RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The Virginia NAACP is not happy about the idea of building a new stadium in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom.
King Salim Khalfani, Virginia NAACP Conference Executive Director, told CBS 6 News’ Sandra Jones Thursday that he doesn’t want a stadium on sacred ground that should be preserved.
Khalfani even sent a letter to Richmond City Council expressing his frustrations over repeated attempts to bring a baseball stadium to the Bottom. Khalfani said he is worried the the possible development would be built on an African burial ground and the old Lumpkins jail site — which he calls Ground zero.
“Not on our ancestors…. Maybe people don’t know the history [or] it’s not that important to them,” said Khalfani. “But it’s important to a lot of us because we fought long and hard.”
Delegate Delores McQuinn, Chair of the City’s Slave Trail Commission, said that even though discussions are in progress, the public has made it clear that they were against building a stadium in Shockoe Bottom.
However, others, including Shockoe Bottom Neighborhood Association President David Napier, think the idea would jumpstart a struggling neighborhood and boost the economy.
“The highest concentration of poverty in the city is in the East End. And this would be an easy walk or an easy bus ride to get to these jobs,” said Napier. “We’re not talking Yankee stadium. We’re talking a small ballpark.”
Tim Christian and his produce stand have been a part of the community for nearly a decade. He has mixed thoughts about the idea.
“It could be good and it could be bad. It just depends on how everything falls,” said Christian. “If they decide to do it, I hope it works out…. I hope it’s good for business for everyone.”