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20-block section of downtown Richmond condemned after Gaston dumps foot of rain

By Larry O'Dell, Associated Press, 8/31/2004 10:26

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) An area of about 20 blocks of downtown Richmond was roped off and was being condemned Tuesday after the remnants of Tropical Storm Gaston flooded the city and other parts of central Virginia with a foot or more of rain. At least three people were killed.

The condemned area included most of the city's historic and low-lying Shockoe Bottom area, known for its bars and restaurants.

Elsewhere, Hurricane Frances grew to a Category 4 storm with 135 mph wind Tuesday as it headed past Puerto Rico on a course that could bring it ashore in hard-hit Florida or somewhere else in the Southeast this weekend, the National Hurricane Center said.

A brick building of at least two stories had collapsed in the Shockoe Bottom area, and several dozen buildings had extensive water damage after the rain that fell Monday afternoon and evening flooded the area as much as 10 feet deep, Mayor Rudolph McCollum said Tuesday. In places, rushing water floated cars and trucks and smashed them into buildings.

City officials said the damage would easily be in the millions of dollars but said it was too early to provide an estimate.

''It's like something you've never seen before,'' said City Manager Calvin D. Jamison.

Gov. Mark R. Warner declared a state of emergency, making state resources available and putting the National Guard on standby.

Nearly 66,000 customers of Dominion Virginia Power still had no electricity Tuesday, mostly in the Richmond area. Many roads were still closed by high water.

Gaston surprised meteorologists, who had expected the storm to move through more quickly as it came north from the Carolinas and predicted no more than four inches of rain. Downtown Richmond got up to 12 inches of rain Monday afternoon and evening and suburban King William County measured 14, the National Weather Service said.

The flooding marooned some people in Shockoe Bottom.

''It looks like rapids outside our building,'' said Nick Baughan, who was stranded with about 20 other people on the second floor of the Bottoms Up pizza restaurant. ''All of our cars have floated away.''

Richmond police spokeswoman Cynthia Price confirmed Tuesday that two people died in a creek in eastern Richmond. In nearby Chesterfield County, rescuers pulled a woman's body from a submerged car early Tuesday, county public affairs officer Dave Goode said. He said county police and firefighters rescued about 40 people during the night.

Matthew Marsili was trying to drive home through the flooded streets Monday evening when ''all of this water came rushing down the hill all at once. ... It half-submerged a bus in the middle of the intersection that was filled with people and cars started floating down the road.''

With Gaston centered over the Atlantic early Tuesday, about 75 miles south-southeast of Atlantic City, N.J., emergency officials and meteorologists were looking toward the western Atlantic, where Hurricane Frances was roaring along a path paralleling Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, the island holding Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Hurricane forecasters said the course of Frances remained too difficult to determine, since it was at least five days from the U.S. mainland. Forecasts put Frances anywhere from Cuba to the Carolina coast by the end of the week, but the main track would send it across the Florida peninsula, crossing the devastating path Charley cut across the state less than three weeks ago.

With rain from Hurricanes Alex and Charley and the remnants of Bonnie all during August rainfall in parts of the Southeast has been several inches above normal for the month.

''If you throw another hurricane into the mix, there could be a lot of problems,'' said Mike Strickler, a National Weather Service forecaster in Raleigh, N.C.

At 8 a.m. EDT, Frances was centered about 200 miles east-northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico and was moving west at about 15 mph. A hurricane watch was in effect for the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos islands.

Associated Press writers Justin Bergman and Terri Nelson in Richmond contributed to this report.

From Boston.com

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Images from Richmond Times-Dispatch

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On Saturday April 9, the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K will take place in downtown Richmond. over 16,500 participants are expected making it one of the top 5 10K runs in the country.

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Thought this was a great article :)

The City Crusader

Doug Wilder is back in office, as Richmond's mayor. Will it take superhuman powers to reform the capital city's government?

by Garry Kranz

for Virginia Business

April 2005

Considering his vow to trim fat from Richmond city government, it

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I saw a thread in the Hampton Roads forum that made me think of a question...I have always been told that there were height limits to buildings along the I-64 corridor in the west end - that the heights of buildings could not exceed the height of the tree line. Is that really true? If so, why would Henrico and the city of Richmond pass such a law. Sounds pretty dumb to me. Please expain.

