Downtown Mall Plans Being Finalized

Plans are being finalized for the Downtown Mall overhaul, Sean Tubbs writes for Charlottesville Tomorrow, and a couple of hundred people showed up at a Monday-night forum to see and comment on the plans. Having learned from when the Mall was built in the first place, the city will be working with “block captains,” representing the businesses on each block of the Mall, to figure out how to time construction to keep from shutting down the whole shebang for all five months that the reconstruction should require. In a minor but important issue, they’re looking at going with 4″x12″ pavers, as specified by the original designer of the Mall, with sand-swept joints, rather than the mortared ones that have worked out so badly. Construction is scheduled to begin in January.

Coolest of all, they’re looking at giving away the torn-up bricks to the public, so that we can all have a bit of the Downtown Mall on our patios and in our barbecues. Sign me up for that.

12 thoughts on “Downtown Mall Plans Being Finalized”

  1. Waldo Jaquith said:

    “Coolest of all, they’re looking at giving away the torn-up bricks to the public, so that we can all have a bit of the Downtown Mall on our patios and in our barbecues. Sign me up for that.”

    That IS cool. How would one ensure that they would get one you think?

  2. It’s a shame the bricks will be torn up (I actually like them)… but if they will have to be, at least we can get a piece of the action.

    Although, I wonder if they will be giving them away in any considerable quantity. For even a small patio, you are looking at a couple of hundred bricks at least. If they limit it, is one or two special bricks amongst a couple of hundred regular plain bricks going to be good enough?

  3. I wonder if Council has thought thru the implications of giving away bricks to the public. I think a lot of us citizens would like to hurl brickbats in their direction on account of some of the stuff they have down!

  4. Sort of trying to get in the last word from the previous Bush thing while still being true and pertinent to this topic. OK, here goes…so how is George Bush like a brick on the Downtown Mall?

    Well, they both:
    – are somewhat cracked
    – are half-baked
    – can trip you up
    – are dead weight
    – have been out in the sun too long
    – are slippery
    – need to be replaced

  5. Waldo- You mentioned on another thread on this page that you would like something else to talk about. Any chance we could discuss VDOT’s actions concerning making RT. 29 safer in the wake of the tragic loss of the AHS student in May? I think some support for the Forest Lakes association folks is in order and I would like to hear from more knowledgeable people about whether the VDOT response is adequate or not.
    Sorry to be off topic-

  6. Lulu,

    The Mall will still be covered with bricks. It’s just that they will be dry-laid rather than wet-laid.

    When you mortar bricks together into a large walkway like the Mall in it’s current state, you get constant cracking and damage every winter as water gets into any little gap or crack and expands as it freezes. This makes such a system very expensive to maintain and eventually it will become so damaged that it needs to be wholly replaced.

    Dry-laid bricks, on the other hand, do not crack or require as much maintenance. Water drains easily through the sand between the bricks and if there is freezing within the sand, the bricks can shift slightly without breaking. This will save us money.

    It looks basically the same either way. City workers will have to walk up and down the mall and spray emergent weeds a few times a year. Other than that, this will be a big improvement with the same general appearance.

  7. Gail, to stay off topic for a second, I’ll add that Charlottesville Tomorrow will have the audio from last night’s meeting posted later on tonight or early tomorrow. But, one piece of news I can report as I sit here in the Board of Supervisors meeting today, Allan Sumpter of VDOT announced that they are expediting the process to reduce the speed through that intersection down to 45 miles per hour, something he said could be done as early as the end of this week.

    As for the brick give-away, I should say Tolbert floated that as one possibility for what could be done with the bricks. Monday’s meeting was not a Council meeting, and I’d assume they would have the final say. Listen in to what Tolbert had to say by moving the audio player to about 51:30 in to the podcast.

  8. I am glad to see council has put the brakes on Overrun O’Connell’s grandiose redesing plans for the Mall. Nobody would have been able to recognize it, which is what he wanted credit for. Too bad, the change in plans will not save the tax payers any money apparently. I understand the price is back up to $6M from $4.5.

  9. Jackson Landers,

    I have grown accustomed to you making sense. Like C-ville Eye, I am sick of money being spent just for the sake of spending money. How do your ideas mesh with the recent Hook article that suggests that larger bricks don’t make sense?

  10. CvilleEye…not O’Connell’s choice, it is Council. Please get it right before you sling your endless supply of mud. So sorry your wife was wronged but give it a break.

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