Richmond Developer Steps Up His Quest to Fight Street Craters in Manchester 

The city is starting to address the plethora of potholes in Manchester as mapped out by developer John Gregory.

John Gregory

The city is starting to address the plethora of potholes in Manchester as mapped out by developer John Gregory.

Watch out where you drive in Manchester. A developer of the quickly growing South Side area has measured, documented and mapped out a 55-acre area of the city in which 109 potholes are lurking.

John Gregory, a developer with Fountainhead Properties, says he’s sick of the street craters that plague the area — many of which surround Fountainhead’s projects. After multiple residents complained, he says he took matters into his own hands.

Gregory spent four hours documenting the potholes in the industrial and residential areas of Manchester off Hull Street.

Most of the potholes fall between Hull, Maury, Second and Seventh streets. In a plea for help, Gregory says he sent his map to City Councilwoman Ellen Robertson about two weeks ago with photos of a measuring tape spanning the gaping width of many of the potholes.

“The goal is to create sustainable change for the community, and to do that we’ve put a lot of work, money, and, well, love into the neighborhood,” Gregory says. “Not just Fountainhead, but everyone living and working here in Manchester. It can be frustrating to feel like we’ve all done our part, but still can’t get basic infrastructure.” 

He notes that Fountainhead has invested $100 million in multifamily residences and businesses in Manchester, including the Plant Zero Arts Center and Papa’s Pizza. Style also leases space in the area from Fountainhead.

Gregory and his father, Rick, one of the company’s partners, say that Robertson has been extremely responsive. They’ve asked that the worst of the potholes be filled by April 23, before the combined RVA Earth Day Festival and RVA Street Art Festival. Gregory says that he’s worried about the impression that thousands of attendees might have of the area.

A spokeswoman for the Public Works Department says that crews began filling potholes on Hull and Maury streets, Commerce Road and in areas along the river.

Robertson says that the department also is dealing with issues from falling behind on its leaf collection scheduled. She’s suggested that a work-force program operated by the Richmond Sheriff’s Office be used to collect leaves, freeing up city workers to focus on the potholes. The Public Works Department says the idea is under consideration.

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