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May 19, 2010

City prepares to celebrate 250th birthday

Reader comments (0) By Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The City of Charlottesville and several non-profit groups are planning for the 250th anniversary of the town’s founding. In 1762, Charlottesville was formed as an outpost along the Three Notch’d Road between Richmond and the Shenandoah Valley.

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City Council has set aside $50,000 for a celebration to mark the event in 2012, according to city spokesman Ric Barrick. Staff have been meeting with community leaders and potential partners to discuss how to proceed.

Download Download Ric Barrick's staff report to council on the 250th anniversary

“This event should represent a broad range of historic views of all backgrounds and cultures in our city, and should look at both topics we are proud of and topics that we are not proud of,” said Barrick.

Charlottesville's history will come into focus during the 250th anniversary (Click for larger image)
On Monday, Council approved the formation of a committee to formally plan for the event, which Barrick said would need at least two years of preparation.  Ideas to commemorate the 250th anniversary include the new art celebrating history, collections of stories, new tourism initiatives, and documentaries.

Councilor Kristin Szakos said one outcome of the city’s ongoing dialogue on race will likely be a renewed emphasis on teaching Charlottesville’s history.

“This is a great opportunity to begin building that,” Szakos said. She also encouraged the city to focus on efforts to market the event internationally.

Mayor Dave Norris warned staff against not stepping on the toes of groups such at the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, who he said has already begun planning for the event. Council directed staff to form a small group to assess current efforts to prepare for 2012.

“I just want to make sure this is all coordinated so that we can maximize the resources we do have,” Norris said.

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