City Planning Commission approves deal to transfer Diamond owner - | WBTV Charlotte

City Planning Commission approves deal to transfer Diamond ownership

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

The Diamond and the land around it could soon be owned by the city.  An ordinance that transfers the ownership from the Richmond Metropolitan Authority to the City was just approved by the Planning Commission.

Now, the City Council needs to vote on it.

Siewers Lumber & Millwork has been in business a block away from the Diamond for decades. The owner has seen the neighborhood develop and agrees the city's plans for a possible mix used development could help make a profit.  But that would mean the Diamond would have to move and one of the owners, Freddie Siewers, isn't all for that.

"Business wise a development might be better but we just look at the security issue," he said.  "You know I think it would be safer for families to go to games here."

On Monday, the City's Planning Commission approved an ordinance that transfers ownership of the Diamond and the land around it from the Richmond Metropolitan Authority to the City.

Richmond Chief Administrative officer Byron Marshall says right now there are two choices: it could be built on the Boulevard just southwest of the existing stadium where maintenance buildings currently are or it could be built in Shockoe Bottom.

"It doesn't matter whether the stadium is built on the Boulevard or the Bottom we still have to have ownership of the land because the stadium will not be on that same spot," says Marshall.

If this deal is approved by the City Council, the city will lease the Diamond back to RMA for $1 a year.  Marshall says that lease will last until a new stadium is built.

In the meantime, the Richmond Flying Squirrels are keeping an eye on the city's latest pitch watching how it will play out.

"We have to be aware of them going on but our focus is really on the daily operations and we appreciate and value the city in getting those steps done," says Richmond Flying Squirrels vice president Parney Parnell.

Marshall says with this ordinance the city will be in charge of the demolition of the Diamond.  If the new stadium ends up in Shockoe Bottom, city leaders say the site of the current ballpark will be used for mixed use development.

Copyright 2013 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

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