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3 big ideas that Richmond's still debating

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2. Mayoral Mania

For years Richmond has weighed -- at least in part -- the pros and cons of having a popularly elected mayor. A few years ago, Richmond residents voted to have a mayor who would reign over the entire city, but the General Assembly shot down the proposal. Now Doug Wilder and Tom Bliley are stumping for the idea again. And other plans are emerging. Who will win the fight this time? Or the next?



3. Dilly of a Downtown

How does a city say goodbye to its past -- defunct department stores and all -- and take hold of a future that could actually bring people back downtown, not only to shop but maybe, even, to live? For decades, we've spent millions and toyed with notions that seemed to offer promising solutions. In time, most of the ideas and projects -- please, don't make us name them here again -- have been as transitory as a plan for Richmond's own commuter-rail service.

Now it seems we've hung our hopes on a new, slightly different "if you build it, they will come" philosophy: that a convention center, arts complex, canal walk, shopping district and residential hub will pump life back into streets and into the city -- and the public's -- coffers. Wouldn't it be nice if it worked?

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