Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (2022)

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Judge: Chesterfield detective who altered search warrants is charged with crime that doesn't exist in Va. 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the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s (27).jpg Richmond in the 50s (28).jpg Richmond in the 50s (29).jpg Richmond in the 50s (30).jpg Richmond in the 50s (31).jpg Richmond in the 50s (32).jpg Richmond in the 50s (33).jpg Richmond in the 50s (34).jpg Richmond in the 50s (35).jpg Richmond in the 50s (36).jpg Richmond in the 50s (38).jpg Richmond in the 50s (39).jpg Richmond in the 50s (40).jpg Richmond in the 50s (42).jpg Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s Richmond in the 50s 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Judge: Chesterfield detective who altered search warrants is charged with crime that doesn't exist in Va.

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ECONOMIC PULSE

  • By KEITH BOSWELL

Join us for an all new episode of 8@4 featuring a tour of the tractor museum, a fun yoga hang and learning about trucking. Those stories and more in this episode of 8@4 presented by Massey Cancer Center from the Virginia Wayside Furniture studio.

If you have kept up with the news lately, you have heard about lots of activity happening south of Richmond in Virginia’s Gateway Region. The region is served by the oldest economic development organization in Virginia, VGR, and is made up of seven unique communities. They are the Tri-Cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell and Petersburg and the counties of Dinwiddie, Prince George, Surry, and Sussex. It’s an authentic region known for heavy industry and advanced manufacturing. Its people are hard-working, and the area has seen its share of challenges, from the departure of tobacco in the ‘80s to the more recent exit of Rolls Royce.

This summer, our collective region is coming together in unprecedented ways. The former Ramada Inn hotel, the one that Petersburg Mayor Sam Parham refers to as “the granddaddy of blight”, is finally meeting its demise. This mammoth structure crowning Interstate 95 has served as a symbol of regional malaise for more than a decade, convincing business leaders, residents, and visitors that that Petersburg is not welcoming.

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Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (1)

Last month, plans were announced to demolish the hotel, and you could feel the collective energy change throughout the region. Action, not talk, speaks loudly, and can change an area’s trajectory of growth. People came together that normally would not—Ds and Rs in the state legislature, a persistent mayor and a governor ready to implement change in the city through his new Partnership for Petersburg initiative. In my 30-plus years working in Virginia’s economic development circles, I have not witnessed a more comprehensive focused effort to lift up a community in need.

But Petersburg is not the only headline here. Another ceremony was held in Prince George County with golden sledgehammers. The old Continental Motel on South Crater Road was demolished by the county as part of its Exit 45 Strategic Vision and Action Plan. This exit off I-95 was once a thriving stop for snowbirds and travelers. The county will market the greenspace for redevelopment for a tourism-related business.

In Colonial Heights, signature retail is coming back strong in the post-pandemic era with the city landing a Mission BBQ and a Royal Farms market. The City of Hopewell is seeing a new wave of entrepreneurs from restaurants to service businesses locate downtown through its Homegrown for Hopewell business pitch competition. VGR is supporting our seven communities with a Local Development Initiative that focuses on downtown and urban revitalization. This program gives our local economic developers the tools and data needed to continue this momentum.

Sussex County celebrated an economic development win with the announcement that Restoration Bioproducts will construct the Commonwealth’s first biochar production facility in the Town of Waverly. Working with wood pellet manufacturer Wood Fuel Developers, the company will use pyrolysis technology to convert waste wood from the mill into biochar and syngas, a form of natural gas. Over the next three years, the company will invest $5.8 million into a new facility, create new jobs and purchase 34,560 tons of Virginia-grown wood products.

Surry County has acquired an industrial site along Route 460 for future economic development. VGR is working with Timmons and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to characterize the property to state standards and market it to prospects.

And finally, the region’s educational institutions have never been more critical in partnering to win economic development projects. DroneUp is investing $20.2 million to establish a new testing, training, and R&D center for drone operators at Richard Bland College, which will create 145 new jobs. Brightpoint Community College is “all in” helping the region’s burgeoning pharmaceutical cluster develop curriculums to train technicians and support this promising industry. Virginia State University serves as the region’s only four-year higher-ed institution, and leadership is committed to economic development progress.

Recent news that our regional coalition won a U.S. Economic Development Administration Build Back Better grant worth $53 million is icing on the cake for the pharma cluster. Let’s keep the momentum going. These positive developments are the result of many individuals and organizations working toward the same goal. At its core, economic development is about activities that foster a better quality of life for citizens of a community. Symbols matter. Action matters. More than anything, public pride can change a perspective. I am enjoying the new scenery already.

From the Archives: 250 photos of Richmond in the 1950s

Richmond in the 50s

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Richmond in the 50s

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Robinson and Newcombe

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1953 Monument and Horsepen

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1955 Parker Field

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1952 Monument Avenue

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1951 Lee statue

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Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (164)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (165)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (166)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (167)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (168)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (169)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (170)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (171)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (172)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (173)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (174)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (175)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (176)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (177)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (178)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (179)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (180)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (181)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (182)

1956 Richmond Virginians

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (183)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (184)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (185)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (186)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (187)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (188)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (189)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (190)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (191)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (192)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (193)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (194)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (195)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (196)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (197)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (198)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (199)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (200)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (201)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (202)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (203)

1954 Branch House

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (204)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (205)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (206)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (207)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (208)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (209)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (210)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (211)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (212)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (213)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (214)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (215)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (216)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (217)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (218)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (219)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (220)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (221)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (222)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (223)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (224)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (225)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (226)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (227)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (228)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (229)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (230)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (231)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (232)

Richmond in the 50s (229).jpg

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (233)

Richmond in the 50s (230).jpg

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (234)

Richmond in the 50s (231).jpg

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (235)

Richmond in the 50s (232).jpg

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (236)

Richmond in the 50s (233).jpg

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (237)

Richmond in the 50s (234).jpg

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (238)

Richmond in the 50s (235).jpg

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (239)

Richmond in the 50s (236).jpg

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (240)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (241)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (242)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (243)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (244)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (245)

Richmond in the 50s

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (246)

+1

Column: The end of Petersburg's 'granddaddy of blight' and more Tri-Cities progress (247)

Keith Boswell is president and CEO of Virginia’s Gateway Region Economic Development Organization. Reach him at kboswell@gatewayregion.com.

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