Downtown Richmond finalist in national contest, could win $150,000 to renovate historic site

A conversation with Amanda Elliot, executive director of the Richmond Main Street Initiative

Downtown Richmond is participating in a national campaign to win $150,000 for restoration of the Marquee at Market Square Mall, a historic site that has existed for almost a century.

Richmond Main Street Initiative (RMSI) announced on Monday that the city is one of the 25 national finalists vying for funding to preserve or improve historic landmarks. The top 10 cities would share the $1.5 million offered by the Partners in Preservation: Main Streets campaign.

“If we win, we would hope that there would be even more attention for Richmond, especially for our downtown, and really positive attention for the project,” said Amanda Elliott, executive director of RMSI.

The Market Square Mall, a prominent historic retail space built in 1924, supports small businesses on Harbour Way, Elliott said. But the Marquee has not been updated in years.

Elliott said this project would bring pride to the community and draw more visitors to Richmond.

The public is invited to vote on VoteYourMainStreet.org, a website hosted by National Geographic, where everyone can vote for five favorite towns every day, from September 25 to October 31.

The other two California projects to make the finals are Formosa Café in West Hollywood and the North Park streets in San Diego.

Each community finalist received $20,000 to promote its project, and RMSI is inviting Richmond residents to join an Open House on October 7 at the Market Square Mall to discuss its restoration.

The results will be announced on November 2.

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