Richmond, Virginia – Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones attended the “Up Close & Personal” Community Conversation about the economic development for Shockoe Bottom and the Boulevard. The community event was hosted by Clovia Lawrence at Craigland Hair Affair on 109 Brookland Park Boulevard.
Mayor Jones addressed the intimate crowd in spite of the rough weather on Thursday to deliver plans for Shockoe Bottom and the Boulevard. However, the Shockoe Bottom site is PHASE 1.
“Why do we need to do economic development? Why is such a big deal? It’s such a big deal because the city has to have the financial wherewithal in order to build schools, to take care of school maintenance, to take care of infrastructure. Ours is an aging community and it requires increased dollars and because we don’t have the opportunity to do the things that the counties are doing, we have to be very careful not to waste our limited resources on things that do not benefit us in such a way that we will have the money to do the things that we need to do,” said Mayor Jones.
One concerned citizen asked “why move the ballpark to Shockoe Bottom?” Mayor Jones responded, “the Boulevard property where the Baseball Diamond is now perhaps one of the most valuable pieces of land on the Eastern Seaboard -64, 95 is right on the highway and for us to use that land for a baseball field really does not make a lot of sense, particularly in light of the fact that the baseball crowd is made up of 33% Richmonders -the rest are made up of people from the counties. So for us to use our best land to build a ball field that is only used by 33% of our people really when you think about it does not make economic sense.”
In addition to the ball field, the mayor said, there is a Hyatt Hotel, 400 apartments, Kroger Marketplace, and the Heritage Site which is something that we have not talked about very much. The Heritage Site is an opportunity for us to celebrate the history of our people. “Slavery is something that the City of Richmond years ago was very much apart of, it was the basis of the economy for the United States of America and Richmond was at the heart of it,” said Mayor Jones.
Mayor Jones said, the city is making sure that what we are proposing does not infringe on any of those properties that slavery took place. He went on to say “we have engaged the services of persons who will do digs to make sure that we are avoiding any type of encumbrance of those pieces of property.”
The Heritage Site gives us an opportunity not to just recognize that slavery took place but it gives an opportunity not just to put a sign up saying this is sacred space, said Mayor Jones. He said the plan gives an opportunity to educate your children and my children as to what happened in Shockoe Bottom during slavery; and, to celebrate the fact the even though we are descendents of such a heinous institution, we are able to look back and see that somehow we made it through. And, the most important thing is for our children to be sensitized and for our children to be educated and know what took place in Shockoe Bottom.
Learn more about economic development for Shockoe Bottom and the Boulevard at the next “Up Close & Personal” Community Conversation Wednesday, July 30, 6:30pm-7:30pm at Agape Barber Shop in Southside Plaza on Hull Street. Food will be served.
Join the community for an “Up Close & Personal” Community Conversation to discuss the revitalization plans for Shockoe Bottom on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at the Craigland Hair Affair 109 West Brookland Park Boulevard (northside) from 6:30pm-7:30pm. Space is limited, please arrive on time. Food will be served.
Will Richmonders support new economic development plans for Shockoe Bottom and the Boulevard? According to Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones, the new revitalization project will generate 187-million dollars in new tax revenue and create 1,000 jobs. The ballpark site will be located at 17th and 18th streets with parking available at 14th, 15th and Franklin Streets. There will be 700 hundred apartments around the stadium, a Hyatt Hotel and a Kroger Grocery store at 18th and Broad Streets.
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Mayor Jones, said there will be “a pavilion to commemorate Lumpkins Jail” at the Slavery and Freedom Heritage Site. He said, funding for the 30-million dollar project was raised by the city, state and city businesses. Mayor Jones, said “we are not taking money from schools or elsewhere for the plan. This will be the place where our story will be told.”
The poverty rate in Richmond is at 26% and Mayor Jones wants citizens of Richmond to own their homes and businesses.
The Revitalize RVA, chapter 1, “is a revolutionary plan. It will transform our city” said Mayor Jones.
The Defenders Sacred Ground Project opposes the RVA Economic Development Plan. View the story from WRIC-TV8