About Us

Historic Route One in its Hey Day…

As the main east coast thoroughfare between Maine and Florida, Route 1 was once home to a vibrant community. The “Pike” was brimming with life. Tourist attractions, lodging, restaurants, and noteworthy local restaurants were plentiful…a drive-in theatre here, a golf course there…with several popular swimming lakes dotting the landscape. These were interspersed with multiple grocery and department stores and many trusted “Mom and Pop” small businesses.

Neighborhoods sprung up within short distances of international industries and Bellwood Defense General Supply Center, all of which provided good-paying jobs. The bustling turnpike even boasted the nation’s first electric trolley line which connected Richmond and Petersburg.

The need for revitalization…

But then…in 1958 the section of Interstate 95 paralleling Route 1 in Richmond and Chesterfield was completed But that changed in 1958 when I-95 was completed. Commuters and tourists began for the first time to bypass the many businesses and recreational destinations along Route 1. Motorists sped by at a faster pace toward their destinations with the Pike in their rear-view mirrors. As time went on, the loss of business took its toll and the area began to deteriorate. Sixty years later, the department stores, drive-in theatres, golf courses, swimming lakes, and even many restaurants, motels, and small businesses are gone or are unrecognizable. Progress moved west and moved on and the once vibrant Pike was left behind as progress moved on and moved elsewhere.

Fast forward to now. Comprising only 3.5% of the land area, we house 30% of the county’s industrial square footage. As an industrial powerhouse, we provide gainful employment opportunities, but industrial facilities drive down property values and make it harder to attract upscale development. It is more challenging and less enjoyable to live near industry. In 2018, our unemployment was 6.5%, compared to 3.6% countywide. *

Our homes are half the size and twice as old as our neighbors. Nearly half of our residents live in an apartment or a mobile home. We have significantly less education, make about half as much money, and have twice the poverty as the rest of the County.

These statistics illustrate instability, challenge, and hardship related to income, housing, education, employment, social/cultural barriers, etc. Intervention is required to restore an equitable quality of life. Without proactive efforts, this area, full of assets but left behind by progress, will continue to decline.

Time to ROAR

ROAR began in February 2020 as a group of community stakeholders sought to fill the need to build and support the social networks along Route 1.

Our Target Area

Our target area is a strip of Route 1 about 8 linear miles long reaching from the Richmond City /Chesterfield line on the north to BrightPoint Community College and Greenleigh Mobile Home Park on the South, the James River on our East, and the CSX Railroad to our west. As of 2018, about 20,000 people lived in our target area.


Local Projects / Collaborative Efforts

  • Route One In Bloom

    Route One In Bloom Community effort to beautify Route 1 beginning Spring, 2023 Storefront Beautification Project. Our goal: 10-15 businesses or organizations to beautify their storefronts or entrances with blooming plants.

  • Safety and Crime Prevention Coalition

    Safety and Crime Prevention Coalition A group of churches and businesses and local neighborhoods working together to promote community safety and prevent crime. 


Our Major Sponsors