Downtown Mall Decision Makers to Reunite in Charlottesville
The people behind the decision to close Charlottesville's Main Street and brick it over as a downtown mall will reunite for the first time publicly Thursday night. They'll take part in a discussion of what was a controversial decision in its day.
They'll meet in City Hall, in the same room where the vote to turn Charlottesville's Main Street into a pedestrian plaza happened nearly 40 years before. The discussion promises to take a look back at behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing previously unknown to the public.
Charlottesville historian and radio host Coy Barefoot will moderate. Panelists include policy makers from the time - the mayor, city manager, and a councilor.
Charlottesville City Council approved creating the pedestrian mall in March of 1974. Only two of the five councilors voted. The others claimed conflicts of interest.
"A lot went into it that may not have been public," said Ric Barrick with Celebrate!250 Charlottesville. "We are excited to bring together all the players who were talking back then and bring back the decision, and then also look at it from the 2012 perspective - was it a good idea, did they feel like it's been successful?"
The discussion will include a question and answer session with the panelists. It will also feature television coverage of council's decision to create the downtown mall.
The discussion is part of Charlottesville's 250th birthday celebration. It starts at 6:30 Thursday night in council chambers in City Hall and is free and open to the public.
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