Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pitchmen for Shockoe Bottom stadium strike out

Like 200-or-so others, I went down to the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Tuesday night to attend the Public Square forum. It was the 24th such forum staged by the newspaper, but the first one for me. I was impressed with how smoothly the two hours of back and forth went.

"Debating the resolution: Shockoe Bottom is the best place for a new ballpark" was the forum's topic. A piece I penned on how the debate went, "Baseball Talk: Pitching Panned," is up at
Leading up to the Public Square forum, Bostic, with Kreckman at his side, had made several presentations to the public in various locations around town. Throughout the process, Bostic has continued to assert that a baseball stadium financed and built according to their plan will be delivered “free” to Richmond’s taxpayers.

Diradour challenged Bostic’s assertion, "There ain’t nothing free!"

Click here to read the entire piece.


Paul said...

(Baseball in Shockoe Bottom)" provides the most bang for the buck and will bring many thousands to the Bottom for the first time. Shockoe Bottom needs to be discovered by the Richmond diaspora. That is a huge market that rarely visits downtown. There is a reason area merchants overwhelmingly support a ballpark in their neighborhood.

The infrastructure is largely there, interstate highways, public transit, existing parking. Shockoe Bottom is unusable land that produces almost no revenue.

The alternative is a non starter. There is no proposal to put a ballpark on the Boulevard or anywhere else. Baseball on the Blvd produced almost no secondary development and was designed for convenient access and departure. Shockoe Bottom is a walkable area full of existing destinations like the Canal Walk, restaurants, the 17th Street Market and many historic sites. More people are likely to learn about Lumpkins Jail and visit the proposed slave museum.

This idea fits Richmond like a glove.

Comment copied from Mellisa Savenko's Richmond in response to Thad Williamson.

I don't care whether the developers made the best arguments. Shockoe Bottom is best for baseball for a lot of reasons, mostly that it is good for Richmond. That is what we should be discussing.

Stuart said...

Paul those points are all valid and worthy of debate, but they are secondary to the question of financing.

The proposed stadium is enormously expensive and we are being asked to pay for it during an acute economic recession. We are cutting city services and not building new schools, among other things, and I don't think this is a prudent time to invest in a convoluted corporate welfare scheme that will purportedly "trickle down" to the rest of us.

Schools, jobs, and transit first; entertainment later.

Anonymous said...

Stuart, we aren't being asked to pay for it. We are being asked to give $8 million for infrastructure. The 60m dollar ballpark will be privately financed through bonds that will NOT be backed by the city.

Get informed!

creativeclass said...

Anonymous, you didn't answer my question from the previous post. Who will pay for infrastructure improvements once the tab rises above $8 million? This could cost the city (TAXPAYERS!) $15 million to $25 million in total, including brownfield remediation. And more generally, how will construction cost overruns be handled? What is the contingency plan?

Paul said...

Schools, jobs, and transit first; entertainment later.Stuart, it's not about entertainment. It's about culture, business, jobs and investment in the future. Those things are not secordary.

There is nothing trickle down about it.

F.T. Rea said...

Some of the people who are opposed to the baseball stadium being built in Shockoe Bottom don't understand every angle of the financing. That's true. But calling them "dolts," or "selfish," or "ill-informed," as some boosters for the Highwoods position have been wont to do, isn't helping Kreckman, et al.

To be skeptical about the projections of the would-be developers isn't the same thing as being against young people, or being backward.

The politicians at the forum saw voters. And, way more than half of those voters were not buying what Kreckman and Bostic were selling. Politicians can do math.

This Public Square forum may well be remembered as the tipping point -- the night the worst idea for developing Shockoe Bottom died.

Paul said...


You know who it is making the "dolts". He repesents no one but himself. Banned from here you continue to allow him to comment anonymously, perhaps because he puts such a bad face on things.