The Shockoe Ballpark proposal has a new ally. Time will tell if it’s a new and also powerful ally. His name is Del. G. Manoli Loupassi,who has proposed a bill in the General Assembly to fund a ballpark with tax dollars. I don’t remember his role in the ballpark planning while he represented the 1st District on city council.
The proposal would apply only to the state’s 4 percent portion of sales taxes generated by the stadium and structures associated with it, potentially hotels and retail and office space.
Diverting tax money from the development to pay off the development seems like a good financing plan to me. The devil is in the details, however.
It was unclear yesterday exactly how much money might be available and what would happen if revenues aren’t sufficient to cover bond payments. Officials with Richmond Baseball Club LC, a group led by Highwoods Properties, said they would elaborate today.
In another, perhaps more interesting development, the ballpark development group has hired state Sen. Henry L. Marsh III as their lobbyist.
Marsh, as many of you know, represents Richmond in the state Sentate, is a former Richmond mayor, and mentor to new General Assembly delegate Delores McQuinn.
Delegate McQuinn is the political sponsor of the Richmond City Counil’s Slave Trail Commission. The word on the street is that she will not be giving up her seat on the commission as she moves from city to state politician.
My hope is that the McQuinn-Marsh relationship will help advance the cause of memorializing the ugly history of Shockoe, which the Slave Trail Commission has championed effectively, and not subsume that important effort to other political goals. Because as much as I’d like to see surface lots in Shockoe disappear and life returned to that neighborhood, I’d like even more to see the hsitory that’s been paved over for so long properly acknowledged.