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Re: “Blocking the Plate

Thomas, we already have a baseball diamond. It is located on the Boulevard.

12 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by heninga0bd on 04/03/2014 at 12:01 AM

Re: “Blocking the Plate

The archaeologist who excavated Lumpkin's jail site said that the site is protected well while it is still underground. All of the area is protected while it is still underground. We don't need to excavate at all to protect the history, but if we are going to excavate, we should do it for a worthy reason. That reason would be to expose the part of Richmond's history that we have buried, while we celebrate Civil War heroes all over the City. The slave trade was an integral part of Richmond's economy and wealth, and at the same time, Richmond is ground zero for many African Americans' ancestry within the U.S. This area should be a place of reconciliation, as well as a center for genealogy and research for African American families. This is a part of Richmond's history that is swept under the rug. If the area is developed, it should most definitely be devoted to completing Richmond's story.

It is in a flood zone, however, so any structure there must take into account that Shockoe Creek still runs underground there, and has historically been a source of catastrophe in the area. Proper measures to either bring the creek above ground again, with structure to contain it would be necessary. The City wants to put a stadium there to be a flood bowl, to protect the private development.

It is a bad idea.

People who want to preserve the history don't necessarily have an alternate plan, because Shockoe Creek and the drainage in the flood zone are so expensive to address. If we had unlimited funds, it would be wonderful to build a museum over the entire area, excavated, and under glass floors, so that the entire area could be navigated without damaging the old streets, foundations, pathways, drainage ditches, and other intricate construction that still exists there. Visitors would be able to walk the original area as it stood on a visceral level, while there could be exhibits to give visitors the history of the area, as well as providing genealogy and maybe even a DNA testing center, to allow for matching DNA with the areas of their homelands' ancestors.

The area could even be a living museum, since there is so much fill dirt, or "plow zone" there. It could be excavated over a long period of time, allowing students and interested citizens to be a part of the excavation. There is 10 to 15 feet of fill dirt over much of the area. Allowing citizens to participate in the excavation can spark interest as well as allowing people to have a "hands-on" experience, prompting multiple visits, as well as a vested interest in the area.

This area could be a unique experience for all Richmonders, and for tourists from all over the world, if conducted properly. It could be an active archaeological site for many years. In the end, it could be a world attraction for those who are seeking their identities. It can be a peaceful resting place for those who are interred adjacent to this land, and a space for all of us to come together as a City, to acknowledge all of our heritages.

This includes Native American heritage, which has also been documented in Shockoe Bottom. The blocks that are in question are the oldest platted lands in the City of Richmond, which was used frequently by Native Americans prior to English settlement. Are we willing to compromise all of this for a baseball field?

I hope that Richmonders will gather their senses--do their homework--before yee-hawing the plans for a stadium here. This is hallowed ground, resting in a fragile landscape. We should act together to treat it with care.

29 likes, 14 dislikes
Posted by heninga0bd on 04/01/2014 at 11:48 PM

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