RRHA previews major public housing projects

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Several multi-million projects will revitalize some Richmond communities. The goal is to leave crime and bad perceptions in the past, and paves the way for major changes in public housing.

The Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority or RRHA as it's commonly called took us on a tour of it's properties in the city. We learned today what's in store for Gilpin Court, the Old Richmond Armory, Overby Sheppard Elementary, and even the old GRTC site just east of Carytown.

NBC12 got on the bus this morning with RRHA Director Anthony Scott, to get a look at the changes coming to public housing in the city.

"A lot of the problems that occur in public housing communities, we believe, is largely because they're isolated from the rest of the city and we need to change that," said Scott.

In 2008 the RRHA tore down Dove Court turning the area into acres of prime real estate. The agency wants to turn it into a 400 unit housing community, a mix of homes and rentals, and move Overby Sheppard Elementary to the site of the old Richmond armory.

"That may include tearing the armory down completely, using the existing building or some combination thereof," Scott said.

The vision for Gilpin Court is a mix of homes, apartments, and even retail space. Historically, Gilpin is one of the city's toughest neighborhoods. It's the oldest housing project. The RRHA wants to dub it, North Jackson Ward. The agency is buying up vacant lots and rundown homes outside of Gilpin hoping to reconnect this area, divided by I-95 with the rest of the city.

"Where they can go outside and not have to be worried about the condition that they're walking in. Their children can play freely. They have economic opportunities. This is isolated. Isolation never works for a sustainable community," said Derek McDaniels, RRHA Community and Real Estate Developer.

The RRHA also helping the city with what's been deemed one of the most valuable undeveloped sites: the old GRTC headquarters on Cary Street.

The agency will act as a holding company until the city and community decides what should be built here.

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