Lawrence Williams 
Member since Jan 25, 2014



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Re: “Flying Squirrels Supporters Speak Up

I have had some time to review alternate sites, more so than many. I wish we would have more professional input. $339 Million per year in lost jobs and economic impact? This is my recommendation. Two sites are the most viable regionally. Here are some alternative graphics on the Boulevard Development vs. Shockoe.…
With all this regional citizen concern Sports Backers, a regional organization, should step up to bat with the Flying Squirrels to place a privately funded, collegiate scale multi-use sports events arena stadium including VSU and our School System on that site or no stadium on the Boulevard. Track and soccer would move to City stadium satisfying Councilman Agelasto. The present stadium location however, impacts flexible land use for the next 100 years and with high density development will only tend to reinforce segregation in Richmond and leave the East End behind. That is why the stadium and related economic benefits should still consider other locations, including Shockoe Bottom.
Also the North Boulevard should be divided into, at no cost to the City of Richmond (Paper Right of Ways) with Ten Paper Performa Parcels identified, square foot cost for stadium structures, square foot cost for playing field and square foot cost for green space identified, consistent in each community plan and any proposals submitted. Allowing issues to be compared apples to apples. With this approach conclusions can easily be compared by both professionals and citizens. This was stated to Councilman Baliles.
I am not certain Councilmen Hilbert’s or Samuel’s approach over the next 60 days will yield the highest land use return, actually create diversified land ownership opportunities, shopping, surface parking or achieve realistic market driven land use absorption in a realistic time frame. Also, I liked the rapid transit idea recently mentioned circling the inner core along existing rail lines on the North and East to VCU medical center and along the Downtown Expressway to the South and Beltline Expressway to the West back to North Boulevard. The fully informed and citizens are offered plans for both the North Boulevard and Shockoe Bottom. Let them decide. Hope this helps.

2 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Lawrence Williams on 01/21/2016 at 10:49 AM

Re: “Ballpark Boosters Win Contract to Redevelop Boulevard

After researching over fifty stadiums around the country, I have concluded that Odell Architect’s Carolina Mudcats Five County Stadium has the best bleacher/stands configuration to the field and streets. While the Charlotte N.C. Stadium is downtown and is a 12 month venue it does not readily lend itself to college football, school graduations and other events. I was impressed with my cousin’s outdoor stadium graduation when I visited Hampton University. Its stadium is across a 50 foot wide commons street from its historic campus and historical burial grounds. Both contribute to the stadium’s strong sense of place. Other public venues should be able to use the facility I would call “Shockoe Yard”. What greater honor is there than a graduation?
Multi-use, events, football and or baseball facilities are difficult to achieve. Home plate of the proposed stadium Plan “A” foot print should move southwest to achieve a convertible (baseball or football) stadium. The proposed Plan “C” should solve this problem. Will the current first proposed Plan “A” accommodate other sports? Considering the cost, we should make certain the facility has an income stream every day and relates to the new Slavery Museum, celebrating the Ancestors and Richmond’s Living Culture. More input such as this proposal is required from citizens to promote year round use and buy in from vested parties.
The Mudcats Stadium cost 4.28 million in 2013 dollars and seats 6,500.The stand design allows for a seating expansion system as proposed in Plan “C”. The system should reconfigure stadium “C” to seat an additional 3,000 seats (8 expansion bays) and with outfield bleacher seating and left field terraced berms attendance at hosted national events, high school tournaments, graduations, college football and soccer games could be 12,000 to 18,000. Putting the facility in a semi pro sports league category. Below field, green roof, convenient parking (two levels 1,200 cars), would free up one parking deck and offer more land for development while raising the field above the floodplain. Chicago Parks System’s Soldier Field designed by Wood and Zapata Architects has underground parking and is LEED certified. The beautiful Slavery Museum design done by Pei Cobb Freed Architects, using the existing plans from Fredericksburg could be adjacent to the North Shockoe Stream site, 18th or 17th and Broad Streets with the Hotel moved one block North and the big box grocery store with service station located North of the I-95 exit ramp on VCU warehouse property along Oliver Hill Way. Architects Gary Bowden and Philip Freelon designed the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture adjacent to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

I am convinced the present field orientation, with fences that should open along major streets, offer only a barrier, not to mention a service station occurring at the corner, is not the best urban planning we can do when compared to cities like Baltimore or Boston. The relationship to the farmer’s market is great, however the Mudcats stadium allows for private restaurants on lower levels to serve both the street and the field. Not supporting local restaurants and vendors was a major issue with the Redskins training camp. The Shockoe Bottom business community would be pleased with increasing and serving new patrons.
The Multi-use “Cultural Campus” Plan C (C for Community) Design is an alternative land use that should be adopted. I am confident that with Commission of Architectural Review and Citizen Input, we will have the best State of the Art, environmentally friendly stadium in the World. Let Richmond Lead Again.
Welcome to “Shockoe Yard “Past Rails and Trails to the Future.

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Lawrence Williams on 01/25/2014 at 8:31 PM

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