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Readers Add Ideas for a Master Plan

I enjoyed reading Ed Slipek Jr.'s thoughts on how to improve downtown Richmond. I was hoping for him or someone to suggest a 50- or 60-story high-rise skyscraper to add to the skyline.

We need at least one taller skyscraper that rises above all buildings in Richmond -- look at Atlanta, Charlotte and Winston-Salem. A building in Virginia Beach has topped the James Monroe Building as the tallest building in the state.

And please, no more parking garages — they're everywhere and an eyesore to a point where several deaf friends of mine have coined a sign name for Richmond as "parking town" with an "R" sign! That's how bad it is!

Ricky Taylor

I was happy to see Mr. Slipek's article last week ("Where Do We Go From Here?" Cover Story, Oct. 17) as I often greatly appreciate his urban observations. I will take issue though with his recommendation that Open High should be closed and its alternative school program moved downtown.

Open High is an extremely valuable part of Grace Arents' historic, living legacy, and should be treasured and protected by the whole city. The program is among the Richmond Public Schools' most successful and should be replicated.

However, I do agree with Slipek that downtown could benefit from a public high-school program. As a longtime critic of the Virginia Performing Arts Foundation, I have often suggested that the Carpenter Center renovation become a performing arts high school creation. At least that way, public funding would come under public oversight and discovery. Unfortunately, that idea never sat well with the local, corporate bigwigs' real estate plan for a secretive, privately controlled project funded with public taxpayer money. City Council and the mayor recently banded together long enough to side with the bigwigs, and the city has entered into yet another white elephant deal.

Whose priorities will ultimately matter when it comes to future planning?

I encourage Style to keep holding (both corporate and public) city leadership's feet to the fire.

Scott Burger

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