Investing in Future of Chamberlayne 

Many thanks to Edwin Slipek Jr. for his insightful article (“Damage Control,” Arts & Culture, March 10). The historical contexts he cites regarding Chamberlayne Avenue's architectural history and the subsequent challenges indicate the depths of his concern for the integrity of the fabric of our shared community.

In addition to the solutions he's proposed, I'd like to make the following recommendations. Rather than merely suggest that institutional property owners invest their properties with aesthetics that are in sync with the local landscaping traditions, let's give them tax incentives for doing so. It's always best to actively encourage people to do what's right, as opposed to simply hoping they will. Local preservation groups should also make a point of presenting annual awards, with attendant media coverage, for commercial enterprises that invest in historically correct visual choices.

Let's also establish a Chamberlayne Avenue historic garden club, charged with planning and maintaining the median. Following the pattern established by the historic tree list of the nonprofit group American Forests, descendants of locally significant trees and other plantings can be used to enhance both the educational value and visual appeal of this vital resource. The group can also be entrusted with the periodic required pruning.

Ultimately, the future of our neighborhoods depends on engaging the widest assortment of people and assuring that their contributions are acknowledged, appreciated and valued.

Kenneth C. Decker
Richmond

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