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Flip answers and easy fixes...Charter Westbrook closing leaves fewer options


Flip answers and easy fixes
S.S. Richardson's thoughts for a better downtown (Cover story, Nov. 16; Letters, Dec. 7) evidently didn't take much thought, for if the author had pondered these proposals for a moment, he or she certainly would have found some flawed logic.

Constructing monolithic apartment buildings north of the Richmond Coliseum would serve to aggravate the problems it is proposed to solve. Do you really think that state employees who commute from prestigious communities such as Brandermill, Wyndham and others in Hanover County are going to leave their beautifully manicured lawns and country clubs to live in a high-rise apartment building downtown, trading in a view of their lakefront property to the gravel parking lots of the Coliseum? I think not.

Senior citizens would be unable to afford such a pricey address unless the buildings were subsidized. If occupants could now walk to the Coliseum and convention center, what about non occupants? We would now be vying for even fewer parking places in the downtown streets, because where would these new tenants be parking their cars? Americans love their cars, so I suspect they would be bringing their cars to their new location (provided they were willing to sell their five-bedroom rancher and the half acre that came with it).

I agree with the need for cheap transportation to downtown from the airport. However, what's downtown if the train station remains at Staples Mill? Passengers looking to make a connection to rail would be at a loss.

If the train station were relocated to its original Main Street address, there would be no need for cheap public transportation from the Amtrak station currently situated at Staples Mill. Really now, the train station should be in the heart of a city. Look at New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago for starters, all with the main train station nestled conveniently in the downtown area.

As far as VCU buying up City Hall, what does VCU think about it? It seems VCU is being seen recently as the clearinghouse for the city's unwanted buildings. How about letting VCU buy up the old Miller & Rhoads and Thalhimers while they are at it? Please let's give this problem of downtown revitalization more than flippant consideration.
Tracey McGregor

Charter Westbrook closing leaves fewer options
Shame on Style. You gave the closing of Charter Westbrook +3 points in your weekly assessments of the city's Zeitgeist (The Score, Nov. 23). That's too simple.

Whatever the reasons that led to the hospital's closing, the loss of the facility is tragic. Richmond's mental health institutions are already overflowing and understaffed. Charter Westbrook provided beds for patients from all walks of life. Now those who would have gone to Charter Westbrook for help have fewer options. If they go to other hospitals, they stretch already limited space and personnel even further. If they are homeless, we want them out of sight and out of mind. Some people who need help are not going to get it. Ironically, in the same article you award +4 points to the SPCA's new $8 million adoption center for pets ( replete with library and dog jogger track). That kind of money could go a long way toward helping people who suffer from mental and emotional problems — if only they were as cuddly and uncomplicated as dogs and cats.
Douglas Jones

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