Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How much for that 'free' baseball stadium?

Well, it now seems the locals who've been stubbornly saying that the City of Richmond will end up having to back the bonds it will take to build a baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom, according to the Highwoods Properties Shockoe Bottom Center plan, were more than merely "ill informed."

Highwood's top pitchman, Paul Kreckman, used "ill informed" to characterize some of those folks in attendance last week at the Richmond Times-Dispatch's Public Square forum. Basically, if one rose to express doubt about what Kreckman was selling, then ignorance was to blame.

Yet, in light of Mayor Dwight Jones' press conference yesterday, Kreckman might have been closer to the truth if he had called those questioning just how "free" the proposed stadium deal would turn out to be something more like, "realistic," or perhaps to be specific -- "on the money."

STYLE Weekly's Scott Bass writes:
While the developers have been promoting the project as a free ride that would come at little cost to taxpayers, the consultants found otherwise -- the ballpark can’t be financed as proposed, Jones told reporters Monday, without the city’s financial support. Still, he seemed encouraged by the possibility.

“While I am not ready to give the go ahead to the Highwoods’ proposal, I can say that this is a potentially transformative project,” Jones said.

Click here to read the entire piece at STYLE. Click here to read more about this development in the RT-D.

Given what Jones said about the stadium bonds needing to be backed by the City, in my book, the absolute best tool those who now oppose committing Richmond's taxpayers to gambling on the Highwoods plan is a referendum: Let the people say what they want. Let the politicians listen!

Please click here to read about that concept at the Fan District Hub.

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