The Diamond Parker Field Discussions of new stadium

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The Diamond
Parker Field
Discussions of new stadium

Questions and Answers on the New Stadium at Parker Field

A Case for a New Stadium for the Richmond Area

Projected Attendance for New Parker Field Stadium


City of Richmond and counties of Henrico and Chesterfield

RMA Financial reports

Superbox $250,000 use for 10 years, 10 season tickets for baseball, 2 parking passes, admissions to other stadium events, paid utilities, paid cleaning service, decorated by tenant

The Great Diamond Giveaway

Wall of Fame

$4 million to be raised by public – as of June 10, 1987, $4,278,432 raised by 678 donors plus fund-raising efforts. Reached $4 million in August of 1985.

Include letter suggesting name (11/84)

Dr. William H. Parker

Frank Soden

Tommie Aaron
Marketing items

Finnegan & Agee

Diamonds Aren’t Forever poster

Let’s Pitch In To Build A New Ballpark.

Buttons sold at Central Fidelity Bank, C.P. Dean, Easco Photo, East Coast Gas,

Shoney’s, Bill’s Barbecue

Ballpark Special – donations from items sold

For Baseball like you’ve never seen it, give The Diamond a ring.


Cover photo of 1986 Great Minor League Baseball Parks Calendar (Baseball America)

RMA minutes of meetings

1985 IL All-Star Game

Superbox Tenants (as of April 5, 1985)
Right Field

1 UVB ½

Universal Leaf ¼

Wheat First Securities ¼

2 A.H. Robins
3 Ukrop’s
4 Ethyl
5 Braves VIP Box
Left Field

6 First Va Bank-Colonial ¼

Best Products ¼

Massey Wood & West ¼

Life of Virginia ¼
7 Investors Savings & Loan ½

Available ½

8 CSX Corporation ½

Sovran Bank ½

9 Reynold’s Metals 1/3

Eskimo Pie 1/3

Robertshaw Controls 1/3
10 Philip Morris
11 Hunton Williams ¼

James River Corporation ¼

Owens & Minor ¼

CF Sauer ¼

12 Mid-Atlantic Coke ½

Brown Distributing ½

13 Available

8/8/79 Report on Multipurpose Stadium for Metropolitan Richmond area

9/30/82 Report on Physical and Structural Condition of Parker Field

Oct. and Nov. 1982 discussion of Parker Field

12/8/82 Budget for replacing Parker Field

3/14/83 Report for repairs and alterations to Parker Field estimated at $1.5 million

Spring/83 Stadium Committee formed at request of Chamber of Commerce

9/20/83 Meeting with Richmond Area Business Leaders to present progress report on new stadium

9/83 Research report on perceived need for new stadium and whether residents feel his/her local government should support

1/30/84 Attendance and revenue projections for new Parker Field Stadium

3/29/84 Announcement of new stadium in front of main gates at Parker Field

early 1984 Formation of Stadium Operating Committee

7/1/84 Effective date RMA authorized by General Assembly to acquire land, construct and own an athletic stadium and lease such land, stadium and attendant facilities

7/2/84 Press conference at Parker Field to announce two-month campaign for 100 retail outlets offering portion of sales going to new ballpark, Diamonds Aren’t Forever poster unveiled

7/24/84 design contract awarded to Baskervill and Son, building contract awarded to McDevitt and Street

8/31/84 Last game at Parker Field, Friday, finished at 10:40 EDT

10/28/84 Appeal to public for name suggestions

11/84 Letter suggesting name

12/17/84 or 12/18/84 Announcement of name

4/17/85 First game (Diamond is birthstone for April)

First pitch: Steve Shields, pitcher, Larry Owens, catcher, Mike Sharperson, hitter (ball)

6/14/85 Dedication of The Diamond
First game at Parker Field 4/20/54

First and last lists in Richmond Braves 1985 game program

Find list of Diamond firsts

City of Richmond City Council

Roy A. West, Mayor

Mrs. Claudette Black McDaniel, Vice Mayor

Andrew J. Gillespie

Walter T. Kenney

William J. Leidinger

Henry L. Marsh, III

Henry W. Richardson

Mrs. Carolyn C. Wake

Mrs. Geline B. Williams

Manual Deese, City Manager

Henrico County Board of Supervisors

John A. Waldrop, Jr., Chairman

David A. Kaechele, Vice Chairman

Anthony P. Mehfoud

John B. Mckenney, Jr.

