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Breakthrough ‘Save The Diamond’ option to be unveiled

Paul Goldman is a local lawyer who helped run Doug Wilder's historic campaign for governor of Virginia.

Paul Goldman is a local lawyer who helped run Doug Wilder's historic campaign for governor of Virginia.

RICHMOND, Va. – If the $400,000 originally planned to be given by the Jones Administration in another sweetheart retirement deal, now the rage in political circles, proved totally unjustified [the city auditor found out in time to stop it], then what about spending $100-200 million in total financing costs for the Mayor’s Shockoe Bottom Stadium boondoggle?

It would cost maybe 1/500th of that price to get The Diamond to look brand new!

That’s right, the cost of washing away 30 years of life on Planet Earth and making The Diamond shine like new is less than a year’s salary and perks for one of those city officials who seem to get fired for incompetence on a regular basis.

Imagine spending all those millions instead on modernizing the oldest public school facilities in Virginia [Richmond’s average is nearly 60 years of age] or merely making the buildings better for the students and teachers, as opposed to the rats and other rodents now feeling at home in so many of them.

As Delegate Manoli Loupassi (R – Richmond) pointed out, the Mayor’s Shockoe Stadium cronies want to waste tens of millions of dollars given to them by a “no bid secretive negotiation process.”

Can The Diamond really be made to look brand new for so little money?

Yes! Tune in this afternoon at 4 p.m. on WRIR 97.3 FM for the first-ever interview with the person with the most knowledge about how to build a baseball stadium in the Richmond.

Mr. Thomas Hanson is the structural engineer picked 30 years ago by city leaders to actually bring the plan to build The Diamond to fruition. He sat down with Chris Dovi and myself to discuss an overlooked option.

“Save The Diamond” is admittedly not quite as catchy a riff as “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy,” by music group Big and Rich, but as Mr. Hanson pointed out, there are any number of sensible, cost-effective and indeed innovative, futuristic options available to do everything the Jones-Baliles-Samuels-Hilbert No bid crowd claim to want to do in terms of stadiums/development, but for far less of your money.

Even the members of City Council promoting the not-yet revealed proposal by a local Chesterfield group know it is not really free, as suggested, the details of what they want is the equivalent of tens of millions of public dollars in special development perks not yet revealed to the public.

Now comes the Hanson “Save The Diamond” pro-Richmond, cost-effective, futuristic approach. Due to his knowledge of The Diamond’s unique construction and the surrounding area, he has some intriguing ideas including a potentially breakthrough idea to use the iconic structure as an anchor to a magnificent retail and commercial development worth tens of millions of dollars to the city in new revenue.

Hanson is proposing innovative ideas that can modernize The Diamond at far less cost and still keep an iconic structure some consider a potential national landmark.

Unlike others cheerleading for the Mayor’s Shockoe Bottom boondoggle who have never built anything bigger than a Lego, I don’t claim to be an expert in baseball stadium construction or development.

What I do have however is this, as good a record of anyone in statewide politics advocating the people’s interest against the status quo regardless of party or ideology.

Mr. Hanson has rightly said the Jones-Baliles-Hilbert-Samuels affinity for these back room “No bid secretive negation process” may prove wasteful and ill-advised.

His team won the bid on a level playing field 30 years ago and created an iconic structure built on time and under budget.

Why is the Mayor and City Council so afraid of a level playing field whether at the Bottom or on the Boulevard?

“Save The Diamond” may actually save Richmond’s reputation.

Paul Goldman is in no way affiliated with WTVR. His comments are his own, and do not reflect the views of WTVR or any related entity. Neither WTVR nor any of its employees or agents participated in any way with the preparation of Mr. Goldman’s comments.

12 comments

  • Russell

    I wholeheartedly agree instead of proposing a new stadium improve what you ALREADY HAVE the team we have is a minor league team . Spending hundreds of Millions is reserved for Major Leagues with major money to keep up with the up keep maintenance and team costs that aren’T being factored in by the current Mayor. Besides what does he know about running a continuing business. First off it has to be profitable for the city and not his development friends. The city will be the one operating it long after the Mayor leaves office!! Save the Diamond should be the rallying cry.

  • Rob

    THE REAL DEAL ON BIDS FOR THE REVITALIZE RVA PROJECT:
    In response to misinformation being pushed by some, here are the facts on how each component of the project will be bid and built:
    1. Slavery Heritage Site – this project will involve public dollars, with money coming from both the City and the State. There will be a competitive bid process for this project.
    2. Ballpark – this facility will be owned by the City’s Economic Development Authority (EDA). The EDA is required to follow a public bidding process, which will be used in soliciting bids for this project.
    3. Neighboring residential and commercial development – this portion of the Plan involves private companies using private dollars to build on privately-owned land. As such, these companies are not governed by the public procurement act. However, they have contractually agreed to certain significant provisions to benefit minority firms. Specifically, i) minimum guaranteed use of minority contractors in their projects and ii) a guaranteed minimum ownership of the project by minority investors.

    • Bart Mitchell

      BELIEVE NOTHING YOU HEAR AND ONLY 50% of what you see and when its comes to the CITY GOVERNMENT I believe about HALF of that figure….Poor track report from the PAST PROJECTS

      • Jeff E.

        Ahh the language of conspiracy and desperation. “We want facts!” Ok, here are some facts. “We don’t believe them!”

  • Glen Allen

    Some of Richmond’s public schools are over 100 years old,and they have undergone some modernizations that have kept them open and operational. Think of all of the drastic changes that have taken pace during the last 50 years that directly affect how children are educated – physical classroom size, power consumption, air conditioning, lighting, and even the chalkboard.
    Baseball on the other hand, has not changed much from the public’s perspective, has it? I am sure the behind the scenes stuff like training area, kitchens, offices, and mechanical systems, have changed, but no more so than they have in the schools. It would seem to me that they could add another wedge or two (if necessary) to the existing structure to address the modernization issues, and even add an attached parking deck that could eliminate the need for stairs as a main entrance and maximize the area of land to be developed. Lots of possibilities if only the City would put the development out for bid, we may see some of them.

  • Jeff E.

    Paul appeals to those who already have an affinity for him and a hatred of the current administration. His limited conspiracy vocabulary (everything is sweetheart deals and boondoggles), which has been embraced by the opposition, turns off anyone who isn’t already in his camp. Also, does anyone else find it strange how the so called “rebels” in this town are leading the charge to preserve the status quo”

  • Ed

    The redskins stadeim is their and the diamond is there and richmond second miner league soccer team is there I would like to see them build a parking deck I don’t know why they could not develop this area any way. What’s the problem. What are they wateing for. I also red that RVA aa team is the third highest for merchandise sales in AA ball not to Shady scents they are a new team.

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