Whether you have lived in RVA your whole life or are one of the many newcomers who join us every Fall, it doesn’t take long to see how much history surrounds our daily lives. From the towering statues of Monument Avenue and the converted warehouses of Shockoe Valley, to the sprawling newness of Short Pump’s latest offerings, Richmond and it’s nearby counties beautifully straddle the old and the new. As much as it seems to be overlooked, the Hull Street Corridor also stands an oft-neglected testament to our city’s ever-changing momentum.
The Hull Street Corridor (as defined by the map above) finds its roots in Richmond’s bountiful post-WWII expansion. Spawned from the industrial and commercial infrastructure of the city’s southern river-bank, the area truly started to grow as citizens and businesses took advantage of the golden opportunity that the then-new notion of “suburbia” provided. As populations increased throughout the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, more and more roads like Chippenham Parkway and shopping centers like Southside Plaza were created to service the area’s growing community. This created an area that, despite being only a few minute drive from downtown, was quickly becoming a region with its own unique identity. Sadly, but perhaps naturally, the area started to lose its sense of development appeal as the city started to expand westward, leaving behind a radically underrepresented set of people, values, and opportunity. As the ‘90s and 2000’s rolled on, the area became home to a growing artistic community, a considerable Hispanic, African-American and Asian population, and a slew of small businesses, churches, and community services.
As we enter the second-decade of the 21st century, however, the City of Richmond, Chesterfield County and Virginia Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) are working to give the area the revitalization it deserves. Initiated as a federally-funded joint venture between the city, Chesterfield County, and LISC, the Hull Street 360 project was launched to “recommend a range of improvements aimed at enhancing the safety, appearance, economic potential and community-serving uses along Hull Street Road.” These improvements could potentially include safer walking and bicycling choices, expanded transit options, beautification efforts, business opportunities, and many more forward-thinking efforts. In an effort to bring together the region’s diverse groups under these causes, Hull Street 360 is hosting an open community-forum/free dinner at Ramsey Memorial Church (which happens to be one of the oldest buildings in the area and seen below in the 1940′s) at 6 p.m. on October 23rd to discuss the scope of the project. Anyone is welcome to attend and participation is more than encouraged. In fact, transportation will be provided to anyone who calls 804 358-7602 by noon on Oct. 19th for advance arrangements. Families are welcome.
As our city continues to grow in the light of our own history, it’s time to put Hull Street back on the map as both a testament to the past and an emblem of our future. See you on the 23rd!
Thanks to Coldon Martin who submitted this post.