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Poll shows residents want practical improvement, not new Shockoe ball field

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)- Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones is remaining tight-lipped about his plans for a new baseball stadium.

Speaking at an awards ceremony for city employees on Monday, Jones told CBS 6 he’s not yet ready to discuss any proposals regarding a new stadium in Shockoe Bottom as part of a private economic development project.

A recent poll conducted by CBS 6 News, however, revealed that a majority of people would prefer to see the baseball stadium remain on North Boulevard.

The current Diamond location has been home to the Richmond Flying Squirrels since 2010, and home to minor league baseball since 1954. In a CBS 6 poll 89 percent of people said they’d rather see the money go toward improving Richmond’s schools rather than building a new stadium.

A recent poll conducted by the Richmond Times Dispatch showed, of the 694 people polled in Richmond and surrounding counties, two-thirds of the participants prefer that a new stadium be built on North Boulevard instead of Shockoe Bottom.

The mayor’s silence regarding his plans and his reluctance to seek public input thus far has invoked criticism from Virginia State Delegate Manoli Loupassi and political consultant Paul Goldman.

“I think people are being very practical,” says Goldman.  “I know the baseball stadium was built in 1984 but the average school in Richmond was built in 1955, so if the stadium is obsolete, what about the schools in Richmond?”

While the mayor has discussed economic development plans for Shockoe Bottom with various business leaders and city council members, the mayor says he simply needs more time before taking his ideas to the public.

City Council President Charles Samuels says he’s asked the mayor to develop a proposal for a new stadium at the North Boulevard location, in addition to the Shockoe Bottom proposal.