RICHMOND, Va. -- Born and raised in the Manchester area, AJ Brewer jumped at the chance to open a coffee shop in the Richmond neighborhood.
“I wanted to be a part of the change that was happening in my hometown,” Brewer, who owns Brewer’s Café, said.
He also lives in the neighborhood, and he loves the growth in Manchester over the past 10 years.
Numbers from a recent report by Fountainhead/Tom Papa/Rick Gregory show back in 2005, just 14 apartment units existed in Manchester.
By 2015, that number exploded to more than 1,700, and it’s still growing.
“I’d love to see more people move to Manchester,” Brewer said.
And, while the city recently repaved several roads in the area, Brewer said much more needs to be done to make the neighborhood blossom.
Brewer and his customer, Jay Patrick, who works in Manchester, said traffic needs to be slowed down.
“There have been several accidents here,” Brewer said.
They also said old, cracked sidewalks need to be replaced, litter and bulk trash needs to be picked up, and a grocery store needs to open up shop.
“I think my customer base would love to see more food access here,” Brewer said.
“Lots of broken glass, just a lot of eyesores in the community,” Patrick said.
Residents we talked to also pointed out that more lights need to be installed, and some of the roads still need work.
“Sometimes the lighting works and sometimes it doesn’t and it’s very poor lighting,” Joel Price said. “Potholes, old railroad tracks that go though.”
CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit took their concerns straight to their councilwoman, Ellen Robertson (6th District).
“We’ve got some needs over there, we really do,” Robertson said.
Robertson said plans to improve the issues are in the works, and she said she already secured state funds to make changes, and she will request more from the city.
“We’ve been working with DPW and DPU throughout the year, and so a lot of the priorities that have been identified, those will be the things we’ll be fighting for to get in the budget,” Robertson said.
City officials said major streets in Manchester were paved last year, and the Department of Public Works will be paving cross-streets in the neighborhood this spring.
They said city council’s budget process will determine the extent of future infrastructure improvements in Manchester.
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