Todd Waldo sent in this great write-up from the most recent North Church Hill Neighborhood Transformation public meeting from last week.
[Thursday’s] meeting was focused on two main things:
- Opportunities for community engagement
- Initial ideas for using Armstrong High School as part of the Creighton Court redevelopment
Opportunities for community engagements
There are three working groups being formed that will meet regularly: Housing working group, Neighborhood Working group and the People working group. I will be passing along the details on each group that were distributed tonight. (SEE BELOW/ATTACHED)
Armstrong High School
There was a lot of discussion of the initial design ideas and framework for the use of this space. Architects Torti Gallas and Partners is working with The Community Builders. Their presentation shared some values for the design for the entire transformation project:
- Mixed income, mixed housing types, mixed tenure (rental and home ownership )
- Consistent quality for all properties. No distinction between income levels
- One-for-one replacement units (about 500) for what is currently in Creighton Court
- Mix of housing types will include market rate, workforce and public housing
- Build first at Armstrong site before moving anyone out of Creighton.
- Honor the history of Armstrong
Lots of discussion about the design and how it fits into the neighborhood. The boundary of the redevelopment is still being determined, but it must include enough of the blighted areas to get the kind of funds needed to complete this scale of a project.
We talked about recreation space, density, access, traffic, retail and how the Armstrong location fits in the larger vision of the redevelopment. At the next meeting The Community Builders will be addressing the concerns about recreation and density as well as give a better idea of the boundary.
Cynthia Newbille was also there and encouraged us to get engaged and stay engaged.
From The Community Builders, Inc:
The Community Builders, Inc. partnered with VCU to develop an advocacy training program for 15 self-selected residents of Creighton Court who would like to be deeply involved in the transformation project. We want them to be their neighbors’ biggest advocates and hold us accountable. One of the tasks they volunteered to do was go around Creighton Court asking fellow residents if they had any pressing questions or concerns about redevelopment. This led to the attached FAQ.
Starting in August, we want to make these community engagement opportunities more frequent and in a more intimate atmosphere. Using HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative’s (a transformation grant opportunity) model, we are breaking the discussion into three parts: Housing (what should be the tenure, income mix, character of the homes in this redeveloped area), Neighborhoods (which types of amenities (e.g., grocery stores, banks) should we try to attract to this area and how could we do that), and People (how do we improve the long-term outcome of residents, especially public housing residents).
Orientation is in two weeks and official meetings will start in a month. We hope these discussions will be opportunities for Church Hill residents, Creighton Court residents, and experts in the field of housing, neighborhoods, and people to come together and think strategically and move towards helping us with a fleshed out transformation plan.
Handouts from the meeting: