This fall, we’ve reached an exciting milestone. We’re about to wrap up the planning phase! Already, we’re looking forward to what comes next: putting the Jackson Ward Community Plan into action.
Draft plan being revised for November submission
On May 19, we submitted the draft plan to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and posted it online for feedback. Over the following months, residents and stakeholders submitted their comments and suggestions.
The open comment period ended August 27. The planning team is now busy making edits based on feedback from the community, as well as from HUD. They will submit the revised, final Jackson Ward Community Plan in November. Then it’s on to implementation!
Splash pad and plaza on track for spring completion
The construction of the splash pad and plaza are on track to be completed by late spring 2024. The project’s design and construction permit plans were recently approved by the City. They are currently going through procurement before the plans go out to bid to find contractors to build the project.
The plans include a new splash pad between the basketball courts and open field at the Calhoun Recreation Area. The new plaza will also include a shade structure, seating, and new landscape.
The site will feature an opportunity to commemorate neighborhood community makers on bronze plaques that will be installed into the plaza walkway. Do you know community members who have made a difference in your neighborhood? Share your ideas at the Jackson Ward Community Plan final celebration on October 12!
August focus groups raised key issues surrounding safety and services
We held five virtual focus groups in August, revolving around the themes of safety, education, workforce and business development, tourism, health, and land use. During the meetings, stakeholders and residents of Gilpin Court and Jackson Ward shared insight and feedback on the draft plan.
Attendees raised and discussed many ideas during the meetings, including:
- Safety should be a main feature in the design of Gilpin’s redevelopment
- Residents should have improved access to services like mental health care and workforce development
- There should be a “hub,” a one-stop destination to receive resources from the multiple partners offering services in the community
Resident ambassadors make sure resident voices are heard
The Gilpin Informed Residents (GIR) is a small but mighty group of passionate Gilpin Court residents who are building relationships, shaping plans, and making sure resident voices are heard every step of the way during the Jackson Ward community planning efforts.
We thank Kiara Harris, Stephanie Robertson, Dreame Boyd, and Autumn Doswell for their dedication to their community.
This summer, the GIRs focused on two main objectives.
First, they have been active in the revisions of the community plan. They are taking their lived experiences in Gilpin Court and everything they are hearing from their neighbors and applying it to the wording of the plan. Throughout the process, they have been emphasizing the need to think about current residents. They have been stressing crime prevention. They have been advocating hiring local people as much as possible. And they have been pushing to create and realize brighter vision for their neighbors.
Second, and perhaps even more importantly, they are constantly talking with and listening to their neighbors. They have been setting up communication tables in the neighborhood to hear folks’ concerns and share the latest details of the planning process, as well as talking informally with their neighbors about the community and the future.
The GIRs will continue to be active in the community during the implementation phase. If you you’d like to connect with them, please contact:
- Tanya Simms, Resource Center, Tanya.Simms@vdh.virginia.gov
- Stephanie Robertson, GIR, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kiara Harris, GIR, email@example.com
- Dreame Boyd, GIR, firstname.lastname@example.org
USI joins the planning team
In June 2023, Urban Strategies Inc (USI) joined the Jackson Ward Community Plan team. USI is a leader in equity and data-driven solutions for families in neighborhoods undergoing redevelopment. It has worked with communities across the nation, including ones in Norfolk and Newport News. In its partnership with RRHA and the City of Richmond, it will help support equitable and collaborative decision-making focused on the success of Gilpin households.
In October, members of the team will visit to conduct in-person community and partner meetings. They will be working alongside us to update and submit the Richmond Housing Authority’s CNI Transformation plan to HUD in November. Afterward, they will continue to build the partner network and resident engagement support until March 2024.
Come to our community celebration
Celebrate the completion of the Jackson Ward Community Plan and all the accomplishments achieved during the last 18 months!
Enjoy fun for the whole family, including a DJ, free food from food trucks, games, and a bounce house. Information stations will include social, mental, wellness, and other resources available to the community. View event page