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Although I don't know a lot about the former VA governor turned mayor of Richmond, I will say that because he is the first mayor of Richmond under its restored-strong mayor statute, he will be in a better position to advocate and bring about change. I don't understand what that whole "rotating-mayor" thing among the city council was all about or what advantages it had. But I'm glad that's gone and that Richmond now has an independently elected mayor - and one who's not quick to mince words.

Edited by Mike D

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I saw a thread in the Hampton Roads forum that made me think of a question...I have always been told that there were height limits to buildings along the I-64 corridor in the west end - that the heights of buildings could not exceed the height of the tree line.
Edited by Mike D

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Eandslee.... are you talking about the west end like henrico county? That is a good question. I've never heard of that, but all of the office buildings are very suburban in height and nature there. I wonder where you could find out for sure? henrico planning department maybe? I don't think there would be a height restriction in the city towards the west end, though I may be wrong.

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here we go from Richmond.com This will be great for Richmond..especially with 2007 coming around.

Richmond to host acclaimed folk festival for the next three years. Not to mention the Canal Walk will get a big boost from this!

Richmond.com

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

One of the country's largest and most prestigious celebrations of the arts, the National Folk Festival, is coming to Richmond for a three-year tenure beginning in October of 2005. The festival, which will take place October 7 to 9 this year, will be held downtown on the banks of the James River in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

First presented in St. Louis in 1934, the National Folk Festival, which is produced by the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), is the oldest multicultural festival in the nation. Now entering its 67th year, the National Folk Festival is an exuberant traveling festival that showcases the nation's finest traditional musicians, dancers and craftspeople during a large-scale three-day outdoor event. Richmond will be the festival's 29th destination.

The event will feature a broad array of music and dance performances on multiple stages, a dance pavilion, regional and ethnic foods, storytelling, parades, a folk art marketplace, children's activities, craft exhibits and demonstrations. So far, the Festival's musical line-up includes a Cambodian classical music and dance ensemble, a Piedmont blues duo (half of which is Virginia

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Richmond is still recovering from Gaston....there are Still road closures in the east end of the city, as well as in some other parts of the metro. Many of the Bottoms restaurants and establishments are still struggling to reopen.

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I bet some of yall didn't know that Richmond had a proposed 600ft tower in the 1980's. And no it wasn't in the downtown. It was at Chippenham Parkway and Midlothian Tnpk. and was to be called the Communications Executive Tower.

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I bet some of yall didn't know that Richmond had a proposed 600ft tower in the 1980's. And no it wasn't in the downtown. It was at Chippenham Parkway and Midlothian Tnpk. and was to be called the Communications Executive Tower.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

what happened to it?

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I think it was killed by the Planning Commission...here is a link to some rough renderings of the building:

Rendering 1

Rendering 2

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That is one ugly looking building. No wonder they killed it. I wish they had just forced the developer to redesign and gone ahead with the project.

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That is one ugly looking building. No wonder they killed it. I wish they had just forced the developer to redesign and gone ahead with the project.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yea it kind of reminded me of coasters stacked on top of one another at angles. It would have been nice if this project was downtown, considering there is nothing tall at all near that proposed site.

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I didn't know where to put this article, so I just put it here. Anyway, this article talks about the new urban, mixed use project that will be placed inside innsbrook. Construction is to begin soon (the first of many phases, that is). All of the phases should be complete within 3 to 5 years. Here's the article. I wish there were renderings available. I'll do some searching to see what I can find.

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I didn't know where to put this article, so I just put it here.  Anyway, this article talks about the new urban, mixed use project that will be placed inside innsbrook.  Construction is to begin soon (the first of many phases, that is).  All of the phases should be complete within 3 to 5 years.  Here's the article.  I wish there were renderings available.  I'll do some searching to see what I can find.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Thanks for the article man.. .You know I'm wondering if we shouldnt start a discussion called "Richmond's Suburban Developments" or something to that nature

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Sounds like a good idea. You can start it if you wish since you're more of the "moderator" on this section of this site for Richmond.

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