Revitalization efforts give Richmond’s Brookland Park Boulevard neighborhood a boost

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 2:13 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - At Trent’s Barbershop on Richmond’s northside, manager Willie Hilliard has undoubtedly seen his fair share of change over the last two decades.

“When I started here 22 years ago, most of the people thought nothing would ever happen positively in this community,” said Willie Hilliard, Historic Brookland Park Collective Executive Director.

But that’s not how this story ends for Brookland Park Boulevard.

“Stuck it out until the trend actually came, and we saw the change. We think the change has been beneficial for the community,” said Hilliard.

From one side of the road to the other, you can see the progress being made along the main drag.

At one end, plans are coming together on a proposed 43-unit building, for those on a fixed budget, along with 3,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor. Down the road, even more housing is being built at this site, along with retail space too.

Brookland Park Flowers and Gifts opened its first retail location in this neighborhood in August. The shopkeeper says the owners chose the spot because of their deep roots in the area and Black-owned businesses.

“There is quite a bit of foot traffic and quite a bit of traffic that comes in from people passing by and being really interested in new businesses here and how they can support a local business like this,” said Katina Moss, Brookland Park Flowers and Gifts Shopkeeper.

The area used to be well-known for its hair salons and barbershops. Renovations to an old theater are also on the horizon, along with several new restaurants, pending approval.

“We love it. We love the development, bringing more options for people to buy,” said Ann-Frances Lambert, Richmond City Council.

Meanwhile, a “Taste of Brookland Park” event is scheduled for March 31.