The Battle of the Ballpark



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"Battle of the Ballpark"

As a subscriber to Virginia Living since 2010, I must write to express my disappointment with the article describing the controversy over the proposed Stadium in Richmond's Shockoe Bottom neighborhood. The article presents Mayor Jones as a charismatic man with powerful corporate backers and a flair for politics. This is true. What isn't presented with care or respectful attention is the opposition to the Mayor's Stadium plans. The people who oppose the Stadium are members of the Richmond community and should not be portrayed as agitators, as suggested in the article. I attended the Valentine Museum's Community Conversation about Shockoe Bottom in January, 2014. The room was packed with a diverse and respectful group of people. Ana Edwards made a compelling case for the preservation of Shockoe Bottom as a place of quiet remembrance, in conflict with the proposed sports venue. At the same meeting, Stadium backers presented a quick overview of the plan that left more questions than answers. I disagree with the author in other ways. An $85 million dollar gamble on a sports complex, based on assumptions that have not been tested for "market reasonableness," is a radical plan. A plan that does not follow the City's own Master Plan is a radical plan. I applaud the diligence of the City Council, which has represented the interests of all of Richmond by asking for disclosure of the terms of the Mayor's plan and land deals. Several Council Members have shown real leadership in the face of intense pressure by the Mayor, Mr. Berry, Mr. Bates, and the unnamed corporate leadership of Richmond. Public input and scrutiny make City projects better, and I am disappointed by the author's conclusion that it is possibly a bad thing that so many people have expressed disagreement with Mayor Jones. Virginia Living doesn't usually take sides in a political controversy, and I am left to wonder why it chose to start doing so now.

Pierce Macdonald Powell more than 2 years ago

I give it an F

As helpful as City Councilman Jon Baliles has been in this struggle, he didn't fire the “first shot across the bow” of the the mayor's plan. As stated in this story, Baliles' six-page letter questioning the plan was released in December 2013. The first shot was the op-ed piece that appeared four months earlier in the Sunday Commentary section of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, answering the previous pro-stadium piece by Venture Richmond's Jack Barry and the Greater Richmond Chamber's Kim Scheeler. The opposing piece was signed by King Salim Khalfani, Executive Director of the Virginia NAACP; Dr. Shawn Utsey, Chair of VCU's Department of African American Studies; Ana Edwards, Chair of the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project; and myself. So three of the four signers were African-American, as are many of the most consistent and persistent opponents of a Shockoe stadium. And yet the writer of this story, despite my “strident” urging, chose not to quote any Black stadium opponents. Maybe that's just a white blind-spot on the part of the writer. Maybe it was an editorial attempt to assist the mayor in his effort to portray the opposition as white and racially insensitive. Maybe it's just poor journalism. But for a piece that admits that the “most vocal and adamant opposition” to a Shockoe stadium comes from those opposed to playing baseball on the site of mass Black suffering to fail to quote a single Black opponent smacks more of outright racism. For a more accurate view of the issue, see - Phil Wilayto, Editor, The Virginia Defender

Phil Wilayto more than 2 years ago

No Stadium, Fix the schools please

Here is why we don't need to spend tax payer dollars on a stadium.

If all the people that supported the stadium actually went to the games, then the club owner would be more than happy to pay for it themselves because they would be making plenty of money to foot the bill. It's time to get our priorities in order.

Brett more than 2 years ago

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