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Monday, October 02, 2006

Revisions 10/2/06

The Mayor:
Leigh Street Armory Continues to Sit Empty
The historic Leigh Street Armory in Jackson Ward remains an unfortunate victim of political indecision.

Me:Surely you understand the tremendous symbolism and historic importance of the Armory. While it is a shame to see it sit empty for so long, surely we can find a more appropriate use for this important building than private apartments. This is a building that belongs to not just African Americans, but to all Richmonder’s and is an important part of our shared heritage. I wish you would use your leadership and influence to see that this building takes it’s proper place along side the Maggie L Walker house as an anchor for the Jackson Ward Historic District. This was not indecision on the part of the Council, but a decision on behalf of the citizens of Richmond, black and white.

The Mayor: Time for Richmond Braves to Step Up to the Plate?
Continuing discussions with my neighboring colleagues has led to an undeniable conclusion: The Diamond is the ideal location for a professional baseball team in Richmond.

Me:I wish I could convince you of the tremendous benefit that Richmond would reap from having a new DOWNTOWN baseball stadium. I just can’t see how you can ignore the impact that 500,000 visitors to downtown would have. Currently, these ever dwindling fans slide conveniently off the freeway and back on it, barely impacting the surrounding economy. I know you have seen the beautiful parks in Norfolk and Louisville. Baseball fits in so well with the historic character of this city and it is one of the few things that could help restore downtown to it’s former prominence. This is an historic opportunity which I believe would be a tragedy for Richmond, not just the city to pass up. The City of Richmond occupies a unique place in the metropolitan area. It is the heart, soul and birthplace of the region. You are old enough to remember when, despite the structural inequalities of the races, Richmond was a grand place to live. Many if not most of Richmond’s best, brightest and most affluent fled the turmoil and crime that enveloped not only Richmond. Most of what remained were either too stubborn, proud or poor to move, but many of those who did leave remember a time when Richmond was a grand place. This is a tremendous untapped resource. Given the opportunity they will return, if only to show their children and grand children the city of their birth. Most of these people have no good reason to come back. Baseball is one of those thing that could do that. People need symbols to unite them. Right now Richmond behaves as three or more separate unrelated cities, when in fact we live in one metropolitan area artificially separate by arbitrary political boundaries. We need our leadership to overcome that, not reinforce that. Downtown belongs to all of Richmond and needs to be supported by it in turn. We don’t need a “convenient” stadium next to the freeway, we need stadium that is integrated into the historic center of the city that brings people and vitality and reminds people what it is like to live in a grand city.

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