Charlottesville PLACE Design Task Force Discusses Downtown Mall Renovation

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Changes could be coming to Charlottesville's Downtown Mall, but it might be a while before those changes take place.

Charlottesville's PLACE Design Task Force met Wednesday to discuss adding additional public seating on the Downtown Mall. Before any decisions are made, the group is calling for an all-encompassing study of the Mall and a plan for how to implement any future changes.

PLACE is drafting a memo to Charlottesville City Council seeking $50,000 for this Downtown Mall study and plan. The group is hoping to work with University of Virginia's Center for Cultural Landscapes on this project.

The goal of this plan is to eliminate any ambiguity whatsoever when it comes to what can and cannot be done for renovations to the Mall.

“It would be smart to get the study done before we do things that we maybe need to undo or wish we didn't do, but at the same time if there are maintenance needs that have to occur, we don’t want to drag those out,” Mike Stoneking of PLACE said.

The suggestion for this plan comes after the city Parks Department's recommendation to add to backless benches to the Downtown Mall was shot down in back in April because the proposed benches were inconsistent with the original design of the Downtown Mall.

PLACE members say they hope to get this plan passed by City Council in the next few weeks. The group anticipates the study will take a few months to complete and then another month for the plan to be developed.

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