Shockoe Bottom Business Owners Push for Development - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

Shockoe Bottom Business Owners Push for Development

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - People who live and work in Shockoe Bottom aren't letting recent setbacks stop their push for development in the area.

Last month, Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones withdrew his proposal to put a baseball stadium in the Bottom just minutes before a scheduled vote.

City council members had said they didn't have enough information to back the plan. Five of the nine councilors pledged to vote against it.

"Unfortunately, 'no' is always louder than 'yes,' and that's what we're dealing with," says Shockoe Bottom Neighborhood Association president David Napier.

Napier and other Shockoe Bottom business owners and residents gathered outside of C'est le Vin Wine Bar on Wednesday for a press conference, explaining why they believe the ballpark should go downtown.

"I hope everyone else will get on board and understand that this is where it belongs. This is the heart and soul of Richmond. It's the only place for it," said Bottoms Up Pizza owner Dirk Graham.

It's development supporters say would unlock the area's full potential - bringing jobs and growing the tax base.

"The ballpark - whether you care about baseball or not - is not for us just about ballpark," says Napier. "It's about the concourse that would be paid for as part of the ballpark. It creates other development opportunities down here so this neighborhood can continue to grow and bring new businesses down here."

When Mayor Jones pulled the plan, he made it clear it wasn't off the table for good. It was only until he could make his vision clearer to council members.

Business owners and residents we spoke with say they're confident once that happens, they will back the plan.

Opponents of the plan have cited traffic, safety and a flood plain issue as concerns as well as the slave trade history in the area. But others say this is the right time and place for the park.

"I think this area deserves a development that shows the heart of the entrepreneurs in Shockoe Bottom," says Juan Braxton of Have A Nice Day Cafe. "We're survivors. We believe in our city. We believe in this area."

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

Related Stories:

Mayor Jones Withdraws Shockoe Ballpark Plan

Loupassi Pushing for Less Secrecy in Shockoe Bottom Ballpark Plan

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