Richmond minor league baseball stadium would anchor $200M development

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A proposed $200 million development in Richmond would include a new minor league baseball stadium and a slavery and freedom heritage site.

Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones unveiled the plan for the Shockhoe Bottom Development on Monday during a news conference.

Media outlets report that the development also would include 750 apartments, a grocery store and at hotel. Jones said that city would receive $10 million in tax revenue from the development annually.

The stadium would be the new home of the Richmond Flying Squirrels, who currently play at the Diamond.

"How can we live, how can we work and how can we play together?" Jones asked. "The Diamond is crumbling. Our neighbors in the county are saying they can't help replace it. We've already lost one team because of it and I'm here to say we aren't going to lose another team."

Jones was heckled during the news conference by protesters who oppose the Shockhoe Bottom site because of the stadium's potential impact on a nearby slave burial ground and the area's slave trading history.

He said that at least $30 million would be raised for the slavery and freedom heritage site.

"They have a right to say what they are saying," Jones said regarding the project's opponents. "We will make sure that the story of this area will be told."

Richmond City Council, which must approve the project, was expected to receive a resolution Monday night encompassing the conceptual plan for the project. Ordinances that would lay out the arrangement's details expected to follow later.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch ( ) reports that city officials estimate the public cost of the project would be $79.6 million. Another $125 million would come from private investment.

"We're excited about the future," Todd Parnell, vice president and chief operating officer of the Flying Squirrels, told the newspaper.

Jones said during the news conference that the development would generate 400 new jobs, along with 1,000 construction jobs.