Richmond Master Plan…or…We can make a fancy book and so can you!

27 11 2007

This week the City of Richmond released their draft of the Downtown Master Plan.  The lengthy description covers things like transportation, housing, recreation and the like.

A lot of items in the plan are good…some are questionable, but okay we’ll go along…and others…well, we’ll see.

I have no idea if turning one way streets to two way streets is even worth the effort.  There are those who know better than I.  Planting trees and improving the street-scape will never hurt.  I love the idea of bringing back the streetcar.  I’d use it. 

The plan calls for Mayo’s Island to become a park and incorporated into the James River Park System.  This would be awesome, and perhaps better than developing it.  Development is probably not likely due to it being in the middle of the river beyond the protection of the flood wall. 

Magnificent renderings of downtown scenes are featured in this book:

Marshall Street

Above: The Future of Marshall Street?  Why not?

Below: The renewal of Hull Street in Manchester, which is now considered “downtown”…

Hull Street

 Two items that struck me…

One: the desire of the city to have a signature building at the northern end of the Manchester Bridge (see below):

manchesterbridgejpg.png

 …and secondly…

usszuni.jpg

This is most interesting to me.  Apparently there’s a movement (unknown how intense and/or serious) to have the USS Zuni, a World War II vessel, to dock at Richmond as a permanent fixture downtown.  This would be tremendous, awesome and fantastic all at the same time.

Bottom line…

Any and all parts of this would not hurt the city.  But would it be good for the city?  Perhaps.  I have been very optimistic about the city’s future…in spite of itself.  Richmond is a unique place in this nation.  Faced with the same challenges as any other comparable city, we seem to have a slightly different spirit than most.  It is difficult to explain.

The City really needs to embrace its history while at the same time focus on its future.  The opportunities are endless if those in charge can figure out this balance. 

 I wish this plan well and hope that the ones who will implement it will have success.

I’m hopeful.

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