The Richmond Maritime Child Development Center
Richmond Pays Tribute to the Minority Workforce of World War II
The Richmond Maritime Center is located in Richmond’s Iron Triangle, one of the most impoverished and crime-ridden neighborhoods in northern California. Once a busy childcare center during World War II, it has been closed since 2004. However, with the help of a $9 million allocation of New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) through NCCLF, the center opened August 10th, 2011 as the Richmond Maritime Child Development Center. The Center is part of the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front Memorial National Historic Park, which commemorates the role women and minorities played during the war effort.
During World War II, Richmond became the largest shipyard in the world. With millions of men overseas, low-income migrants and women were recruited to fill the labor shortage. The Richmond Maritime Center was built in 1943 to provide childcare for mothers working in the shipyard during the war. It was one of the first publicly-funded childcare centers for working mothers in the United States. The Center was open seven days a week, three shifts a day, to match the furious pace of the shipyard. But at the end of the war in 1945, work in the shipyard abruptly came to a stop, causing such severe damage to the local economy that Richmond has struggled to overcome it throughout its post-war history.
“The rehabilitation of the Center is vital for Richmond’s economy,” says Ross Culverwell, a senior loan officer at NCCLF. “The NMTC program is a cost-effective way to attract private sector equity investments into the revitalization of the city and stimulate economic growth.” The project is expected to create over one-hundred jobs as well as additional revenue for the park.
The Richmond Maritime Child Development Center is home to the administrative offices of the Richmond Community Foundation, as well as classroom space for Richmond College Prep, a K-5 charter school. The first day of the new school year opened with two classes of first graders and two classes of kindergarteners. The renovation also qualified the RMCDC for a LEED Silver certification, a construction standard that reduces negative environmental impacts and improves occupant health and well-being.
The iconic picture of Rosie the Riveter, with her sleeve rolled up and the words “We Can Do It” above, has long represented women’s immense role in the workforce during World War II. Yet for all the attention bestowed on her, the shipyard that employed the most women and minorities during the war was long forgotten. With the creation of the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front Memorial National Historic Park in 2000, these women and men are beginning to receive the recognition they deserve.
For another successful NCCLF project using New Markets Tax Credits, click here.