L. Ray Shadwell, Jr.

William F. LaVecchia, County Manager
Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors

Harry G. Daniel, Chairman

Geoffrey H. Applegate, Vice Chairman

Joan Girone

R. Garland Dodd

Jessee J. Mayes

Richard L. Hedrick, County Administrator
Richmond Metropolitan Authority Board of Directors

James L. Jenkins, Chairman

William A. Thornton, Vice Chairman

W. Brooks George

Read F. Goode

David K. Hunt

Jonathan Murdoch-Kitt

Reginald H. Nelson, IV

Robert A. Quicke

Mrs. Virginia Ritchie

Lawrence D. Smith, Sr.

Archer L. Yeatts, Jr.

Stadium Operating Committee

Richard A. Hollander, Chairman

Daniel W. Allen (Assistant City Manager of Richmond)

*Richard L. Andersen (Richmond Braves General Manager)

George W. Cheadle (RMA General Manager)

*Frederick T. Cooper

Robert J. Dahlstedt (Director of Planning of Henrico County)

Harry G. Daniel (Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors Chairman)

*Beverly Dew

Elmer C. Hodge (Assistant County Administrator of Chesterfield)

William J. Leidinger (Richmond City Council member)

Lee A. Putney

Robert S. Ukrop

John A. Waldrop, Jr. (Henrico County Board of Supervisors Chairman)

Andrew M. Dreelin, III

Gilbert O. Nicholson, Jr.

Douglas R. Maxwell
*not on original committee
General Contractor – McDevitt & Street Company

Architect – Baskervill & Son

Structural Engineer – Thomas A. Hanson & Associates, Inc.

RMA Representative – Torrence, Dreelin, Farthing & Buford, Inc.

Diamond Trivia (according to 1985 Richmond Braves Media Guide)

The first footer was poured on Sept. 12, 1984.

Construction for The Diamond took place in 226 days.

It took 4,000 man hours per week, or 128,000 total man hours to complete the construction.

The Diamond consists of 12 million pounds or 8,000 yards of precast cement.

One roof riser weighs 32 tons.

One of the 16 outer”Y”-shaped supports weighs 55 tons.

The price tag exceeded $8 million.

There are 3,205 box seats, 2,198 reserved seats and 7,097 general admission seats in The Diamond. (12,500 total seats)

The last row of general admission seats is 75 feet off the ground or 7.5 stories high.

Tommie Aaron Training Facilities

Dedicated April 20, 1985

In appreciation of his dedication and professionalism as a renowned Richmond Braves player from 1966 to 1972 and for his outstanding leadership as manager of the Richmond Braves in 1977 and 1978.
William Parker Fountain

Dedicated August 12, 1985

In grateful recognition of Dr. William H. Parker, beloved physician, civic leader, and sportsman. When AAA baseball came to Richmond in 1954, the ballpark was named Parker Field in his honor.
Frank Soden Press Box

Dedicated August 26, 1985

In appreciation of his outstanding and enthusiastic contribution to sportscasting in the Richmond area. His distinguished career as a broadcast journalist has included leadership participation in an incredible number of community activities.
Report dated 8/8/79
Central Richmond Association committee formed to investigate new multi-purpose stadium for city of Richmond changed to general Richmond Metropolitan Area working committee – combined Richmond, Chesterfield County and Henrico County Stadium Committee.
14 sites in the city of Richmond and five sites each from Chesterfield and Henrico.
The committee recommended Parker Field as site (north of Coliseum was second) and recommended 30.000-seat stadium designed to be expandable to 40,000 to be used for football, baseball and soccer as well as concerts and outdoor exhibitions. Estimated annual attendance would be near 600,000 in the first few years. Estimated cost would be between $12 and $14 million. Annual maintenance costs would be between $175,000 and $200,000.
The stadium would have hosted football for UR (I-A at the time), VUU, high schools, Tobacco Bowl, Gold Bowl, All-Star game and professional exhibition; baseball for Braves, exhibitions, college and high school; soccer, track meets and concerts.
Previous Stadium Studies

