Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mayor to Kick Off Richmond City Community Schools Initiative at Bellemeade Community Center This Saturday

~Event to include family activities, health screenings and health and wellness information~

The public is invited to the Richmond City Community Schools initiative Kickoff this Saturday, November 22 from 11a.m. to 3p.m. at the Bellemeade Community Center, 1800 Lynhaven Avenue. Mayor Dwight C. Jones will begin the event by officially announcing the initiative, which is a major collaboration between the City, Richmond Public Schools and community partners. Community Schools serve as community “hubs” designed to promote academic achievement, personal wellness, and holistic family and community stability through coordinated partnerships. The Richmond City Community Schools initiative is an outgrowth of the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Policy. Mayor Jones will be joined in launching the initiative by Richmond Public School Board Member, Dr. Derik Jones and Richmond Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Dana Bedden.

Saturday’s kickoff event will be filled with a variety of family activities, tours of the facility, basic health screenings, and health and wellness resources as well as other social services information. Through several upcoming engagement events and a combination of on-and off-site social, health and other wraparound services, Richmond City Community Schools will serve thousands of city residents each year.

“No one factor determines poor academic achievement; and no single intervention will improve educational outcomes in our city’s youth. That’s why I’m pleased that we are partnering with Richmond Public Schools and our many private and public partners, to address determinants that give rise to poor outcomes in the lives of our students, their families and their communities,” said Mayor Jones.

“This is the type of collaborative effort that will give our principals, teachers and staff the opportunity to continue to maximize and remove obstacles to student learning,” said, Dr. Derik Jones, Richmond School Board, 8th District. “I am pleased that the 8th District is part of the initial rollout of the Richmond City Community Schools strategy with implementation underway at Oak Grove-Bellemeade and Broad Rock Elementary Schools.”

“Schools are often the nucleus of a community,” said Dr. Dana Bedden. “By bridging access to quality health care, social services and community resources, we advance the improvement of academic outcomes for our city’s youth and the quality of life for our families.”

In addition to Saturday’s kickoff, Broad Rock Elementary School will host an open house in December to showcase programs and services being offered to the community through the Richmond City Community Schools collaborative. Cigna is joining the City as a major partner to support the launching of Richmond City Community Schools.

“Cigna is proud to be a sponsor of the Richmond City Community Schools initiative and to join Mayor Jones and so many community partners to promote good health and well-being,” said Julia Huggins, president, Cigna MidAtlantic. “Together, we can help our children achieve academic success and build a strong support system for them, their families and our entire community.” 

For more information about the Richmond City Community Schools initiative, please contact Keisha Smith (804) 646-0586 or by email at

Friday, November 14, 2014

Donate to the City of Richmond and Radio One Toy Drive

The City of Richmond and Radio One Annual Toy Drive has begun! Donations of new, unwrapped toys, books and clothing are being accepted at any City fire station, the Department of Social Services Marshall Street Plaza (900 East Marshall Street), Southside Community Services Center (4100 Hull Street Road), East District Initiative (701 North 25th Street), and at City Hall (900 East Broad Street) until 4 p.m. on Thursday, December 11.

All Radio One Richmond DJ’s will broadcast live from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on December 9, 10, and 11 to “PACK THE PODS” with donations of new unwrapped toys targeting children ages newborn to Age 13 at the Walmart Supercenter, 2410 Sheila Lane. On behalf of Richmond area Lowes Stores, Richmond store General Manager Michael Sida has already committed to donating 75 new bicycles for the toy distribution. Other drop off locations will be announced on iPower92.1FM; Praise104.7FM; and KISS-FM 99.3/105.7FM. Donations will be distributed to children in need within the Richmond Metropolitan area.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

City to Install Additional Pay Stations Near VCU Monroe Park Campus

The City will begin installing approximately 40 new parking pay stations, to
include 12 to 14 more in the VCU area in late November.

The locations for the pay stations near VCU are:

  • 600 and 700 blocks of West Franklin Street
  • 600 and 700 blocks of West Main Street
  • 300 through 500 blocks of West Franklin Street

The new stations, near the campus, are being placed in areas where there are no parking
meters and on-street parking is time-regulated with a two-hour limit.

The City began replacing parking meters with pay stations in the Central Business District in
2012. To date, approximately 125 parking stations have been installed.

It costs 75 cents per hour to park at a pay station. The meters accept credit cards, debit cards,
cash and coins. The machines dispense a receipt that must be placed on the dashboard and is
visible from the windshield.

To learn more about City services and programs, please visit

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Richmond and Henrico to Partner with Amtrak for Emergency Response Training

The City’s Office of Emergency Management, the City’s Fire Department along with Henrico County’s Division of Fire and Office of Emergency Management are partnering with Amtrak for a hands-on training that will demonstrate to first responders how to properly size-up and manage an incident involving Amtrak equipment. The two training sessions will take place at the Staples Mill Amtrak Station, 7519 Staples Mill Road, on Friday, November 7 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Media is invited to attend and watch the training for either session.

“Emergencies on the railway do not happen very often. However, it is important that we train with external partners, like Amtrak, to learn these incident-specific skills, so in the event that an emergency does occur, we are prepared to respond and assist those residents in need,” said Steven Pyle, Emergency Management Planner for the City of Richmond Office of Emergency Management.

