Gov. McDonnell proposes $11M for Richmond slavery site - | WBTV Charlotte

Gov. McDonnell proposes $11M for Richmond slavery site

Gov. Bob McDonnell Gov. Bob McDonnell

Governor Bob McDonnell's budget proposal calls for $11 million in state funds to go to the City of Richmond to development a Slavery and Freedom Heritage Site in Shockoe Bottom.

Plans for the site were introduced by Mayor Dwight Jones as part of the City's proposal to bring a baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom.

The governor did not mention the ballpark as part of his funding proposal, instead focusing on how the slavery site would boost Virginia's tourism industry. The governor says tourism funding has a proven 5:1 return on investment.

"The institution of slavery on American soil was an abomination and affront to the dignity of every man and woman, all of whom are created in the image and likeness of God," said Gov. McDonnell. "Creating this heritage site in our capital city, where the horrific slave trade flourished, will serve as a critical historical reminder that we must be ever vigilant for the cause of justice and freedom. My recent tours of the Slave Trail and heritage site moved me to act now as we solemnly commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War."

The governor said the site will bring thousands of visitors to Richmond and spur economic development and job creation. He also thanked Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, Delegate Delores McQuinn, and Governor Doug Wilder for their input.

The money would be broken out with $5 million for a pavilion at the Lumpkin's Jail site in Shockoe Bottom, $1 million for improvements to the Richmond Slave Trail, and $5 million for a slavery museum.

"I am elated that Gov. McDonnell is including $11 million in his biennial budget to help advance the development of the Slave Trail to make Richmond an international destination," said Delegate Delores L. McQuinn (D-Richmond). "Governor McDonnell's visionary leadership will create an inheritance for generations to come as they learn about the African-American experiences, contributions and legacy to the United States and world history."

The City of Richmond is required to provide $5 million in local matching funds and give nearby land for the projects. 

"This investment is so important because we've never fully or properly told the story of what happened in Richmond," said Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones. "Governor McDonnell's budget proposal will help make it possible to tell this story in a bold way, and it will bring more people to Richmond to learn about the experiences of the men, women, and children who built this Commonwealth while living in bondage."

The governor is scheduled to speak about the proposal to the media later Thursday afternoon.

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