RICHMOND, Va. — Nearly 70 years ago, city leaders voted to build Interstate 95 and Interstate 64 through the historic black neighborhood of Jackson Ward in Richmond, Virginia. The freeways have divided the neighborhood and disrupted entire businesses and lives.
Richmond city officials are now looking to make amends and reconnect the historic Jackson Ward.
The city has scheduled a third community meeting on the Reconnect Jackson Ward Feasibility Study between 6 and 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Hippodrome Theater on North 2nd Street.
Proposed plans include a block-sized bridge deck on Interstates 95 and 64 to reconnect Jackson Ward and Gilpin Court. The bridge is similar to the Kanawha Plaza over the downtown freeway.
The freeways divided the neighborhood once known as Black Wall Street and South Harlem when it was built in the 1950s.
Report of Richmond magazine Revealed engineers at the time did not want to disrupt the suburbs, but instead razed the neighborhood filled mostly with blacks and browns. The purpose of the interstate system was to connect major US cities.
The highway took up 180 acres of city-owned land and 210 acres of private land that included more than 700 homes and businesses, according to the report.
NEW THIS AM ON @CBS6: Once called the Harlem of the South, Jackson Ward and Gilpin Court may soon be reconnected with a block-sized bridge deck. Highways 95/64 essentially cut the thriving historic black neighborhood in half in the 1950s pic.twitter.com/Gz9ZBaxRUH
— Brendan King CBS 6 (@ImBrendanKing) June 29, 2022
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