Happy New Year!

Dear friends, 

We realize it's the end of January and we are just now wishing you well for 2023, but events are popping up and planning is underway. 

Our biggest news is that progress on the Shockoe Bottom Memorial Park, also known as part of the Richmond's Shockoe Small Area Plan (currently named) "Enslaved Africans Heritage Campus," is actually, finally moving rapidly. And while we keep our eyes on the goals stated in the very first Shockoe Bottom Alternative Proposal back in 2015 about governance, stewardship and who benefits, there is reason to cheer right now.

A total of $27 million, over five years, has been allocated to this project from the City of Richmond Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) budget.  A local Black, award-winning architect, has been hired to design the master plan for the entire area which could include everything from the Trail of Enslaved Africans south of the river in Manchester through the ten acres in Shockoe Bottom, Devil's Half Acre and African Burial Ground and on up the hill to the Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground. The idea is that these projects have been considered separate for too long, that organized coordination will be critical to success.

An initial master plan advisory group is being formed. An engineering firm has recently completed a comprehensive good plain/flood way analysis of Shockoe Bottom, the results and implications on construction locations will be released, hopefully, in February. With this most current information about what can and cannot be built (or even planted) in the Bottom, real plans can finally be designed and proposed. 

Separate funding, $11 million, has been secured by the city from the Mellon Foundation to establish a visitors center and Shockoe Bottom history interpretive center in the 29,000 square foot ground floor section of the Main Street Station Train Shed. While not finalized, it is likely the city will also assign this project to the Heritage Campus master plan team in keeping with the logic of coordination and to avoid redundancy of services. 

Questions? Please write is at sacredgroundproject@gmail.com.

NOTE: links to reports and sources referenced in this post will be added shortly.