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RICHMOND (WRIC)—The debate over the proposed ballpark in Shockoe Bottom is heating up.
A Richmond City Council committee met on Nov. 21 to discuss its resolution supporting the new ballpark. It was the public's first chance to comment, and people on both sides were fired up.
After listening to hours of new information about the park, some left with more questions than answers.
"The area has changed dramatically," said Kim Allen, who is opposed to the project. "So much so that not only would my grandfather not recognize some places in the Bottom, but he'd probably feel unwelcome in the Bottom."
Some said crime is too much of an issue in Shockoe Bottom, while others said the new stadium would help reduce crime.
Dan Shupe is in favor of the new ballpark. He said, "Most of us understand the development, which includes new businesses, residents and tourists, is the best remedy for crime in any neighborhood."
Opposition to the park was much more prominent at a nearby town meeting led by Councilwoman Reva Trammell. There, Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall tried to explain the benefits of the new park.
"Revitalize Shockoe Bottom. Fully utilize the Boulevard," Marshall said. "Create jobs and expand the tax base in a way that hasn't been done, probably in the history of Richmond."
Still, some doubt how much economic impact the stadium would actually have. All officials can do at this point is to inform the public about all options.
"What we need to do is to educate the public with the plan, and then have the discussion," said Councilwoman Kathy Graziano. "So, that's where we're going."
The Shockoe Bottom development plan would involve more than $200 million in investments, including nearly $80 million in public costs.
The final vote won't happen until next year.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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