No Stadium in Shockoe Bottom! Defend Richmond's African History!
An Urgent Appeal to all people of good will to help prevent plans to put a baseball stadium in Richmond's Shockoe Bottom, one of the most important historical sites for people of African descent in all of North America.
Does it offer up its most historic neighborhood to profit-hungry developers only interested in making a quick buck, or do we develop it as a national historic district that tells all its many stories – American Indian, the founding of the city of Richmond, Quaker, Mason, Jewish and, most importantly, the fact that it was from here that hundreds of thousands of Africans and people of African descent were sold into lives of slavery? And the fact that it was this massive trade and the exploitation of slave labor that formed the economic foundation for the city of Richmond, the state of Virginia and the United States itself?
Such a historic district can only be developed as a result of a real community conversation, primarily within the Black community. Some suggestions so far are to lncude parkland, a museum, genealogy center, bookstore, performing arts space, educational conference center and more that would draw millions from across the country and around the world. For those only interested in the money, it would generate far more revenue for the city, its hotels, motels, restaurants and other attractions than a minor-league ballpark that only draws crowds from the surrounding counties – crowds that after the ballgames get right back on the highway and go home. And it doesn't require the city taking on a $100 million public debt that could leave us headed to bankruptcy if the economy falls into another recession.
We are NOT against development. In fact, opponents have developed an alternative plan, one that would bring in much-needed revenue for the City and allow development on the Boulevard and non-sacred areas of Shockoe Bottom while properly memorializing the area where hundreds of thousands of people of African descent suffered, resisted and as a people survived one of the worst atrocities in human history. See an "Alternative Vision for Shockoe Bottom." athttp://shockoebottom.blogspot.com/p/our-proposal.html.
'NO to a Shockoe Stadium - YES to a Historic District!'
Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones won’t be briefing the City Council this week on the Shockoe Bottom stadium plan, which he withdrew from City Council consideration Tuesday night as he pleaded for more time.
Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones withdrew his proposal for a Shockoe Bottom baseball stadium from consideration Tuesday night in a last-minute gambit for more time just before the start of a City Council meeting where the plan faced near-certain defeat.
On a warm spring night, more than 150 people gathered in Shockoe Bottom, a name taken from the Native American word for a site in Richmond, Va. This part of own, bounded by I-95 and bisected by railroad lines, was central to a city that prospered from the slave trade.