Shockoe Bottom Stadium Debate Heats Up

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RICHMOND (WRIC)—The debate over the proposed
ballpark in Shockoe Bottom
is heating up.

A Richmond City Council committee met
on Nov. 21 to discuss its resolution supporting the new ballpark. It was the
public's first chance to comment, and people on both sides were fired up.

After listening to hours of new
information about the park, some left with more questions than answers.

“The area has changed dramatically,”
said Kim Allen, who is opposed to the project. “So much so that not only would
my grandfather not recognize some places in the Bottom, but he'd probably feel
unwelcome in the Bottom.”

Some said crime is too much of an
issue in Shockoe Bottom, while others said the new stadium would help reduce
crime.

Dan Shupe is in favor of the new
ballpark. He said, “Most of us understand the development, which includes new
businesses, residents and tourists, is the best remedy for crime in any neighborhood.”

Opposition
to the park
was much more prominent at a nearby town meeting led by
Councilwoman Reva Trammell. There, Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall
tried to explain the benefits of the new park.

“Revitalize Shockoe Bottom. Fully
utilize the Boulevard,” Marshall said. “Create jobs and expand the tax base in
a way that hasn't been done, probably in the history of Richmond.”

Still, some doubt how much economic
impact the stadium would actually have. All officials can do at this point is
to inform the public about all options.

“What we need to do is to educate
the public with the plan, and then have the discussion,” said Councilwoman
Kathy Graziano. “So, that's where we're going.”

The Shockoe Bottom development plan
would involve more than $200 million in investments, including nearly $80
million in public costs.

The final vote won't happen until
next year.

 

Copyright 2013 by Young
Broadcasting of Richmond

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