Departing Rachel Flynn: “Make the riverfront happen”

The views of the downtown skyline and the James River are tough to beatMelissa Scott Sinclair of Style Weekly caught with Flynn in a candid Q&A, where she talks about the Downtown Masterplan, the riverfront and the James, Echo Harbour, city traffic plans and more:

Flynn listened to people. The first big thing she did after being hired by Mayor L. Douglas Wilder as community development director in 2006 was invite the public to help shape a master plan that focused on the principles of new urbanism.

Flynn also rubbed people the wrong way. In 2009 her adamant opposition to Echo Harbour, a proposed riverfront condo development, had some City Council members calling for her resignation.

For her part, Flynn often expressed frustration with Richmond’s ponderous pace and old-school approach toward planning. Now, after five years on the job, she’s preparing to leave Richmond for a consulting job in Abu Dhabi, a coastal city in the United Arab Emirates. Style Weekly spoke with Flynn in her bright Manchester loft last week, surrounded by half-packed books and art, to take a look back — and forward.


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