City's East End gets a $350,000 boost

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Hundreds of thousands of dollars is headed to Richmond's East End. After a dozen meetings and drafts of a plan, a major gateway into Richmond finally has the money it needs to start a transformation.

Two divisions of Bon Secours are donating $350,000 total to this area of the city, hoping to grow new businesses and development. It's a neighborhood in most need of a turn around. The impoverished East End is filled with abandoned business, boarded up homes. Which is why the city rounded up citizens last may and developed a plan for change.

Citizens came up with suggestions like turning key intersections into hubs of activity, creating a meeting area at 25th and Nine Mile, filling up the vacant lots and making the streets walkable again.

But change and a new vision needs money.

The owners of Richmond community hospital have donated $50,000 for promising East End entrepreneurs to develop new businesses.

Michael Robinson is the CEO of three hospitals in the Bon Secours system.

"I think the investment here is to revitalize this community and to really recognize bringing people to wholeness means really also bringing the community back to a strong sense of vibrancy," he said.

Bon Secours Community Health System is putting up another $300,000 for three year low interest loans.

"Help them to develop business plans. Lead them through some intensive training and help them ultimately to get a loan to realize a dream of starting their very own business," said Jane Henderson, the president of Virginia Community Capital. That's the company that will handle the loans.

The first steps in a long transformation.

"These resources will help us in terms of developing the corridor, but the thing that's also exciting. It will support and nurture small businesses minority women and other small businesses in the community," said council woman Cynthia Newbille.

More details on how to apply for these loans will be released on June 21st at the Robinson Theater, on the one year anniversary of this entire process.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.