SBD/November 12, 2013/Facilities

Support, Financing For New Richmond Ballpark In Question As Details Are Unveiled

A proposal for a new stadium for the Double-A Eastern League Richmond Flying Squirrels yesterday "came into clearer focus," but details on the project's financing and the level of political support for the plan on the City Council "remained cloudy as the baseball debate progressed into a new phase," according to Moomaw & Martz of the RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH. Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones said that the stadium plan "honors the area's historic role in the slave trade." But several city officials characterized the stadium announcement as "the beginning of a citywide discussion of the plan’s merits that won’t reach a final conclusion for some time." The city yesterday "introduced a resolution that seeks the council’s support for the major redevelopment plan that involves a stadium, a slavery memorial, a Hyatt hotel, a Kroger grocery store, 750 apartments and a parking deck, but the council did not get into a public discussion of the mayor’s proposal." Despite the inclusion of a slavery memorial as part of the project, several dozen protesters "hoisted signs and shouted criticism, characterizing the plan as a misallocation of resources, a giveaway to a sports team and disrespectful of the area's historical ties to the slave trade." Jones called Shockoe Bottom the "right location," saying that the new heritage site would "preserve an important piece of the city’s history and that the development would generate more tax revenue that could be used for schools, transportation and other city priorities" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 11/12).

MUSIC CITY MONEY: Nashville city officials yesterday announced that the total cost of the Triple-A PCL Nashville Sounds' new ballpark "will be about" $150M. In Nashville, Scott Harrison reported the city will pay $65M "as part of the project's public-private partnership." The Metropolitan Nashville Sports Authority BOD "approved a resolution to issue" $65M in revenue bonds "to fund the project, which would be repaid by the city over 30 years." That issuance will "need to be approved by Metro Council, which is scheduled for its first reading of the ballpark agreement on Nov. 19." City Finance Dir Rich Riebeling yesterday said that the council would pay $4.3M annually "to repay the debt." He projected that after revenue from the new park, the project "will cost the city $345,000 annually." Riebeling said that the city is "seeking to finalize the deal before the end of the year" in order to open the ballpark in the spring of '15 (, 11/11).
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