1974 – Stadium feasibility study by Richmond Regional Planning District

1975 – Stadium feasibility study by Metropolitan Richmond Chamber of Commerce

1978 – Improvements to Richmond Municipal Stadium by City of Richmond

1978 – Preliminary general specifications for a new stadium

CRA Stadium Location Committee

Chuck Boone

Stadium Committee formed in spring of 1983

Concluded that $20 million multipurpose stadium was not viable approach

Focus on top-notch sports facility at current Parker Field site (primarily for baseball)

Sept. 1983 survey by the Southeastern Institute of Research, Inc

Is Richmond Area perceived to need Parker Field type stadium

Does resident feel his/her government should support stadium effort
Report of attendance and revenue projections for new Parker Field Stadium for Metropolitan Richmond Stadium Committee by Zuchelli, Hunter & Associates, Inc.
Parker Field attendance

1975 68,348

1979 159,864

1980 187,462 17.3% increase

1981 218,208 16.4% increase

1982 255,864 17.3% increase

1983 300,896 17.6% increase
Projected initial-year attendance to range from 5,600 to 6,000, decline to 4,600 to 5,400 after 3 or 4 years, reach 5,000 to 5,700 by 1995.
According to Richmond Times-Dispatch published 6/7/09
Richmond Braves Home Attendance (since IL expanded from 10 to 14 for 1998)

Year Rank in IL Average Team record

2008 14 4,454 63-78

2007 12 4,945 77-64

2006 12 4,731 57-86

2005 10 6,014 56-88

2004 10 6,250 79-62

2003 7 7,093 64-79

2002 10 6,565 75-67

2001 8 6,574 68-76

2000 7 6,946 51-92

1999 4 7,481 64-78

1998 4 7,440 64-80
Richmond Flying Squirrels averaged 6,626 in 2010, #18 in minor league baseball and #2 among Double-A affiliates.
The Gwinnett Braves averaged 4,817 and ranked #13 of 14 IL franchises.
Richmond Braves home attendance (RTD 4/16/85)

  1. 234,005

  2. 264,814

  3. 151,617

  4. 80,477

  5. 120,928

  6. 112,675

  7. 84,231

  8. 72,156

  9. 93,679

  10. 68,348

  11. 109,636

  12. 185,628

  13. 202,106

  14. 159,864

  15. 187,462

  16. 218,208

  17. 255,874

  18. 253,328

  19. 165,187

Total: 3,060,493 (161,079 average)

Tentative Time Schedule

RMA/Parker Field Project

May 14, 1984
PF – Parker Field

EC – the Evaluation Committee

SOC – the Stadium Operating Committee

Richmond – the City of Richmond

Henrico – the County of Henrico

Chesterfield – the County of Chesterfield

RMA – the Richmond Metropolitan Authority

Banks – the financing bank group

Braves – the Richmond Braves baseball club
May 14 – PF Design-Build Request for Proposals (RFP) is made available to prospective bidders

May 22 – RMA Board adopts a resolution appointing the EC and requesting the EC to review, evaluate and make appropriate recommendations with respect to PF Design-Build proposals received

May 30 – Pre-proposal meeting of potential bidders at PF to inspect the site

May-June 30 – (a) Private sector fund raising; (b) development of financing package; (c) negotiations with the Braves on a new lease (including negotiations with concessionaires if they are not contracted for by the Braves)

June 11 – Richmond City Council: first reading of ordinance containing deed of the PF property to RMA

June 18 – Publication of first notice of RMA public hearing on the issuance of bonds to finance the PF project (as required by federal tax law and Virginia Industrial Development Bond law)

June 19 – Publication of RMA RFP soliciting proposals from engineering/architectural firms to assist it in overseeing construction of the PF project (as required by the Virginia Public Procurement Act). Publication of the RMA RFP soliciting bond counsel proposals.

