Study reveals East Enders requests for redevelopment

By: Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - We now know what people who live in Richmond's East End want to see in their community.

Saturday morning, city leaders unveiled the results of a seven-day design study, in which neighbors sounded off on the revitalization of the area.

The goal is to transform the East End.

Taking it from a place of vacant lots, boarded up storefronts and littered sidewalks to an area focused on history and progress at the same time.

This preliminary design report is the result of seven days of meetings and more than 2,000 interviews.

Councilwoman Cynthia Newbille says East Enders needed to ask some very important questions.

"What should be here," she asked. "What would increase the vitality of the community? What would allow us to not just survive but to thrive and prosper?"

The answers: bring new businesses, homes and road improvements.

People here suggest creating hubs of sorts at the main intersections in the area.

A vacant lot at Nine Mile Road and 25th Street could become a town center, with a library, fountain or supermarket.

"We have a main grocery store in the community, but it's only one and for a community this size, I think we would be described as a food desert," she said.

Another suggestion, make the streets more pedestrian friendly.

For example, S Street is a major roadway with no sidewalks.

That recommendation is part of a larger plan to enhance East End roads.

"I think it's the most important thing to people that are just passing through that form an impression of our community," said resident Richard Waiton.

Now that there's a plan drafted with many options, the city wants more feedback on what the East End will ultimately become.

"There are many areas in which I see Richmond still having unfulfilled potential and the East End is such a large area within our city and there's so much opportunity," he said.

City leaders will be attending civic association meetings throughout September to get citizens' thoughts on the study results.

You can take a look at the entire plan here.

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