CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Work is underway to make sure part of Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall’s west end is accessible to everyone, while also preserving history. The Center of Developing Entrepreneurs (CODE) Building is under construction at that end of the pedestrian mall, and developers are presenting options to the city to meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards.
Currently, the west end of the Downtown Mall has a steep incline, which has never met accessibility requirements. It is also recognized as being part of the historic Vinegar Hill neighborhood, a predominantly African-American area that was razed by the city in the 1960’s.
Since construction of the CODE Building is already uprooting that end of the mall, the development and architecture teams on the project had offered plans to the city to ultimately help ensure that area is accessible.
“Right now currently as it is, it is not ADA accessible, and that’s certainly a priority for the city and a requirement that the city will have to fulfill,” City Councilor Heather Hill said. “So we’ve been really pleased with the willingness of this development team to partner with the city.”
City officials have reviewed several blueprints, but are not commenting further on what those plans look like.
The final design also has implications on how Charlottesville will honor the historic Vinegar Hill neighborhood.
The CODE Building is expected to be completed by next summer, so the redesign would not happen until then.