Downtown Mall Celebrates 30th Anniversary

By: Sarah Batista
By: Sarah Batista

July 6, 2006

It's a milestone that most people dread, but Thursday the downtown mall celebrated the big 3-0 with pride. However, 30 years ago not everyone approved of the idea. Nancy O'Brien became mayor shortly after the mall was built.

"It was debated by the public, it was debated by people who own property down here and some of them liked it and some of them didn't," said O'Brien.

Even after it opened, the mall still wasn't a hit right away and business was slow. David Zentmyer remembers what the area looked like back in the 70's.

"I can remember when this was still a two way street downtown here, when the big department stores were still here," said Zentmyer.

A lot has changed since those days. Today, the outdoor mall has blossomed into a popular hang-out spot. Its trendy shops, theatres and restaurants attract people year-round and most of them will agree there's something charming about the atmosphere.

"It's tremendous for the City of Charlottesville and the community in general, people have started to come back downtown," said Zentmyer.

"I’m excited about what's gone on and what's going to happen," said O'Brien.

The festivities will continue through Saturday, July 8.

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