Help Mayor’s New Alliance Shape Shockoe Bottom’s Future

April 11, 2019 by Erica Stewart

On April 15, 2019, the new group Mayor Stoney created to lead the design and implementation for Shockoe Bottom will hold its first community meeting. The public is invited to attend.

The Shockoe Alliance consists of City of Richmond staff, preservation experts, and community members. The group is tasked with ensuring a collaborative approach to reimagining Shockoe Bottom as an “innovative space [for] memorialization, learning, and transformation—all while protecting the area’s cultural and historic heritage.”

This is welcome news, as this vision complements our long-held support for the Shockoe Bottom Memorial Park plan—a collaborative, community-centered approach to balancing sensitive memorialization of the area’s difficult history with equitable economic development that especially benefits Richmond’s African American residents.

To further that end, monies from the National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund (AACHAF) were awarded to Preservation Virginia to convene a resource panel of experts and practitioners—with our partner, the Sacred Ground Project—to identify best practices in creating opportunities for equitable economic development and to consider their application to Shockoe Bottom.

The panelists, with expertise including community development, neighborhood revitalization, city planning, workforce development, sustainability, and design, met last week in Richmond to begin formulating ideas about how to best provide opportunities for education, training, and prosperity in a district that has long struggled economically.

Preservation Virginia is also using the Action Fund grant to commission Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for Urban and Regional Analysis to research the economic impacts of African American cultural heritage destinations nationally, and to quantify the economic benefits of transforming Shockoe Bottom into a memorial park. They will release the full report this summer and include focus groups with local residents, community leaders, and business owners.

On April 15, help us tell the Shockoe Alliance that the Shockoe Bottom Memorial Park plan, with its spaces for reflection, education, and equitable economic development, is a vital framework for reimagining this landscape.

Full meeting details:

When: April 15, 2019, 6:00 p.m.

Where: Main Street Station, 1500 E. Main Street, Richmond, VA

No registration needed. We hope to see you at the meeting!

Members of the Shockoe Bottom Resource Group

From the homes of icons such as Nina Simone and Pauli Murray, to Green Book sites like the A.G. Gaston Motel, join us in protecting and restoring places where significant African American history happened.

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