Mayor gets heat for pulling Shockoe Bottom ballpark proposal

Published: May. 28, 2014 at 3:10 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2014 at 3:10 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond city mayor Dwight Jones is getting heat for deciding last minute to pull his Revitalize RVA Plan from council vote.

Moments before city council was set to begin their formal meeting Tuesday, Mayor Jones told NBC12 he was pulling the plan, so that it wouldn't have been voted down.

Council president Charles Samuels announced to the large crowd that had gathered in council chambers to voice their opposition of the plan that the paper was no longer on the table, but that didn't stop it from being the main topic of discussion

But the proposal isn't dead. The mayor says, he needs more time to educate city council on his $80 million dollar plan, which includes a baseball stadium and slave heritage site in Shockoe Bottom.

"We just want city council to hear and see all of the latest information so that they can make an informed decision," said Mayor Dwight Jones.

Across town from the council meeting, Squirrels fans told NBC12 that they are not opposed to relocating the Diamond.

"If they don't develop a new stadium I'm not sure what will happen to professional baseball in Richmond," said Squirrels fan Craig Baker.

"I think they should vote on it," said Squirrels fan Angela Daniels. "I would love for it to be in Shockoe Bottom because I think it would be awesome for the city."

Mayor Jones agrees saying, he needs more time before council votes up or down.

"I feel like I'm doing the right thing so whether it's up or down, I feel like we've given it our best shot because our schools need money, the infrastructure is crumbling and this has the potential of bringing in twenty million dollars over the next twenty years."

Squirrels owner Lou Dibella said in the wake of the mayor's decision that even if the plan doesn't pass, he's convinced his team will get a new stadium and it will be in Richmond.

City Council also passed a 1.4 billion dollar budget, which includes more than $10-million in funding for a stadium in Shockoe Bottom. Council says, if the mayor's plan does in fact die, that money will be reallocated.

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