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Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022
We have some genuinely good news: The Downtown Mall is getting a public bathroom. No more searching for public buildings (only to find them closed due to COVID) or wandering from business to business asking if they will please let you use theirs.
The Downtown Mall is getting its first ever public bathroom — and community members are ‘ecstatic’
“I’m ecstatic for them,” said John, a community member waiting for a bus on Market Street on Wednesday afternoon. He wasn’t the only one.
Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 1, the bathrooms will be open in the York Place shopping arcade, between First Street South and Second Street Southwest from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday through Thursday, and 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays.
Public restrooms are part of a renewed focus on the Downtown Mall in advance of its 50th anniversary in 2024, said City Councilor Michael Payne. City officials are also discussing replacing dying trees with new ones, increasing the Mall’s accessibility for folks with physical disabilities, and adding more seating to make the Mall more about community than commerce.
This effort began as the community experienced a series of shootings on or near the Downtown Mall. In September, Daquain Anderson was killed on Third Street Northeast, just north of the downtown library. Last week, two teens were shot in the parking lot of the Omni Hotel — they survived. This past weekend, a man was killed and two others injured in a shooting at Lucky Blue’s Bar on the mall’s far west end.
The mall shootings have drawn broad community attention, but there have been others elsewhere in the city this month — particularly in the 10th & Page neighborhood. The sudden surge in gun violence has community groups once again talking about what we can do to stop it.
“We’re trying to transform the community,” said Bryan Page, a member of the local group the BUCK Squad, which formed in 2020 to practice violence interruption. (Read more about what the group does here.) “People need resources. Kids need something to do.”
Other groups have drawn similar conclusions. We devoted Friday’s newsletters to highlighting the work of some of these groups. If you missed it, here’s a link to the online version:
Newsletter: “Our kids are dying” — gun violence again spikes in Charlottesville
Thank you for being here,
Jessie Higgins, managing editor
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