A meeting has been announced for mid-August on an alternative plan for the development of Shockoe Bottom. From the press release:
A Community Meeting to consider an Alternative Proposal for Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom is scheduled for 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15, at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, 1720 Mechanicsville Turnpike in Richmond’s East End. The meeting is being hosted by the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project of the Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality. If the Alternative Proposal is ratified at the Aug. 15 community meeting, it will be shared with Mayor Dwight Jones and members of Richmond City Council and then formally introduced to council at its next scheduled meeting, on Sept. 14. In the decades before the Civil War, Shockoe Bottom was the hub of the U.S. domestic slave trade. It is estimated that the majority of Black people in the country today could trace some ancestry to this area. The main feature of the Alternative Proposal is the creation of a Memorial Park to examine and commemorate Richmond’s central role in this trade. The park would include the present sites of the African Burial Ground and Lumpkin’s Jail, as well as several blocks east of the CSX railroad tracks, where slave jails, slave-trader offices and supporting service businesses were located. The proposal does not call for the displacement of any existing buildings and would not preclude economic development in the rest of Shockoe Bottom, compatible with the historic nature of the district. The Alternative Proposal is being developed through a community-based process with assistance from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the country’s leading preservation organization. More than 100 people attended four Community Brainstorming Sessions held in March to gather suggestions for what should be done with Shockoe Bottom. The National Trust then consolidated those suggestions into a three-page summary, which provided the basis for the proposal, now being developed by a working group drawn from community members who attended the brainstorming sessions. The proposal will be vetted by professionals from the fields of tourism development, economics, preservation and zoning before it is finalized for presentation to the Aug. 15 meeting. All are welcome and encouraged to attend the Aug. 15 meeting. Primary consideration will be given to views raised by members of the Black community. For more information, contact the Defenders at (804) 644-5834 or DefendersFJE@hotmail.com.