Volunteers working to beautify Boulevard corridor

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email | facebook
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Boulevard is an important gateway into the city and all it has to offer; things like the diamond, and organizers of an event today want to make sure that people traveling through the area see something clean and beautiful.

With a round of applause and a quick breakdown of the tasks at hand, dozens of volunteers, mostly from Altria, spent the day beautifying the Boulevard.  From painting murals that will hang on the exit 78 bridge, to picking up trash and planting trees, this day long project was about stimulating positive change.

"It's all part of changing people's behaviors," said Mike Baum with Keep Virginia Beautiful. "People want to live in a clean, attractive place.  People really want their own community to be clean, and I think people really take heart in that."

Organizers hope this event will be one of many around the city, but it made good sense to start with the Boulevard.

"Being one of the entranceways to the city, this is a great opportunity. We obviously have a big event in town at the museum, and it's almost baseball season, so we'll have the Flying Squirrels, so a lot of folks obviously use that entrance," he said.

A spokesperson for Altria says the company believes it's important to do service in the place you call home, plus, it's good for business.

"To attract and retain employees and their families and to make sure this is a place where people want to come and work, but also want to come and live and play and grow," said Ken Garcia with Altria.

City leaders are hoping for the same thing.  The Boulevard, particularly the Diamond, has been a hot topic and this project could mean a lot to potential investors.

"Help create vibrancy and a sense of spirit and momentum, and they make people look at the area in a different way, so cleaning and greening areas is a first step in revitalization," said Byron Marshall, the city's Chief Administrative Officer.

Now once the mural is complete, it will be put up under the bridge right off exit 78, but it's removable, so the city will be able to take it down if any construction projects come up.

This project was also in line with Major Dwight Jones' new Neighbor to Neighbor Initiative, which encourages people to get more involved in their communities.

Keep Virginia Beautiful says other sites on the radar include Broad Street downtown and Cary Street in Carytown.

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