Prior to the hands-on training on Friday, public safety personnel from both Richmond and Henrico will participate in 4-hour classroom sessions throughout the week of November 3rd that will cover topics to include railroad terminology and maps, past incident reviews, right-of-way safety, and passenger evacuation.

For more information, please contact Steven Pyle at (804) 646-5281.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

City Announces Reduction in Purchased Gas Cost

The city of Richmond Department of Public Utilities (DPU) announced today a 20 percent reduction in the purchased gas cost (PGC) rate charged by (DPU).  This decrease comes as a result of improved price projections and increases in natural gas usage over the summer.

Mayor Dwight Jones stated that, “By law, the city passes along the cost of the natural gas it purchases and delivers to its customers, dollar for dollar without any markup.  As we enter the heating season, I’m pleased that we are in a position to announce this 20 percent reduction in the cost. The city will continue to review and adjust the gas costs on a quarterly basis to reflect the price that DPU pays for natural gas.”

Beginning with the first natural gas bill received in November 2014, the PGC will decrease from $0.815 to $0.650 per Ccf (100 cubic feet of natural gas).  As a result, the average residential customer who uses 70 Ccf per month will pay approximately $91.99 compared to a current bill of $103.54, an 11 percent reduction in the total natural gas bill.

Across all energy sectors (electricity, heating oil, propane), natural gas prevails as the most efficient and economical choice of fuel for home heating, water heating, cooking and clothes drying. DPU offers information and programs year-round to encourage customers to better manage their utility bills and seek assistance before bills become unmanageable.  DPU also encourages customers to consider enrolling in the Equal Monthly Payment Plan in order to avoid large seasonal fluctuations in their monthly bill.  More information about EMPP and other programs is available by calling 644-3000 or visiting DPU’s website at

Remediation and Restoration Work Begins at Historic Ancarrow's Landing

~ Project completion targeted for the end of 2014 ~

Work is beginning in October for the remediation and improvement of historic Ancarrow’s Landing, a key part of the James River Park System. These efforts, first announced in May of this year, are being conducted through an agreement with ExxonMobil Oil Corporation, a successor company through merger to Virginia Carolina Chemical Corporation (VCC) the entity which occupied the site from the 1920s through the early 1960s. ExxonMobil voluntarily committed to the site’s cleanup and improvement efforts through the Voluntary Remediation Program by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) in 2010, a program encouraging hazardous substance cleanups that might otherwise not take place.

The Ancarrow’s Landing and historic Manchester Docks have long been thought to have excellent potential for Riverfront attractions and greater public use. The location, lack of through traffic, and limited flood protection had largely slowed efforts to improve the site over the years. The work will contribute to the City realizing the site’s potential and historical value.

Although conditions on the site do not pose any risk to users of the park areas, in order to improve the quality of the site and further ensure public health, a Remedial Action Work Plan was developed and approved by VDEQ to address select soils. Approximately 5,000 cubic yards of soil will be removed during the remediation process. Clean soil backfill, topsoil, gravel and vegetation will be imported onsite and used to restore the removal areas in accordance with the restoration plan.

“The city welcomes these changes to this important and historic area. Ancarrow’s Landing is a significant part of the city’s Riverfront Plan,” said Norman Merrifield, director of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities for the City of Richmond. “Once complete, this restoration work will make the park area more inviting for visitors and further enhance the City’s parks along the James River.”

Specific changes resulting from the restoration effort include:

  • Expanded parking areas for additional cars, trucks, and boat trailers
  • Reuse of several George Washington canal stones that are currently stockpiled and unused
  • Placement and use of tree islands and boulders to enhance and define the parking areas
  • Enhancement of the access trails from parking areas to the beginning of the historic Richmond Slave Trail
The City of Richmond Urban Design Committee approved the work plan and restoration plans in late May. All work is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

City Adopts Complete Streets Policy

~ City Administration begins development of guidelines for implementation ~

The City of Richmond achieved another milestone toward becoming a bike and pedestrian friendly city by adopting a Complete Streets Policy on October 13. Complete Streets is a transportation policy and design approach that helps make communities healthier, more livable, economically competitive and resilient. They are streets designed and operated to be safe, comfortable and convenient for all users regardless of age, ability or mode of travel.

Adopting a Complete Streets Policy was a recommendation of the Mayor’s Pedestrian, Bicycling and Trails Commission, the City’s RVAgreen Sustainability Plan, Richmond Connects and the Green City Commission. The Policy outlines the design and construction standards for sidewalks, public ways and public rights-of-way and requires that City transportation improvement projects provide appropriate accommodations to promote safe usage for all users.

“The goal of the Complete Streets Policy is to balance the access, mobility, and safety of all users while creating a stronger and healthier community,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “City residents as well as those who come to the city to work and play will all benefit from safer roads, more transportation choices, increased mobility and reduced pollution.”

The City Administration is working to develop guidelines for implementing complete streets in the City of Richmond as required by the City’s Complete Streets Policy. As detailed in Resolution 2014-R172-170, the City Administration has 12-months to develop implementation guidelines and incorporate those into the City’s “Right-of-Way Design and Construction Standards Manual.”