by Ned Oliver
The mayor’s office says something is happening with its long-stalled ballpark proposal, but they won’t say what.
The revelation, if you can call it that, came after the mayor’s staff asked for a 60-day continuance of a council resolution directing the mayor to seek regional cooperation in the construction of a new baseball stadium.
Councilwoman Ellen Robertson, who sponsored the resolution with council members Jon Baliles and Charles Samuels, said the administration had asked council to delay the vote because there is “some work in process,” adding that “we are hopeful that there will be some additional information forthcoming prior to that time.”
Samuels apparently hadn’t been briefed on the request, and he asked for more information. Robertson didn’t provide more details, saying that she was “willing to honor the request of 60 days” and noting that “there are several things on this docket that have been continued over a year.”
Unsatisfied, Samuels said he wouldn’t support the continuance until a representative from the administration explained why they wanted the delay.
Following a 20-minute delay, the mayor’s chief of staff, Grant Neely, appeared at the podium. He wasn’t more specific than Robertson, saying only that the administration wanted the delay because the stadium proposal is “a large project with lots of moving parts.”
In an awkward exchange, Samuels continued to press for details while Neely steadfastly declined to provide them, obliquely hinting at an undisclosed development in relation to the project.
Eventually, Samuels consented to a two-week continuance “out of respect for Ellen Robertson.”
“But,” Samuels said, “the administration asked one of three patrons to continue this, then would not tell us why.”
In the past several months, multiple sources have suggested the mayor’s best chance of moving his stadium proposal forward would be for a planned regional children’s hospital to locate a new facility on the city owned land on the Boulevard where The Diamond currently sits.
It is not immediately clear when the children’s hospital site-selection committee planned to conclude its work.