Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mayor Jones and Bon Secours Announce East End Planning Initiative

Goal is to build healthier, more vibrant Church Hill/Nine Mile Corridor

Mayor Dwight C. Jones and Peter J. Bernard, CEO of Bon Secours Virginia, announced today a public design workshop, best known as a charrette, to revitalize the East End and Nine Mile Road corridor. Key contributors to the process are the Richmond Redevelopment Housing Authority and Bon Secours Richmond Community Hospital.

The charrette will take place June 2 – 7, at various Church Hill and East End locations.

“The goal is the development of a vision to guide transformative social, educational, and physical changes within the East End Planning District,” said Mayor Jones. “This is an important undertaking that can lead to revitalized housing as well as increased educational and economic opportunities.”

The public engagement of East End community members, small business owners, public housing residents, and other stakeholders is expected to provide information for the completion of grant applications for two key federal initiatives – the Promise Neighborhoods Initiative and the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. Successful applications would result in multi-million-dollar support for city initiatives for neighborhood enhancement along and near 25th Street and the Nine Mile Road corridor.

The purpose of the charrette is to develop specific proposals for design, housing and business opportunities, as well as policy and management recommendations for revitalization.

“The upcoming charrette is different in scope from others we’ve conducted around our health care facilities,” said Peter J. Bernard, CEO of Bon Secours Virginia. “The need for a healthy, sustainable and vibrant community is the impetus for this project. From our perspective, it is not necessarily hospital expansion, but development of a flourishing community that will benefit East End residents.”

Mayor Jones announced an aggressive economic development agenda at his first State of the City address held earlier this year. He has reorganized the Departments of Community Development and Economic Development and made clear his desire to see meaningful development in specific corridors of the city of Richmond. The 25th Street/Nine Mile Road Corridor has been high on the Mayor’s list of targeted development areas.

Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ) has been selected and contracted to conduct the charrette. DPZ is known internationally as a leading proponent of public participatory design and new urbanism. DPZ has held charrettes similar to the East End Charrette in Baton Rouge, LA, Newberg, NY and West Palm Beach, FL.

The public is encouraged to attend the opening session at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 2, at the Robinson Theatre, 2903 Q Street. The closing session begins at 5 p.m. on Monday, June 7, also at the Robinson Theatre.

A children’s charrette will take place on Saturday, June 5, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Family Resource Center, 2405 Jefferson Avenue, while parents and residents attend a parallel workshop.

The design studio, the hub of activity for the planning team, is open to the public throughout the charrette process and is located at the Family Resource Center, 2405 Jefferson Avenue.