The 2nd meeting of the ongoing North Church Hill Choice Neighborhoods process took place last Wednesday at Woodville Elementary School. About 100 people turned out for a 90-minute information session.
Zachary Reid wrote about the meeting for the Times Dispatch, and describes the main issue behind the push for redevelopment and a key to making this work:
“It’s almost the tale of two cities,” Mayor Dwight C. Jones said recently in his office in City Hall. “You see all this excitement in downtown Richmond, but just a few miles away you have concentrated poverty to levels that are just unacceptable. Something has to be done.”
That slice of the East End offers something developers will need, though: access to a large piece of land on which to begin.
The campus of Armstrong High, vacant since its program was merged into the Kennedy High building in 2004, is a likely spot for the first homes. Building there would mean construction could begin before demolition at the nearby Creighton Court, so no one would be displaced.
It would also open the possibility for what officials see as a key component to the whole plan: attracting people willing to pay market rate for homes alongside others that are subsidized.
The planning process is expected to last 12-18 months, and to produce a document outlining a vision of how the Church Hill North and Creighton Court communities can be transformed into thriving, healthy communities. The planning area includes the northern edge of Church Hill North, Fairmount, Woodville, and the Creighton Court area, though in conversation Fairfield Court, Mosby Court, and the Whitcomb have been included as well. At the end of the planning process, the project should then be competitive towards winning a $30,000,000 HUD-funded Choice Neighborhoods implementation grant to put the plan to reality.
A draft copy of the Preliminary Existing Conditions Analysis was distributed at the meeting, which is included below: