Man who built The Diamond unveils stadium makeover plan

RICHMOND, Va. — The man who served as the original structural engineer of The Diamond has unveiled his proposal to revitalize the 1985 structure.

“It seems like I am the only guy in town who is in favor of saving The Diamond,” said 82-year-old Tom Hanson. “I think it would have a life of a hundred years.

Hanson isn’t just another Boulevard Baseball supporter. He wants to expand the original structure.

“People think of this as an icon,” Hanson said,  pointing to the awards the stadium received in the 1980s for being one of the most unique cement-style stadiums in the country.

While proposals to build a new stadium on the Boulevard, as well as a new stadium in Shockoe Bottom, have received much fanfare, Hanson said it is time for Richmonders to consider his proposals, which he said is a simple makeover of the current facility.

In fact, Hanson said he could provide considerable upgrades with just a $1 million budget.

“What is it that this doesn’t have that a new one would have?”

Hanson believes that The Diamond was built so that it could be “updated” from time to time.

His plan calls for a complete cleaning of the outside of the building to improve appearance.

Diamond painted 2

Hanson also said a restaurant behind home plate, as well as new sky boxes, would be incorporated into the design. Field View

Hanson also wants to put a covering over the top of the current parking lot so that fans could more easily enter the stadium with fewer steps while allowing retail businesses to move into the newly created space.

photo by joe

Perhaps the most radical option Hanson has suggested is putting the roof over the Diamond – telling CBS 6 reporter Joe St. George each end was originally built to support more weight. According to Hanson, that could create a concert-like venue for the city.

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Hanson plans to present his proposal to city council meeting Monday during public comment.

18 comments

  • Robbie

    This old man needs to go away. Save the taxpayers money is a ridiculous idea. Mayor already has his buddies lined up, pockets full of pay off money so lets get to the ground breaking in the bottom.

  • Tyrone Bigum

    This is the most logical plan so far. If the mayor is really itching to spend 40 or 50 million how about a new high school. It’s clear the people don’t want to spend a lot of money on this project.

    • Joseph

      New high school? How dumb. Several rps schools need renovating. Student population of rps does not support a new high school.

  • Glen Allen

    This idea is absolutely worth looking in to prior to moving forward with any other option. If the Mayor has promises to fulfill in the Bottom, perhaps he can use some of the money he wants to borrow to address the combined sewer and flooding issues in the Bottom.

  • Ron Melancon

    I have worked at the Diamond and know firsthand the issues. The building needs to be replaced. It is not and will never be fully ADA compliant and the steps and seating is a hazard. Contact me and I will point out every area that is lacking.

    Build a new modern baseball stadium in the boulevard.

  • Mo Fiscal conservatism

    Oh we already know about the renovation. Moving it to the Bottom!! It’s going to be a great addition for the business class in Richmond!!

  • mbaker9105

    INTERLOPER! HERETIC! How dare he propose a plan that would be against lining the pockets of the entities, both Government and private, who stand to benefit from the construction of an entirely new stadium! BLASPHEMOUS!

    • Eugene Golden

      and they will be the first ones to complain about the hassles if they build it there. I cannot get home….. I cannot find a place to park….. when friends come to visit they cannot find a place to park ….. The city had Sieberts tow my car! ….. The noise bothers me….. they shot fireworks through my loft’s window…… it will be endless.

  • Vicki

    Mr. Hanson has a long standing reputation of caring about the interests of the City of Richmond and its Urban Design. In fact for a number of years he served on the City of Richmond’s Urban Design Committee. If he proposed a plan, it is certain to be well thought out and in the best interest of the City overall.

    • MICHAEL

      He served a number of years on the urban design committee?? really? and what have they done but keep Richmond 30 years behind? Richmond looks like its been stuck in the 80′s. It’s just now starting to look like there is any hope in Richmond. If he served a number of years on that committee, he is the last person we need advice from. He will only keep Richmond stagnant which is the problem with Richmond in the first place.

  • James

    The Squirrels moved here based on a promise of a new stadium. Not power washing a 30 year old concrete stadium (something the team already did when they got here). His proposal has some good ideas that should’ve been implemented 15 years ago but would not cut it now.

  • Michael Maurice Garrett

    How many award-winning structures do you know of that get demolished after only 30 years? We’re not talking about a Burger King, here. Mr. Hanson isn’t suggesting that a mere power washing is going to resolve all of The Diamond’s shortfalls. But, it was designed to be easily adapted and expanded, as needed.
    Here’s an interview with Hanson on WRIR. Except for the Jefferson Starship intro, it’s well worth listening to.
    Hear the man out. He knows what he’s talking about. And, like me, you probably don’t.
    http://www.radio4all.net/files/opensourcerva@gmail.com/4652-1-RVAR_7-10-14.mp3

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