Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mayor Jones Announces Gift to City for African Burial Ground Asphalt and Gravel Removal

Mayor Dwight C. Jones today announced that three contractors have joined forces to donate services to the City for the removal of the asphalt and gravel from Richmond's African Burial Ground.

J. E. Liesfeld Contractor, Inc., Dwight Snead Construction Company, and Ty's Hauling and Paving, Inc., have joined together to gift to the City the removal of the asphalt and gravel from the Burial Ground. The gift from the contractors represents $123,000 worth of work and is expected to commence later this month.

“It is extremely generous of these contractors to want to take this step to support the city’s effort to honor and preserve Richmond's African Burial Ground,” said Mayor Jones. “I want to thank the NAACP for its efforts and in particular Joe Liesfeld for his role in bringing these contractors together for this project and I am recommending that Richmond City Council approve the acceptance of this gift.”

The 3.4-acre parcel, currently owned by Virginia Commonwealth University, is being purchased by the state and is to be donated to the city of Richmond.

“Removal of the asphalt and gravel from Richmond's African Burial Ground is an important and long overdue step,” said King Salim Khalfani. "The NAACP is pleased to have played a part in ensuring that the City receives this property and that improvements are made.”

The Richmond Slave Trail Commission and the City in recent weeks unveiled historic markers along the route of the slave trail, which includes the Burial Ground. The trail spans from the Manchester Docks at the James River port to the notorious Lumpkin’s Slave Jail. The asphalt and gravel that is presently covering the Burial Ground and use of the area as a parking lot has met with much public dissension over the last several years.

“I really wanted to be a part of preserving this site and making it available to the public for viewing and reflection,” said Joe Liesfeld of J.E. Liesfeld Contractor, Inc. of Rockville, Virginia. "It is my privilege to offer the services of my company for this important endeavor." J.E. Liesfeld will be removing the gravel from the site.

“It’s important that Richmond reclaim this history and I’m pleased to be able to make this contribution to the effort,” said Dwight Snead, Sr., of Dwight Snead Construction Company of Richmond, Virginia. His company will be providing hauling services and helping with disposal of the gravel.

“I’m honored to make this contribution to the city and to be a part of this contracting team that is facilitating the improvement of this important historical site,” said Malcolm Thomas of Ty's Hauling and Paving, Inc, of Richmond, Virginia. Ty's Hauling and Paving will remove the asphalt and haul and dispose of the asphalt properly.

An ordinance is required to go before Richmond City Council authorizing acceptance of the gift to the City. The paper is expected to be submitted at the May 9th meeting of City Council and voted on at the May 23rd meeting.