June 25 – Publication of second notice of RMA public hearing on the issuance of boncs to finance the PF project.

June 25 – Richmond City Council: second reading and adoption of ordinance containing deed of the PF property to RMA

June 26 – Cut-off date for receipt of proposals by the EC in response to the Design-Build RFP

June 26 – Notice of special meeting of the RMA Board to be held on July 2 is sent out

June 28 – Evaluation by the EC of proposals received in response to the Design/Build RFP

June 29 – Cut-off date for receipt of all proposals to serve as RMA engineering/architectural “overseer” for the PF project and to serve as bond counsel

July 2 – RMA Board meeting at which the following actions are taken by the RMA Board:

  1. Public hearing is held on the RMA bond issuance

  2. Bond authorization resolution is adopted

  3. Deed of the PF property is accepted

  4. Number of proposers responding to the Design-Build RFP is narrowed down to three

  5. Adoption of a resolution setting forth the composition, powers and duties of the SOC and its relationship to the RMA Board

  6. Selection of RMA engineering/architectural “overseer” for the PF project

  7. Selection of bond counsel

  8. Approval of draft bond documents

  9. Approval of moral obligation contract supporting the bonds

July 9 – EC holds contract development meetings with the three top bidders (talks designed to answer any questions about proposals made and to further refine the proposals)

July 9 – Richmond City Council:

  1. adopts a resolution approving the issuance by RMA of its PF bonds

  2. first reading of moral obligation contract supporting the bonds

July 11 – Henrico and Chesterfield Boards of Supervisors: each adopt the moral obligation contract supporting the RMA PF bonds

July 17 – RMA regular meeting: Cost proposals on the Design-Build RFP are opened and RMA Board (with the assistance of the EC) chooses and announces the winning bidder

July 20 – RMA staff (with the assistance of the EC) holds talks with the winning bidder to put any finishing touches on the construction contract and to discuss project scheduling

July 20 – Notice of special meeting of the RMA Board to be held on July 24 is sent out

July 23 – Richmond City Council: second reading and adoption of moral obligation contract supporting the RMA PF bonds

July 24 – RMA Board meeting at which the following actions are taken:

  1. [all corporate pledges and gifts have been received and, as necessary, are ready to be funded out by commitment of the Banks]

  2. Lease with the Braves is signed by the Braves and the RMA

  3. Moral obligation contract supporting the RMA PF bonds is signed by all parties

  4. Bond documents are executed and RMA PF bonds are issued [NB: if RMA does not issue its bonds on July 24, can it enter into a design-build contract on that date – which it must do in order to have the PF project completed on time? Possible solution: if bonds cannot be issued by July 24, see if RMA can contract with the winning bidder to pay only for work done and materials ordered (not to exceed a fixed amount) through Septenber 1, 1984, with no further liability and no duty to proceed unless the bonds are issued and notice to proceed is given by that date. The three political jurisdictions would then have to agree (probably as a part of their moral obligation contracts) to fund such amount if the bonds were not issued. Bidders should be notified in early June if this change is contemplated. Notice could be given by sending out an addendum to the Design-Build RFP.]

  5. Design-Build contract is executed.

July 25 – Detailed design work begins (fast track basis)

September 4 – Demolition at PF begins

April 15, 1985 – New PF ready for occupancy

Richmond Braves and Richmond Virginians Top Ten attendance marks

1985 368,656

1983 293,328

1967 264,814

1957 258,861

1982 255,874

1966 234,005

1954 223,981

1959 220,198

1981 218,208

1956 214,533

(8/14/85 edition of Richmond News Leader)

Tom Haudricourt article 4/16/85 supplement

“This just doesn’t happen everywhere,” said Andersen. “I’ll treasure this experience for the rest of my life. It’s a monument to the dedication of all the people who worked to put it together.”
“I walked out on the field the other day and took a look at what has been done,” said Hollander, “I could only look at it and say, ‘My God, did we really do this?”
Spring 1983

City wanted Braves to build the stadium. Braves said it was the city’s obligation.

