A Botanical Makeover of the RVA Arts District

The RVA Arts District just got a makeover—a botanical makeover, that is. The RVA Arts District Beautification Plan has successfully revamped the Broad Street gateway and the 400 block of E. Grace Street thanks to the efforts of Capital One, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Venture Richmond, and the City of Richmond.

“This project says ‘you are valued’ to those who live and work in Richmond,” says Frank Robinson, president and CEO of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. “It’s a lesson we learned this past January when the Garden brought noted New York City urban design consultant Lynden Miller to town—civic pride increases when public green spaces are transformed.”

The planting designs, which were created by Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, included 49 planters, 526 bags of mulch, 460+ bags of soil, and 1,200+ plants. Locally-owned Colesville Nursery was the source for all of the plants that trans- formed a total of 13 blocks.

To make RVA’s latest makeover possible, Venture Richmond invested over
$100,000 in the beautification of the Arts District, which has been dramatically leveraged by numerous partner- ships and the willingness of the suppliers to sell products at wholesale prices. The development of the RVA Arts District Beautification Plan also involved Venture Richmond working closely with multiple City departments and local businesses. Capital One, for example, provided several hundred volunteers to help with planting and installation.

“As the region’s largest private employer, we’re proud to invest in both the future of our community and the local businesses who line the corridor,” explains Steve Gannon, executive vice president and deputy general counsel at Capital One.

“The Broad Street downtown corridor is the arts and cultural hub of Richmond and this botanical makeover is a welcomed enhancement to this very important corridor,” says Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “I’m so thankful to those that have worked in partnership to beautify this area and am especially grateful to Venture Richmond for their leadership, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden for their expertise, and to Capital One for the hundreds of volunteers committed to this project. This type of collaborative effort is precisely how we will build a better Richmond.”

A critically important part of the project is the ongoing maintenance and Venture Richmond has made a commitment to maintain the landscaping at a high, botanical garden standard. Venture Richmond has partnered with The Kleane Kare Team, Inc., who is partnering with Snead Associates, P. C., both minority-owned companies, to provide ongoing maintenance and watering, as well as to be responsible for replacing any damaged plants and planters.

“We are very excited about our partnership with Kleane Kare and their partnership with CARITAS and The Healing Place,” says Jack Barry, executive director of Venture Richmond. “They will hire people in the Recovery Program, who have been homeless due to their addictions, and who are working part-time as part of their reintroduction into the workforce.” Barry says that the partnership will also provide an opportunity to train participants in another set of skills, landscape maintenance.

A major new initiative for Venture Richmond, the beautification project has already changed the face of Broad St. and is positioned to become a catalyst for additional botanical makeovers on W. Broad St. and the interstate gateways.

CategoriesCollaborators, Community Builders, General, News, WorkTagged
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