‘Shockoe Resistance’ group sponsors I-95 billboards with anti-ballpark messages

Posted at 12:44 AM, Feb 19, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–Polarity continues to surface over Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones’ Shockoe Bottom baseball stadium plan, as it moves closer to a vote by City Council next week. You might have noticed on the billboards (scroll down for pics).

On Tuesday the Land Use, Housing and Transportation Standing Committee voted to forward the proposal to council with no recommendations. The plan may now actually need fewer votes than the original seven of nine that were needed if the plan involved sale of city land.

The revised resolution added language that introduces the option of instead leasing the city land instead. With such a revision, only five yes votes would be needed, councilman Jon Baliles told CBS 6.

If this revision is passed, then after 40 years the city would take control of the property or renegotiate the lease, he said.

Meanwhile, discussion has risen above the trenches to the skyline, with Lamar Advertising apparently benefiting the most.

Both sides have spent thousands to voice their opposition and support on digital billboards throughout the area.

Sure, it’s a topic worthy of 14’0″ x 48’0″ debate.

Last week a series of billboards were erected in favor of the Revitalize RVA plan. The three signs equate the baseball stadium plan with more money for city schools and more jobs. They are at three different locations and the messages rotate.

Shockoe Development = More Jobs!
Revitalize RVA, YES!

Revitalize RVA YES!
Shockoe Development + Boulevard Development= More $$$ for Schools

Revitalize RVA YES!
Let’s Get Going!

The LovingRVA logo adorns the signage, that’s the promotional logo unveiled when the mayor presented the initial plan. It’s unclear at this time how billboard is being expensed.

Already there has been a backlash to pro-stadium advertisements put into the city’s park and recreation’s program guide.

At that time, the city stated that taxpayer funds aren’t promoting just one side of the debate. Venture Richmond has so far taken responsibility for $32,500 spent on the LovingRVA campaign, with that money coming from local businesses.

This week a group called Shockoe Resistance has surfaced, and while they don’t have the same visible groundswell or social media presence as LovingRVA, they are attempting to give a unified front to the diverse and loud factions in opposition to the ballpark plan.

The slogan for the community Facebook page is “Not Today. Not Tomorrow. Never.”

The signs also don’t mince words.

Dear Council, We are Watching!
….Your Voters.

Dear Council, We Will Remember
….Your Voters.

Dear Council, If You Vote Yes…
You’re OUT!….Your Voters

Farid Alan Schintzius, an organizer for the group, said that lots of little drops in the bucket turned into enough cash to secure the ads for four weeks. An Indiegogo fundraiser has been created to keep the ads up.

That can be found here, and there are bumper stickers and signs created with the same messages:

Schnitzius said he felt compelled to help organize the Shockoe Resistance page after enough people voiced doubt that city council will even listen to counter-arguments.

He also feels the plan has complete disrespect for the slave history of the area.

This is a developing story. We will continue to follow and update.