Team was close to leaving

Andersen convinced Moffatt & Chamber of importance of baseball

Moffatt & Andersen went to Atlanta to talk with Sanders.

SOC formed

Fall & winter 1983-84

Governments commit

Richmond committed first

Henrico & Chesterfield came on board

Summer 1984-Spring 1985

Private sector funds

Design, construction

Bill Millsaps

Richard 32-year old GM

Two years of calling attention to deplorable conditions at PF

Speech to civic club: PF is not safe

Will stadium inherit Parker character (s)?

History of baseball in Richmond

1884 Richmond in AA

Various teams, ballpark locations

Crowded clubhouse

March 1983 presentation to Chamber
Bill Deekens


Hurdles through the process

Team almost left

Deficit reduction act, limited the amount of revenue bonds that could be issued by any locality. Chesterfield had given up its quota. Reps of General Assembly talked to Gov. Charles S. Robb to see if state had some bonds that could be allocated to Chesterfield.

11-hour non-stop meeting on Aug. 31 Charles Sanders, Doug Maxwell (RMA’s attorney), Andersen, Dan Allen (Richmond’s assistant city manager). Lease had to be signed so demolition of PF could start the next day

July 2, 1984 press conference by fund-raising committee to announce community to ‘pitch in’ to help build new ballpark.

Shelley Rolfe RTC 11/27/85

The column also invoked memories of three decades ago, when a group of public-spirited people banded together to form Greater Richmond Civic Recreation Corp. to sell $360,000 for the conversion of Parker Field into a home for a new Richmond International League team.
The recounting of what happened in 1954 had caught Ukrop’s attention when he was cleaning his desk. He wished he had known more about it when he embarked on the Diamond project.
A knowledge of history, Ukrop said, always is instructive. He wished some of the leading players in GRCR had left memoirs. Only one of them is alive, Dr. Ed Haddock, who was mahor in 1954. Haddock, Ukrop said, has put together a memoir, a 16 mm film on Parker Field’s formative days.
Ukrop wondered if the GRCR fund-raisers had ‘bitten their fingernails’ as he had done. Emphatically, yes. Ukrop began articulating a philosophy. “Life is a series of crises,” he said. “You finish college. You settle down at work. You get married. At each stop, you figure it’s going to get easier/” And there always is a fresh hurdle to surmount.
Jennings Culley 4/18/85

The Diamond will stand as the House That Community Spirit Built.

7/5/84 Editorial

Into the Windup

August deadline for committed funds

Having a Triple A baseball franchise, especially a quality operation like the Atlanta Braves’, is a precious asset for the metropolitan area.

There are also the intangibles associated with having a regular source of wholesome family entertainment and having Richmond’s name circulated widely as an International League member.

So, go government. Go private enterprise. Go fans. GO TEAM!


Bill Millsaps column

Fastballs mark Stadium’s ‘pitch’

Fenton Hord, president of Eskimo Pie Corp., announced the start of a two-month campaign that involves 100 local retail outlets, all of which will earmark portions of the sale of certain products for the new ball park. Then there will be “I’m Pitching In To Build a New Ball Park” buttons; they’ll sell for $10 and the money will go into the stadium construction fund. The goal is to raise $500,000 from those efforts, Hord said.

Jan. 1, 1985 RTD

City, counties cooperating

Paula C. Squires and Frank Green

The grandstands, sky boxes and dugouts at the Diamond (old Parker Field) will embody a spirit of regional cooperation that flourished in the Richmond metropolitan area in 1984.

8/30/84 NL

Lawyer may seek to prevent start of stadium work

City manager Manuel Deese decided not to hire minority subcontractor to do part of the job

The subconstractor, Robert L. Snow of Snow’s General Services, says his company was not chosen to demolish the aging Parker Field grandstand to make way for the new stadium because he is black. Snow was the low bidder on the demolition.

