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City of Richmond competing for $2 million for main drag renovation

East Bay town would use Main Street money to fix up mall facade

The old Richmond mall could see better days if voters favor it.
The old Richmond mall could see better days if voters favor it.
Image via Google Street Views

The city of Richmond is vying with 24 other cities—ranging from Los Angeles to Washington DC and Seattle to San Diego—to receive up to $2 million in grant money. It’s all part of a project to renovate Main Streets across America.

Since 2006, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Washington DC-based non-profit, has paired with some other private bodies for a project it calls Partners In Preservation (PIP), doling out funds for city improvement projects.

This year, PIP offers $2 million to cities with “Main Street districts in need of preservation support across America.”

An ongoing poll allows the public to vote daily through October 31 for the most deserving of the 25 qualifying projects.

“On November 2, the sites with the most votes at the end of the voting period will be announced and awarded grants for restoration projects,” according to the trust site.

The Richmond Main Street Initiative (a local non-profit not directly affiliated with the city) plans to use winning grant money to affix a new marquee to the admired but aging Market Square Mall at 322 Harbour Way.

According to the project missive on the PIP ballot:

Downtown Richmond bustled during World War II, but fell into disrepair shortly thereafter due to disinvestment. Installing a marquee on one of the neighborhood’s most prominent historic buildings will create a bright light that can’t be missed and help illuminate Richmond’s charming sense of place.

The marquee won’t cost $2 million, and Richmond doesn’t have to beat out every other city to win the grant.

Rather, Richmond MSI says,“Projects with the most votes at the end of the voting period will be awarded grants until the full $2 million is distributed.” The blog Richmond Confidential estimates that the mall fix-up will run roughly $150,000

There are a couple of other California cities in balloting: Los Angeles is in the running to restore a historical trolley car, while San Diego hopes to reveal the original facade of a building annex long since walled off.

But the Richmond mall is the only Bay Area project in the competition.

Head to the grant fund site here to vote. Polling ends on October 31.