$80 million? Time for a long rain delay
Mayor Jones has made his sweet pitch for Shockoe Bottom, but he's given city residents only a half a box of Cracker Jack.
The week of Nov. 18, the mayor's proposal for a baseball stadium and a slavery museum in Shockoe Bottom began its journey through City Council committees. And on Nov. 17, the Richmond Times-Dispatch published a follow-up story, quoting a man from Hanover who was upset about the proposed location for the stadium, expressing his concern that the voices of Squirrels fans in the counties won't be heard.
Sorry, sir, but that's correct. Residents in the counties can thank their elected officials for not making the stadium a truly regional project, as was the 1985 stadium to which the city, Henrico and Chesterfield contributed.
Richmond residents need to watch this new proposal with a sharp eye.
We will be on the hook for $79.6 million, until new development along the Boulevard starts bringing in tax revenue to balance the investment in Shockoe. But we have no specifics on that piece of the puzzle.
Here's what the Times-Dispatch reported on Nov. 13:
"An analysis, dated Nov. 8, indicates that the Shockoe development by itself could fail to break even. On the low end of the projections, the Shockoe project alone would lose $188,198 per year. On the high end, it would generate $88,732."
We, as residents, must question every word and number in this plan. City officials have made many questionable deals in the past, such as the one for the CenterStage complex, in which they deliberately concealed finances and operations through ordinances passed by City Council.
I leave you with this: The city has owned the clapboard Winfree Cottage since 2002. Since then, it has deteriorated on a flatbed near the Lumpkin's slave jail site. No effort has been put toward properly protecting and preserving this rare example of a former slave's residence.
It should have been first in the line-up of the mayor's improvements for historic Shockoe Bottom.
The Elbys Return!
To read a list of this year's restaurant nominees, please visit richmondmagazine/elbys . The awards ceremony will take place Sunday, Jan. 26, at 6 p. m. at the VMFA. The theme is "The Golden Age of Hollywood (1930 to 1959)." Think Chaplin, think Bogart and Bacall and, of course, think cocktails! Let your dress be inspired by your favorite star, starlet or classic movie of that era. To buy event tickets, visit rich mondmagazine/elbys.