City gets a million to fix up area near slave burial site

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The asphalt may be gone, but more construction is coming to the area around Richmond's slave burial ground. The city's getting a million dollars from the Commonwealth Transportation Board to fix up the pathways leading up to the site.

The city recently added this project to its wish list and the board ponied up the money. $1,077,000 to make the area directly next to the burial ground in Shockoe Bottom, more inviting.

The asphalt is gone... dirt fill is being spread in its place.

Richmond's African burial ground is awaiting its next phase, but as the community decides what to do with this site, the city's begun preparing the area around it.

"Right now, it's a little difficult to figure out where it is and how to get there, and some of the spaces are not as nice as they should be to attract visitors from the city as well as from out of the city," said Mayor Dwight Jones.

The city asked for and just found out it got a little over a million dollars to beautify Broad Street from 12th, down to the burial ground. Work will also be done to fix up the old bridge and tunnel leading directly to the site.

"We'll have ornamental lights, ADA access. The curbing and streets will look very inviting. So, that people who are interested in going to the burial ground will kind of have an invitation," said Jones.

An invitation to whatever the future holds here. The mayor says its no secret he'd like to see a museum in this area. The work around the burial ground is expected to magnify the site, making it more of an attraction and easier for people to walk to, eventually increasing tourism here.

"By improving the access to it I think we do that," added Jones.

Construction is expected to begin later this year. The city will get a total of $119 million from the transportation board over the next 6 years.

The money will also be used on Forest Hill Avenue and Jahnke Road improvements, as well as designated bike lanes throughout the city.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.