After several months of surveys, community focus groups, interviews + studies, the city has submitted a grant application to the federal government for the Reconnect Jackson Ward project. The city posted the application online — all 242 pages of it. We pulled out the basics.
The funding request goes to the US Dept. of Transportation’s Reconnecting Communities Pilot Discretionary Grant Program, a new federal initiative launched over the summer.
The federal program has $1 billion in grants to distribute over the next five years and will target communities cut off from economic opportunities by transportation infrastructure.
Jackson Ward fits the bill. In the 1950s, Virginia bisected the neighborhood by building I-95 and I-64 through it. The interstate displaced 10% of the city’s Black population and decentralized the area as a key factor of the city center.
The application asks for $1.69 million in grant funding. That would cover 80% of the anticipated cost to keep the project going. Included in the budget are plans for a traffic analysis study, an environmental review, and further community engagement.
Included in the application is the project’s feasibility study, published in September. It shows where in the neighborhood it would be technically possible to add bridges or freeway lids, in addition to laying out different options depending on the level of funding the city receives.
There’s also a summary of the feedback gathered from community members since the project was announced in January.
Now that the application has been submitted, Richmonders can expect an update on the funding in 3-6 months.