McDevitt & Street argued that they would have taken too long to knock down grandstand
Top sports story for 1985 RNL, tied for 10th for top news story.
Richmond Braves 1985 Larry McPhail Award – best operation in minor league baseball
Jaycees Season Ticket Drive brochure in Henrico County utility bills
1985 attendance: 368,656

1986 attendance: 403,252

Let’s Play Ball Together

(Fundraising Game Plan for New Stadium)

Goal of $4 million

$3 million pledged by July 1, 1984, campaign running through May, 1985

3-year payment plan 1984, 1985, 1986
Large firms 4/16-6/29 $100,000-250,000 $2,300,000 goal

Medium size firms 5/7-7/13 $25,000-75,000 1,000,000 goal

Smaller firms 6/4-8/31 $5,000-20,000 600,000 goal

Professionals 5/14-8/31 $100-25,000 100,000 goal

Public Appeal/Marketing 6/4-5/1985 $1 and up 200,000 goal

$4,200,000 goal

Braves badge $10 each (kid wearing or accompanied by wearer in free to PF

Bumper stickers

Print on Grocery Bags

Fact sheet on Stadium

POP materials

Pledge card

7/3/84 NL: Community goes to bat again – 30 years after big hit

In Play By Jennings Culley

They say it’s unsafe, unsightly, inadequate…and they’re right. But 30 years ago, Parker Field was a baseball delight. No architectural beauty, mind you, but a monument to what spirited citizens of a community could do in a short time.

Three decades ago, the drama in Richmond’s return to the International League was not in the awarding of the AAA franchise to a city where Class B baseball had long thrived. The excitement and suspense in the story was the way community effort made it work…the way enthusiastic citizens pulled together.
The franchise was awarded in the dead of winter, 1953, but a park large enough to meet IL standards was not available. That’s when community leaders such as Ed Phillips, Andrew Welch, Ed Haddock and many others formed Greater Richmond Civic Recreation and went about raising funds to convert a grandstand from the old fairgrounds on North Boulevard into an 11,000-seat baseball park.
Of course, in those days, you were speaking of $400,000, not $8 million. But the challenge, especially as far as time, was as great then as it is now. It was a matter of months and money.
Back then, the groundswell of support was mind-boggling. Civic clubs, church groups, organizations of all kind and private citizens by the thousands contributed funds and bought GRCR bonds.
In two months, the goal was reached, and on March 17, 1954, a contract was let to begin the conversion. That was just 22 days before the New York Yankees were due here for an exhibition. It seemed an impossible task. They poured a concrete concourse and hooked it to the grandstand (the first base side now). They built box seats and dugouts. They erected a lighting system. They rented and set up bleachers from the Washington Redskins.
Cozy park

Workmen were still hammering and saws were still buzzing as fans came in the game for the Yankee exhibition. Even a violent thunderstorm that struck minutes before the game couldn’t spoil the day. The game went on, and Parker Field was a reality.

It was a year later before the park took its current configuration. Again, through the financial backing of community leaders, GRCR purchased a wooden stadium in Scranton, Pa., and hauled it here. It was set up behind home plate and along the third base line.
It wasn’t pretty, but it was the largest ball park in Virginia. It was a cozy park from which a generation of fans have enjoyed watching baseball. They remember the Mel Stottlemyres, the Tommie Aarons, the Deron Johnsons, the Dale Murphys who have paraded through. But they remember most the public excitement and community spirit that brought it all about.
Now the community has to go to bat again.

B&W Photo (L to R): John A. Waldrop Jr., chairman of the Henrico Board of Supervisors; Richmond Mayor Roy West; local businessman Robert Ukrop; Chesterfield Supervisor Geoffrey Applegate; and Lee Putney, chairman of the Metropolitan Richmond Chamber of Commerce, celebrate the joint effort to replace Parker Field’s stadium. Staff photo by Masaaki Okada (Richmond Times-Dispatch) (March 1984)

Appeared in March 30, 1984 edition of RTD

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