Petersburg R/UDAT implementation to be transferred from Downtown Petersburg, Inc., to Cockade City Initiative
In order to provide a more efficient structure for tackling its two major programs, Main Street and the Petersburg R/UDAT, Downtown Petersburg, Inc. (DPI) will transfer implementation of the Petersburg R/UDAT plan to a new organization, the Cockade City Initiative (CCI), effective January 1, 2009. CCI will focus its efforts exclusively on implementation of the […]
In order to provide a more efficient structure for tackling its two major programs, Main Street and the Petersburg R/UDAT, Downtown Petersburg, Inc. (DPI) will transfer implementation of the Petersburg R/UDAT plan to a new organization, the Cockade City Initiative (CCI), effective January 1, 2009. CCI will focus its efforts exclusively on implementation of the DPI R/UDAT plan. This will in turn permit DPI to concentrate on the strategies of a traditional Main Street organization, at the same time that it is seeking renewed status for Petersburg as a Virginia Main Street community. The two organizations will partner on many projects.
“We are very excited to see work on the R/UDAT going forward in good hands,” said Joe Tedesco, President of DPI. “We’re proud of the work DPI has done with the R/UDAT, but now we’ve got to roll up our sleeves and make ourselves the best Main Street organization in the country. Meanwhile, we’ll be looking for every opportunity to support the R/UDAT effort.”
After two years of planning by DPI, the Petersburg R/UDAT Team of eight experts, assembled from all over the country by the American Institute of Architects, gathered in Petersburg on March 29, 2007. After five days of intensive around-the-clock work, in collaboration with the community, the team presented a new strategic plan for downtown Petersburg on the evening of April 2. The new plan outlined a bold vision for the downtown, ranging from a dramatic new 88-acre park along the banks of the Appomattox and the historic Harbor, to a greatly enhanced public space in the Halifax Triangle.
Since then, under the leadership of DPI, the 86-page plan has been refined, modified for clarification, and amplified with additional images. The revised version is currently available to the public as a pdf document at www.petersburgharbor.org. One of the first tasks that CCI will undertake will be to print the plan in its revised, more accessible form.
In addition, the DPI R/UDAT leadership has developed a set of strategies for tackling implementation of the bold and exciting vision set forth in the 2007 R/UDAT plan. Of these, the central strategy, the creation of a new organization, Cockade City Initiative, to focus on R/UDAT implementation, is nearing completion. The new organization will announce its initial strategic projects after an official organizational meeting to be held shortly after the first of the year.
DPI was created as Petersburg’s Main Street downtown revitalization organization when Petersburg was named one of Virginia’s first five Main Street communities in 1986. However, Petersburg’s Main Street affiliation lapsed in the 1990s when its Executive Director, Allen Archer, was named Assistant to the City Manager. Subsequently, Kevin Kirby, Jim Wilson and others breathed new life into the organization, and in the process reestablished NostalgiaFest as Petersburg’s primary annual festival. In 2007, DPI also founded the Halifax Jazz & Blues Festival, which will stage its third annual event this coming Spring.
In early 2006, DPI took on the Petersburg R/UDAT as a primary program area. Simultaneously, DPI announced its intention to reestablish its Main Street affiliation. Petersburg has now been a Virginia Main Street affiliate since the Spring of 2007. More recently, DPI has announced to Virginia Main Street its intention to again make Petersburg a Virginia-Main-Street-designated community, when the next opportunity arises in 2010.
The four central Main Street principles are Organization, Promotion, Design, and Economic Restructuring. In the next year, DPI will work to strengthen its involvement in these areas, following the current Virginia Main Street guidelines. For the most part, DPI’s focus will have to do with Downtown management.
DPI and CCI will act as partners in the cause of building a more exciting Downtown Petersburg. For example, together they are currently launching a new detailed survey of downtown properties and businesses, which will be entered into a database and placed on each other’s web sites. This project, which is necessary groundwork for numerous other projects, will by its very nature be ongoing.
Terry Ammons, Co-Chair of the Petersburg R/UDAT and one of the founders of CCI, said, “CCI will be focusing on finding the means to create exciting new public spaces and to encourage dramatic new private development Downtown. But we will depend on DPI to animate those spaces and the Downtown with programs and events, and to fashion the best possible mix of retail businesses, so that Downtown will thrive. We’ll do everything we can to support DPI. Moreover,” Ammons added, “our programs and those of DPI will require us to get people, throughout the entire community, involved in planning and developing their Downtown.”
“Yes,” said Tedesco, “Downtown Petersburg belongs to us all. It is the community’s living room, the place where we enjoy ourselves together and entertain our cherished guests. Together, we must make it a place in which we all have pride.”