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Church Hill North Better Block is going to be kind of amazing

Richmond’s first Better Block Project in Church Hill North kicks off at 5:00 PM on Friday, June 13 and runs through 3:00 PM on Saturday, June 14, and will temporarily transform a city block into a walkable, bikeable, vibrant place for people to gather, shop, eat, and socialize.



East End Economic Summit
Robinson Theater Community Arts Center (2903 Q Street)
3:00 – 5:00 PM

Organized by Bon Secours Richmond Health System, the East End Economic Summit is a progress update about East End economic development and revitalization.

Along with Bon Secours Richmond Health System, the City of Richmond, the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority, The Community Builders, Capital One, Mayor Dwight Jones and Richmond City Councilwoman Cynthia Newbille will participate. Jason Roberts, founder of The Better Block, will deliver the keynote address, ‘What is our Urban Legacy?’

Additional speakers include:

  • Dwight C. Jones, Mayor, City of Richmond
  • Cynthia Newbille, Councilwoman, 7th District, Richmond City Council
  • Peter J. Bernard, CEO, Bon Secours Virginia Health System
  • Adrienne Goolsby, CEO, Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority
  • Bart Mitchell, CEO, The Community Builders
  • Steve Gannon, Central Virginia Market President, Capital One

Church Hill North Better Block Project Launch Party
5:00 – 9:00 PM

Friday’s festivities will include:

  • Food truck court featuring local vendors and the Bon Secours Class-A-Roll mobile kitchen
  • Street performers from The Great Busk at the temporary outdoor theater at N. 25th St. and Venable St.
  • Pop-up shops along the 1000 block of N. 25th Street, and farmers market plazas with vendors at N. 25th Street and P Street, and N. 25th Street and Carrington Street
  • Enhanced streetscapes including parklets, new temporary crosswalks and bike lanes, and outdoor public gathering spaces
  • Public paintings, murals, and other art installations throughout the Better Block area provided by local artists, including Hamilton Glass, James Thornhill, and Ben Larsen.
  • Public showing of Disney’s animated hit movie Frozen at N. 25th Street and Nine Mile Road (8:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.)



Church Hill North Better Block Project Day 2
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Saturday’s festivities will include:

  • 9:00 a.m.: Inaugural Better Block 5k – intersection of N. 25th Street and P Street (walk-up registration begins at 7:30 a.m.)
  • Food truck court
  • 10:00 a.m.: Partnership for Smarter Growth Community Walk and Talk along N. 25th Street (begins at East End Public Library, 1200 N. 25th Street)
  • Musical performances by local artists No BS! Brass Band (10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.) and Chkn Grese (1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m.) at the outdoor stage at N. 25th Street and Venable Street
  • Pop-up shops along the 1000 block of N. 25th Street, and farmers market plazas with vendors at N. 25th Street and P Street, and N. 25th Street and Carrington Street
  • Enhanced streetscapes including parklets, new temporary crosswalks and bike lanes, and outdoor public gathering spaces
  • Public paintings, murals, and other art installations throughout the Better Block area provided by local artists, including Hamilton Glass, James Thornhill, and Ben Larsen.

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 7.55.58 AM


Gretta 06/10/2014 at 11:07 AM

I’m sorry, I still don’t get it. It ALREADY is a walkable place for people to gather, shop, eat, and socialize. Just now for different people? Or just more people, including all the people who hang out there already?

John M 06/10/2014 at 12:27 PM

In addition to and including is the goal. It’s an area that’s half-vacant and underutilized. I’d love to see that area be a lively common ground for the whole neighborhood.

Next Friend 06/10/2014 at 2:41 PM

Anyone indignant about this good project has no idea what exactly normally goes on around 25th and Venable.

Houdon 06/10/2014 at 2:47 PM

I wonder if anyone has engaged Virginia ABC?

Eva 06/10/2014 at 9:06 PM

Is no one realizing what an effing trick pony show this is for the city council, Bon Secours, and our Grand Master Dwight Jones? “Oh, hey Church Hill.. Sorry we tried to put a baseball stadium in your backyard. Here’s a nice little festival to forget all that. Sponsored by the wonderful Bon Secours who we paid come play in our city for two weeks a year. And here’s the food trucks we’re making pay more money to park kind of near said training camp if they want to be part of that deal. And IF somehow you’re available to come see the mayor speak at 3pm on a Friday, feel free to give him a high five. Yay, Frozen!”

Eva 06/10/2014 at 9:14 PM

And maybe instead of using all this money to show us for 24 hours what our neighborhood COULD look like, why not actually put it INTO the neighborhood. Permanently. I know a few nice potholes that could be filled with nickels. Or quarters. Or maybe with some commemorative bricks they’re trying to make us buy to make the training camp even more pretty.

Nearby neighbor 06/11/2014 at 4:32 PM

In my opinion this is the sketchiest location in Church Hill south of Fairmount and Nine Mile. I was suspicious about this project at first as well but am now very excited. This area is covered with abandoned and under utilized structures. It is going to take private investment, huge vision and huge capital risk to bring investment into the abandoned buildings. I don’t think the City has the cash to fix all of the broken components to this City so I appreciate this project because I think it could inspire people to think bigger and dream a little bit. I think maybe this event also serves to connect the many talented people in our community that would inevitably need to come together to transform these vacant structures and under utilized spaces. I look forward to seeing some new faces and some old, as well as the dreamers, the movers and shakers, skeptics and complainers.

