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Why the Richmond Flying Squirrels could soon play ball in Henrico

Posted at 6:38 AM, Jul 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-27 06:38:41-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The ongoing saga of building a new minor league baseball stadium in Richmond will take a less than contentious step forward Monday. Richmond City Council is scheduled to vote on a lease extension that would keep the Richmond Flying Squirrels at the Diamond through at least 2017.

Team officials and Eastern League representatives pushed for a lease extension so a new location could be identified to build a stadium for the team, according to Todd "Parney" Parnell, C.O.O. of the Flying Squirrels.

In a surprise move, Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones announced 10 days ago he met with leaders from the surrounding counties, the Squirrels, and the health care community. After that meeting, Jones said it was clear the Boulevard location where the Diamond now sits is the preferred construction site for a new, free-standing Children's Hospital.

Jones said a new hospital would mean a new stadium for the Flying Squirrels, adding city and county officials are committed to keeping the team in the Richmond region. Locations in both Chesterfield and Henrico are being discussed as potential stadium sites, sources indicated. Henrico has the edge, those sources said, because more season ticket holders live in the county.

In Henrico, land near Richmond International Raceway and Virginia Center Commons are being discussed, and the shuttered Sportsquest facility in Midlothian is also on the list of potential stadium sites, according to sources.

The measure to extend the Squirrels' lease at the Diamond is on the "Consent Agenda" at Monday's city council meeting, which means it is expected to pass without issue.