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Macdonald Avenue Revitalization
June 17, 2003

The public is invited to attend an important Macdonald Avenue Revitalization workshop on Saturday, June 21st.  The Richmond Redevelopment Agency has begun a collaborative planning process to develop a community-driven strategy for revitalizing Macdonald Avenue, Richmond’s historic “Main Street.”

“The first workshop was well attended with over 100 people and we’re asking more people to participate in the planning efforts of our City,” said Mayor Irma L. Anderson.  “We have to continue the energetic dialogue and visioning that got under way last month. We really want the community to own this process because Macdonald Avenue belongs to everyone in Richmond.”

Ideas expressed at last month’s meeting included:  restoration and revival of the old architectural building style of the 40s, 50s and 60s; introduce a corridor connection such as a street trolley or light rail to connect Macdonald Avenue from the west to the east end; improve streetscape, revive old buildings of historic significance towards new and meaningful uses; and maximize current resources for youth development to extend citywide influence for youth opportunities.  The community expressed ideas and activities to stimulate economic vitality such as bringing in more retail and restaurants, having smart growth with new housing and affordable housing, cleaning up the blighted areas and redesigning the park.

The Richmond Redevelopment Agency is working with an appointed advisory committee that represents a wide cross section of the Richmond community.   Committee members include Judith Morgan, Richmond Chamber of Commerce; Renee Hill, Richmond Main Street; Mary Larson, Olson Company; David Tucker, BART; Yvette Radford, Kaiser Permenente; Laura Lockwood, Contra Costa County; Betty Reed Soskins, Representing the Honorable Lonie Hancock; Donna Graves, Arts and Cultural Planning; Kathleen Lang, Social Security Administration; John Monks, Atchinson Village Neighborhood Council; Linda Jackson Whitmore; Santa Fe Neighborhood Council; Sandi Genser-Maak, North and East Neighborhood Council;  Brian Carter, Richmore Village Neighborhood Council; Andre Shumake, Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council; Joe Fisher, Coronado Neighborhood Council; and City Council liaisons Gary Bell, Maria Viramontes, and Charles Belcher.

Community Workshop for Revitalizing Macdonald Avenue is scheduled for:

Saturday, June 21, 2003 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The Bermuda Room, Richmond Convention Center, 403 Civic Center Plaza (between 25th and 27th on Nevin Avenue)

Refreshments will be provided.  For more information contact Janet Johnson at (510) 307-8140.  Each meeting will provide an opportunity for the committee to update the community on this project and to gain ideas and suggestions for the revitalizing plan

Since it’s heyday during World War II, when workers from Richmond’s Kaiser shipyards filled the streets and sidewalks, Macdonald Avenue, has reflected the common patterns of American downtowns’.  Many businesses have struggled to maintain economic viability in a climate of shifting commercial development and shopping patterns.  The vital corridor that hosted scores of shops, restaurants, public services, and entertainment venues during World War II is still alive in the memories of many residents.   With the help of the community the revitalization project will make Macdonald Avenue vibrant in more than just the memories of residents.