Manchester added to list of stadium locations

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Reynolds Packaging Group is informally touting its prime real estate on the south bank of the James River in Manchester as a possible location for a baseball stadium. But you have to remember, this is just an idea mentioned in passing. There is no formal proposal before the city.

Richmond's growing Manchester district is getting a little more attention. Specifically, these 17 and a half acres along the James River. Leaders of Reynolds Packaging Group have said the soon to close foil plant would be a good location for a stadium.

"Sure it's a cool idea," said Bill Pantele, former city council president.

Pantele says the view alone makes it a worthy idea, but he's still not sure a Manchester stadium would be affordable. He says you have to make sure the entire region gets a chance at bat.

"This community should have baseball. And it should have a decent arena. And it should have professional sports. But we need to work together to make them work. You can't have one jurisdiction to shoulder the entire load," said Pantele.

Wherever baseball is played one local business man who has been an advocate for it on the Boulevard says Richmonders need to stop taking sides.

"The arguments are over with and we need to come together to make this team feel welcome," said Charlie Diradour.

Charlie Diradour went as far as to create a new website called 'Friends of Richmond', although he's admittedly very much in favor of a team playing at a revamped Diamond.

He is calling on the city to take a closer look at a Maryland developer's 28 million dollar proposal for the Diamond. It calls for the upper deck to be removed with year round uses like a skate park and ice skating rink.

"I am urging the administration to call Peter Kirk. Opening Day Partners is an expert in the field of building baseball stadiums," said Diradour.

A spokesperson for the mayor says the Richmond Metropolitan Authority owns the Diamond, so only it should be calling about the proposed plan. Though the administration says it's looking forward to working with the RMA. If you want to check out the "Friends of Richmond baseball", click here.

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