As plans for COVID memorial transfer ahead, Goochland neighbors specific issues

As plans for COVID memorial move forward, Goochland neighbors express concerns

2022-09-22 20:04:08

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday morning on the location of a former Goochland County golf course {that a} Richmond non-profit plans to show right into a memorial for victims of COVID-19.

“‘Gardens of Tranquility’ is a spot the place therapeutic begins,” stated Dr. Arlene Simmons, referring to the identify for the deliberate memorial. “Whether or not it’s psychological, emotional, bodily, religious or instructional. We would like this to be a spot of peace and tranquility.

Simmons is the founding father of Humanitarian Ambassadors of America Group Growth Corp., a non-profit with 25 years in Richmond, and stated they bought the land earlier this 12 months and was impressed to show it right into a COVID-19 memorial by youngsters she labored with who instructed her about what they skilled throughout COVID-19.

“They chronicled hardships associated to the lack of housing, demise of family members, well being points, despair, starvation, and different challenges skilled due to the COVID pandemic,” Simmons instructed the group. “Within the ache of their grief these younger minds determined it was not solely essential, however essential to recollect family members and an honorable and everlasting method.”

Simmons stated the plan is to redevelop the 151-acres in 4 phases with a $33-million finances. The COVID-19 victims can be remembered in rock gardens and memorial partitions, however Simmons stated in addition they intend to incorporate memorials for individuals who have handed from different well being points and youngsters misplaced to gun violence.

“The design will characteristic and can lengthen to programmatic alternatives geared towards constructive youth improvement processes,” added Simmons, who stated this might embody issues like a par 3 golf course, gardening, and mountaineering. “It is a problem if you happen to’ve by no means been uncovered to it but it surely’s happiness if you find yourself uncovered to it,” Simmons stated.

Nonetheless, anybody attending Wednesday’s ceremony would have needed to drive previous dozens of yards indicators alongside the one street resulting in the location expressing concern or skepticism in regards to the undertaking.

CBS 6 spoke with a few of the householders who put up the indicators and so they stated whereas the undertaking appears to have good intentions, they raised issues in regards to the quantity of site visitors it might herald, the power to take care of maintenance of the property, and stated that they haven’t been included in conversations about proposed plans.

Simmons stated they didn’t need to have these conversations as a result of the property shouldn’t be part of the home-owner’s affiliation and stated nothing they’re planning to construct could be exterior of the property’s present zoning.

“It is a rural space, all the things is gorgeous right here. And so we do not need something to alter, we simply need to mix in,” Simmons stated.

Nonetheless, Simmons stated after they start designing the primary part subsequent month, they’ll maintain the county up to date on what they do and he or she stated the neighbors can have a seat on the desk.

“We would like them to welcome us and we welcome them to be right here,” Simmons stated.

Simmons stated they hope to have at the least completed renovating the clubhouse and constructed one memorial backyard and a wall for a ribbon-cutting ceremony someday in December.

CBS 6 additionally reached out to Goochland County and requested in regards to the proposal and acquired a written assertion.

“County employees has met with representatives from the Humanitarian Ambassadors of America Group Growth Company who’re proposing the COVID memorial backyard on the former Royal Virginian golf course. Their representatives supplied a number of potential future makes use of for the location, however no formal land use request has been made and nor has zoning approval been utilized for or given. It’s too early to say what could also be required till employees is supplied extra data,” wrote Group Affairs Supervisor Paul Drumwright. “If a zoning software is filed, group conferences and public hearings are required the place residents can voice their opinions in regards to the request.”

“Goochland County encourages all potential candidates and new companies and organizations to create an open dialogue and interact with the better group as they transfer ahead on proposed plans and developments,” he added.


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