Coming Together for a Revitalized Community
Richmond Mayor Jones and Bon Secours Present East End Vision Progress
Healthier, more vibrant Church Hill/Nine Mile Road Corridor is well under way
Hundreds of Church Hill and East End residents gathered today – one year later - for a progress update on initiatives outlined last year during the city’s East End Vision charrette, www.eastendvision.org.
The initiative started in June of 2010 with a week-long planning session organized by the City of Richmond, Bon Secours Richmond Health System and the Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority (RHHA). The resulting plan, focused on the city’s Nine Mile Road corridor, Church Hill and 25th Street, was designed to make the areas more desirable for residents, businesses and the community as a whole.
"Since last year's meetings, the city has worked with residents, Bon Secours Richmond Community Hospital, RRHA and other key stakeholders in developing and implementing several key strategies based on the recommendations that were brought forth during the charrette," said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. "Today's meeting allowed us to celebrate infrastructure improvements and the reduction of vacant houses in the area, and to detail our plans for future improvements that include developing greater resources in the area, and future business growth in this community. It is important for residents to know that their city government is involved as we work to grow our city by design and not by default!"
The master transformation plan was completed in February by Duany Plater-Zyberk (DPZ), the firm who conducted the 2010 charrette. DPZ is known internationally as a leading proponent of traditional town planning and New Urbanism. The charrette team worked with city officials, health and housing experts, residents, local business leaders, community organizations, nonprofit groups and churches to gather information for its final recommendations.
The master transformational plan is designed to take place over a number of years, and the neighborhood has witnessed significant progress including revitalization of blighted residential areas, modernization of Creighton Court and area-wide sidewalk and landscaping improvements.
Other progress includes secured funding through a federal Community Development Block Grant, Home Investment Partnership funds and federal Neighborhood Stabilization funds allocated by the City of Richmond for affordable housing development and acquisition of vacant and blighted property.
In addition, economic development opportunities are being enhanced by two Bon Secours initiatives. In April the health system announced its commitment of $50,000 in renewable funding to be awarded to promising East End entrepreneurs through an annual business plan competition. The funding is part of the health system's partnership with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) in creation of the Supporting East End Entrepreneurship Development (SEED) awards program, and designed to foster and engage job and business creation.
Also in April, Bon Secours' national office committed $300,000 to Virginia Community Capital's Micro-Enterprise Capital Support Program, a program which will provide capital to micro-enterprise providers to support micro-loan activities for small businesses in economically distressed communities.
"Bon Secours Richmond Community Hospital is an anchor in this community, not only for health care, but community wellness overall," said Peter J. Bernard, CEO of Bon Secours Virginia Health System. "As we look to build healthier communities, we must look beyond traditional health care, and treat the educational, economic and social issues that impact the wellness of the community as a whole."
Bon Secours, in partnership with the RRHA, the city of Richmond and the City Health Department, also has developed a Creighton Court Resource Center, which includes clinical care and wellness resources. The health system also has developed community programs aimed at decreasing the incidence of childhood obesity and increasing cardiac wellness among residents, and has expanded its women’s and behavioral health programs.
"There is still much to accomplish in this community," said Bernard. "We have a great team in place and look forward to continued progress. I encourage the residents of this community to stay involved. An engaged community will lead to a successful outcome."
Recognition for the East End Vision effort recently came from the Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA), which awarded the City of Richmond the 2011 Chapter Planning Award for Public Outreach and Engagement for its efforts surrounding the East End Vision Charrette. The award will be presented in July at the AP's annual conference at Wintergreen.
View the Documentary
In the summer of 2010, residents of Church Hill and Richmond's East End met with planners, government officials, corporate leaders and human service organizations to craft a vision for revitalizing a once-vibrant commercial corridor.
This 13 minute documentary explains the "charette" process, provides historical perspective and shares the personal opinions of people who live and work in the community. It was produced by Church Hill Photograpy.
- Check out what has been accomplished! Click here.