Delegate Manoli Loupassi says if any state dollars go toward a slavery museum, the state should require the city to have open bids on the project.
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -
There's another curveball for plans to build a new baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom. Now a state lawmaker is pushing for less secrecy if the state funds the project at all.
Delegate Manoli Loupassi sent a letter to the state's head of appropriations that said if any state dollars go toward a slavery museum, the state should require the city to have open bids on the project. A copy was also sent to the mayor and City Council.
If approved, plans for the Shockoe Bottom ballpark and slavery museum could cost close to $100 million spent on developers and purchasing property. Delegate Loupassi says he's been concerned about behind the scenes deals. He says $11 million in state money has currently been slated to help with the project but in a letter he's asked for a condition to be applied.
"They're picking and choosing who to deal with and there's no open process for people to participate," he says. "The project has to have open bids so that you get the best price… you don't have insider dealing… that kind of thing.
Loupassi says while he's been critical of the project, this is not a move to prevent it from happening. He says the city can do what it wants, but if they're using state tax dollars, that money has to be spent through an open bidding process...
"I don't want to be mayor, but I do have an obligation to the Commonwealth of Virginia."
Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones says any conditions are overreaching and unnecessary.
"We're moving forward on the project revitalize RVA," he says. "It's not about ballpark. It's about economic development. We're doing competitive bidding for the pieces that receive state funding."
The mayor says the entire process is and will be open to the public. He says the ballpark and slavery trails and museum will use open bidding, but things like the hotel and shops are obviously private and can't be told what to do.