirrels' owner, Lou DiBella, wrote an open letter where he vented frustration at the lack of progress to relocate the team from the aging Diamond baseball stadium.

"Our investment of money, time, and effort, the success that we have worked so hard to achieve, and the loyalty and support of the greatest fans a team could have, do not render the Diamond a suitable long-term home for baseball," DiBella said at the time.

Previous efforts to move the team to a site near the Diamond, as well as a possible relocation to Shockoe Bottom, have thus far failed to gain financial support.

According to Mayor Jones, an exploration process has been agreed upon that will "consider site selection options, financing opportunities including private investment, potential construction schedules, and that recognizes the financial constraints our localities are facing."

Mayor Jones says that advocates who want to bring a freestanding children's hospital to the area have indicated they would like to develop the Boulevard site where the Diamond currently resides.

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