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Without a Ballpark, What's Next for Bottom?

An agreement should be in place by the end of February, the mayor told Style. Meanwhile, Wilder says, the Braves' focus on the Fulton site has freed up the site just north of the 17th Street Farmers' Market, where Global Development Partners originally proposed the controversial $330 million ballpark development.

Wilder expects that developers will be submitting new proposals for that site sometime soon. Just in the past few weeks, he says, "there have been other people who have expressed other interests." He declined to elaborate.

McQuinn says she's unaware of any new development proposals for the area. The Shockoe Bottom Advisory Committee, established by the mayor last year to study the ballpark proposal and other potential development ideas for the area, also has yet to inform McQuinn of its recommendations.

Lee Buffinton, a Church Hill resident and co-founder of Citizens Organized for Responsible Development, says her group is "urging heritage tourism" as an integral and potentially lucrative part of the Bottom's development.

Meanwhile, the city's Slave Trail Commission, which McQuinn leads, presses on. The commission aims to examine and preserve the history of the slave trail, which slices through Shockoe Bottom, as a major hub for the import and export of slaves.

In the next month or so, McQuinn expects new signage marking 10 significant points along the trail. Early this spring, an archeological survey will break ground at the site of the old Lumpkins Jail. And by fall, she says, the city's Statue of Reconciliation will be installed in Shockoe Bottom at the intersection of 15th and East Main streets. The statue stands 13 feet tall and depicts two people embracing, McQuinn says.

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