Juliellen 06/11/2014 at 6:28 PM

The Better Block program is a catalyst for permanent change. It cuts through all the time and development process to basically mock-up what the area could be, to breathe life into it for a few days and to spark people’s imaginations and reveal the area’s potential. Lots of good ideas come from Better Block projects, and I’m looking forward to the ideas and enthusiasm generated this weekend.

crd 06/11/2014 at 7:09 PM

@15 Julia, aren’t you being a tad bit strong in your post? I found #16, Juliellen’s, to be more persuasive…. it is my understanding that the folks behind the Better Block projects have a national movement. Also, I actually understand Eva’s concerns. If it was just the city behind this, I’d be much more cynical.

Eva 06/11/2014 at 7:09 PM

My bad. I have no idea what I’m talking about. I must have blacked out.

urbngrilla 06/12/2014 at 9:50 AM

Isn’t BonSecours funding the CHNorth Better Block project?

The BB folks are getting paid to lead this effort (granted, none of them are getting rich off this project–and Sports Backers is also getting funding to cover their involvement, too.)

As we all know, BonSecours has a track record of providing grants to businesses in the East End. They are the catalyst and funding sources of the recent East End, 25th and 9 Mile, revitalization efforts.

Remember all those urban planners who spent a couple weeks here in 2010? BSHS paid for all of that.

While I think most of us would consider BSHS to be a “good neighbor”, they are doing all of this for a reason: they want the city to hand over land adjacent to the Community Hospital on 9-Mile Rd and allow them to close 28th & 27th Streets to create a larger medical complex .

By acting as a de-facto “economic development” agency for the East End, BSHS hopes to get what it wants from the City of Richmond.

I have mixed feelings about BSHS efforts in the East End. I believe the individuals involved are good people, who work hard and are doing what they believe is the best thing for our/their community.

It’s naive for me to think BSHS is doing this work without a larger, more long-term motive: land & street closings in Church Hill.

Next Friend 06/12/2014 at 1:27 PM

urbngrilla: it is naive of you but not for the reason you think. Bon Secours is a non-profit mission. To all of your big reveals: even if true, so what? They are a non-profit.

Nearby neighbor 06/12/2014 at 2:19 PM

Big businesses are in business to make money. Not sure why that is so frowned upon. Many of them make money at the expense of others. I really appreciate any business that seeks to serve the community well while making their money. Sounds like a good neighbor to me.

urbngrilla 06/12/2014 at 2:41 PM

Just because an organization is a non-profit or not-for-profit doesn’t mean one can’t question their motives.

American Crossroads is a non-profit. Do I question their motives, Hell yeah.

Ask me to choose? I’ll take BonSecours over American Crossroads any day. Easy choice since BSHS supports Medicaid expansion in Virginia.

Please know that my post #18 tries to convey that this is a gray area. While I’ll still choose BSHS for most of my healthcare needs, I do so with eyes open.

There is a reason why BSHS is doing this “extra work” in the east end. They want something from the city.

Is their investment in the community worth the land and street closings? Maybe. Shouldn’t we, as a community decide that?

Altruism aside, let’s not pretend there isn’t a greater expectation on BSHS’s part.

Next Friend 06/12/2014 at 3:57 PM

Spare us, urbngrilla. You, unlike everyone else in the entire east end, must not be going to the dozens of public meetings and engagements where BSHS actually engages and has transparently laid out its plans. They want to help the community so the community is comfortable with them expanding to provide desperately needed health services and you are going to call conspiracy? Frankly, BSHS blows every other actor in Richmond away in terms of considerate engagement and thoughtful, transparent process. Find another target to bully.

urbngrilla 06/12/2014 at 4:26 PM

FYI, I attended the Better Block kick-off mtg @ the Robinson Theatre and will be participating in tonight’s pre-build workshop along with the build-out session tomorrow evening.

Being part of the process doesn’t preclude the questioning of authority.

Bon Sec Guy 06/12/2014 at 8:20 PM


This is in response to your comment:
“Is their investment in the community worth the land and street closings? Maybe. Shouldn’t we, as a community decide that?”

Heck yea Bon Secours to doing stuff for the city and community, and yes it is most combined with deals to expand.

But who has a better idea for that block across from the hospital, which previously held drug dealers and prostitution rings? Do you think HCA is going to put a hospital in the middle of Mosby and Creighton court? Is HCA going to build a hospital near active crack houses, in the middle of one of the most poverty stricken areas of the city? Nope. Bon Secours’ mission is “FOR GOOD HELP”. They help this community tremendously, when no one else will. They look after a group of people that most people or organizations have no interest in. How profitable do you think Richmond Community is?

How profitable do you think expanding the hospital will be? What percentage of the population that goes to Richmond Community has uninsured and or is on Medicaid?

Who in the community would really have a problem with the expansion? The heroine addicts and prostitutes?

What is your motives for attending the better the block meeting? To make yourself look better to your peers? Are you doing this so you can you helped “the black people”, and showed them that the white people could make their block better for 1.5 days? I really question your motives of questioning a great hospital system. I really question your motives for attending the “better the block”.

John M 06/13/2014 at 1:42 PM

Frozen will be at the Robinson because of the chance of rain

katzenjaammer 06/14/2014 at 9:54 AM

@#24- I was really with you until you got racist. Why did you have to go there? You were making your point most eloquently, and ruined it.

I actually was going to get involved, but now I don’t want to.


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