City council member: ‘Time to move on’ from Shockoe plan

Posted at 8:15 PM, May 24, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-24 20:15:02-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) - Mayor Dwight Jone's revitalization plan, that includes a new minor-league baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom, has taken a major hit over the past two days.

Five of nine city council members confirm to CBS 6 they plan on voting against the multi-million dollar project.

Friday night, Charles Samuels and Jon Baliles announced they will vote against the plan when it goes before council on Tuesday.  Chris Hilbert, Parker Agelasto, and Reva Trammell all confirm they plan to vote "no" as well.

Without the majority vote by council needed to move forward, the Shockoe redevelopment plan appears to have stalled.

Hilbert said, "It's time to move on," from the Shockoe proposal.  The plan seems to change at each junction and the public is concerned about a lack of transparency surrounding financial negotiations of the deal, according to multiple city council members.

Agelasto added the latest cost projections of the project are not what were originally projected by the Mayor's office.

Many local business leaders maintain the Shockoe proposal is the best way of generating revenue for the long-term.  A member of the Loving RVA, who are helping promote the proposal, said once city council members see the "full package" they will end up supporting it.

"I think it would be great for this area; this neighborhood,"  Shamus O'Connor said , a manger at The Halligan Bar and Grill in Shockoe Bottom.

"I'm ready for them to make a decision, but Richmond is a very reactive city rather than proactive,"  Courtney Stewart said , who lives in Shockoe Bottom and is against the plan.

Mayor Jones has invited city council members to a briefing on the plan Thursday; however, some council members think that could be too late.  The full council is scheduled to vote on the proposal Tuesday night.

Mayor Jone's office did not respond to an email request for comment on this story.

Hilbert said he is willing to work with the Mayor's office on alternatives to the Shockoe plan.