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4/22/11

Deltaville, Devastation, And Let's Dedicate An Elvis Song To Richmond


I still can NOT believe that just two days prior, a tornado ripped through our beloved Deltaville. Relief efforts are still ongoing. Thankfully no one died, but many houses, churches, and the community center were demolished or seriously damaged. Gloucester did not fare well either.

Hearing friend's tales of the tornado sliding right towards them, then suddenly skipping over their house to  demolish the neighboring home, seeing the pines snapped in swaths... it is chilling, surreal, yet known in Virginia, it just usually doesn't get reported when it hits rural areas unless there's damage. And unfortunately, there was damage this time.


Just two days later I traced the tornado's path under sunny, breezy spring skies, along lifelong familiar landmarks while entertaining far-flung European guests... it was eerie... heart wrenching... seeing the Federal Disaster Relief trucks juxtaposed with the 1800s farm houses...
I'm still processing this, but in the meantime we can write checks.

If you'd like to help, please make checks out to:
Deltaville Community Association
17147 General Puller Highway
P.O. Box 211
Deltaville, VA 23043

If you'd like to donate to the families who lost their homes call 804-776-9295 for more information on how you can help. Mason Realty offered to open their office and phones as a central help line. You can also buy "I love Deltaville" tee shirts, where 100% of the proceeds benefit rebuilding the community association.



In the sadness, there was also the innocent joy of European and New York children exploring on the beach, going for boat rides, little cousins squealing and squeaking in their play that would not have seen each other otherwise but for their annual Deltaville meetup- the New York cousins came down to play with their Virginia pipsqueak counterparts, and, as my New York cousin is a chef, well... we ate well, especially appreciating the foraged morels...

Still thinking on community, I returned to Richmond specifically to hear Richmond's departing Director of Community Planning / Über Urban Planner Rachel Flynn speak to Green Drinks. Rachel Flynn's speech didn't hearten me so much as confirmed my thoughts, although her parting advice for urban planning was valuable. Here's what Scott Kyle, LEED AP of Full Scale Architecture and I could remember:
  1. Transit: Transportation - Multi-modal transportation where the bus has a dedicated lane, bikes, multiple ways to access transit
  2. I loved her history of Richmond transit, incorporating the trolley system - "People will walk to travel 1/2 - 1/4 of a mile to transit"
  3. Get rid of one way streets, and Go On A Road Diet : Why all the eight lane highways as "Entrances To The City"? They end up widening roads when the perception of a Richmond Entrance changes routinely. I also think about those crazy suburban Short Pump and Midlothian six lane highways that are supposedly Residential Roads- who would ever want to live there, much less visit. #AnywhereUSA
  4. Suburbanization:
    "This used to be a progressive city. What happened?" -Chris Maxwell
    Rachel Flynn: "Suburbanization happened."
  5. River: Development yet protection of the park system of the river front - not developing on the riverfront, but near it, creating greater access.
  6. Neighborhoods: Mixed income as a way to bring people out of the projects : "They don't want to live in the projects to begin with" - neighborhoods incorporating mixed income and opportunity, which fosters growth of small businesses.
  7. 95 Profile: Lost opportunity to project our city onto travel- why you visit from what you see on 95? Give travelers a reason to stop in.
And, I would add: The freedom to be sustainably vibrant. #GiveMeMahChickunzYouRubes
I think... I think... I'm losing faith in you, Richmond... These days, I'm suspicious.



Meanwhile, it's another rainy weekend (shockers!), Handsome Husband drives out then alone to deliver more rain barrels from aforementioned Rain Barrel Scheme... and I collapse after a Spring Break filled with guests, Businesses For Chickens, Green Drinks, and more.

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