Date: March 21 – 24, 2006
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Sponsor: Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority
Chair: Alex J. Rose
Subject Area: Neighborhood Revitalization, Workforce and Affordable Housing
- How should the city capitalize on its assets and make the most of its community and economic development efforts?
- How should the city prioritize its planning and development efforts?
The panel was invited by the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) to assist in the redevelopment efforts for Jackson Place and North Jackson Ward. Jackson Place was viewed by the panel as needing a more immediate and tactical approach, while North Jackson Ward needed a more long term and strategic approach. But, the panel found the two dependent on each other for success and needed to be thought of and planned out as one.
The panel identified several development opportunities for both Jackson Place and North Jackson Ward that served the needs of Richmond residents and employees. For Jackson Place, the panel recommended a high-density concentration of new housing, along with new parking facilities. As residential occupancy grew, demand would also grow for conveniently located commercial offerings. In North Jackson Ward, the panel recommended the redevelopment of Gilpin Court and an ambitious plan to upgrade the Richmond public school system with the creation of a new magnet school. In both communities the panel proposed visual enhancements that included landscaping, improved hardscapes, more open areas, and interior/exterior upgrades. A very important part of the plan for success of these neighborhoods was the creation of a new street connection over highway 64 to allow better access between the two communities. These recommendations were dependent upon actions by the RRHA, the city of Richmond, and its citizens. Those groups would have to look at Jackson Ward and North Jackson Ward as one planning area (instead of two), create a pool of attractive affordable housing, and find a developer who could handle all of those projects. The panel believed that the changes, especially the introduction of new residents and increased residential density, would help define the rebirth of this vital and historic area.