Lawmaker demands public input on new Flying Squirrels stadium plan

Posted at 5:36 PM, Sep 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-17 21:16:37-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- As some Richmonders patiently wait for a proposal from the mayor regarding a new ball park in Richmond, two former city leaders are venting their frustration over the mayor’s silence.

Former city council member Manoli Loupassi, a current state delegate, and political consultant Paul Goldman say the mayor is not seeking input from the public regarding his proposals for a new stadium for the Flying Squirrels, Richmond’s minor league baseball team.

Both men wrote Mayor Dwight Jones on Monday, questioning why proposals were being vetted by select business leaders and not the general public.

The mayor responded in a letter saying, "My plan is to bring the public a detailed plan for consideration. I assure you that you too will be advised of whatever proposal I bring forward to the public.”

Loupassi says he’s dismayed by the mayor’s response.

“What he’s said to me and Paul is that ‘I don’t care about the 99.9% of the other people’s opinions relative to this,’” says Manoli.

The mayor’s office is currently drafting two proposals for a new ball park. One option involves rebuilding the current stadium located on North Boulevard. A second proposal includes building a new stadium in Shockoe Bottom, along with a mixed-use development that would help finance the stadium.

Goldman says he’s bothered that the proposals were presented before a select group of business leaders earlier this month, before the public was given the same courtesy.

“When you’re the elected mayor of the city of Richmond, I’d think you’d have an obligation or at least feel an obligation to ask the opinion of the people prior to giving them what could be a fait accompli,” Goldman says.

A spokesperson for the mayor says that she strongly disagrees with Goldman and Loupassi’s accusations.

Tammy Hawley says the mayor wants to have concrete proposals in hand before taking them to the public.

Hawley also argues that the mayor has presented rough proposals to city council members, who are representatives of their constituents.

Council president Charles Samuels tells CBS 6 that he hopes both proposals are represented equally when the mayor releases them for public input.

Hawley says it’s unclear when the mayor plans to unveil potential plans to the public.

Stay with and CBS 6 News for updates on this developing story.