Tuesday, January 13, 2015

City Receives Grant and Will Upgrade Recycling Program

~ Funding will facilitate alley collection in some areas ~

Following a rigorous process involving municipalities throughout the southeast, Richmond has been selected as one of four cities to partner with Curbside Value Partnership (CVP) during a first of its kind private/public recycling agreement, called CVP’s The Recycling Partnership. The program will help the City move forward with plans to collect recycling in alleys in neighborhoods where trash is picked up in alleys. Currently recycling is limited to curbside pick-up.

Under the terms of the Richmond agreement, the City will receive nearly $560,000. Of that amount, $350,000 will be used to purchase the 95-gallon recycling carts, each equipped with a radio frequency identification device (RFID) tag tracking mechanism; another $210,000 will go toward an expanded community outreach/education campaign and the implementation of a six month phase-in program to begin alley collection at approximately 6,000 homes. The plan is to expand the program city-wide by the end of 2015.

The City is working locally with Central Virginia Waste Management Authority (CVWMA) and TFC Recycling to facilitate the phase-in program. CVWMA currently provides the recycling contract service with TFC, which collects curbside recyclables citywide.

Residents in the targeted phase-in areas will begin receiving carts and educational information about the program and how it works on January 16. As the program rolls out, residents will receive information ahead of the program coming to their neighborhood.

“I am extremely pleased that Richmond has been selected for this partnership. We’ve been working to increase our sustainability efforts and this grant will help us prevent waste and protect our natural environment by creating new products from used ones,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “I have long said that our supercans should be smaller than our recycle bins and this partnership helps move us closer to that goal.”

In addition, residents who use recycling carts will be able to utilize Recycling Perks, which is a program that rewards those who recycle by offering incentives from local businesses who participate in the program. The program has three key advantages: (1) promotes local merchants, (2) helps divert waste from landfills, (3) allows you to save money through discounts as participating merchants.

The recycling project originated with the Southeast Recycling Development Council (SERDC), but is now fully funded by CVP Recycling Partnership. Initially, 11 states recommended 20 municipalities in the southeast region for the funding. Ten of the recommended cities completed the process and four, including Richmond, Columbia, South Carolina and Florence, Alabama were selected. The fourth city will be announced by the end of the year.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Mayor Jones Statement Concerning Retirement of Police Chief Ray Tarasovic

Today, Mayor Dwight C. Jones issued the following statement during a joint press conference held with Richmond Police Chief Ray Tarasovic:

“I’m here to announce the decision of Ray Tarasovic to step down as police chief for the City of Richmond. Ray plans to return to a life of retirement and will officially leave the post as of February 20th.

“Chief Tarasovic and I have been in discussion for some months now about his plans. When Ray joined the City of Richmond in February of 2013, he allowed me to draw him out of what was a fifth retirement when he agreed to serve the citizens of Richmond again.  It was clear at the onset that he was here to fill a gap in leadership in our police department and that he was willing to do so for as long as necessary during my tenure.

“Ray has been an excellent police chief. I’ve appreciated all of the energy and effort that he has put into the job. He has worked with a real heart for the community of Richmond and the public that he serves and loves. When I think about my time as Mayor, I know I will always think fondly of Ray Tarasovic.

“The Richmond City Police Department has performed well under Ray’s leadership over the past two years. With his leadership, and that of his able and committed command staff, we’ve held steady on improving public safety in the city of Richmond. We have faced some challenges as all urban centers do, but there is no doubt that we have a police department that we can be proud of and that adds positively to the fabric our community.

“I want to take a moment to mention recovering officer William Turner, who was shot in the line of duty last week. I’ve remained in contact with Officer Turner’s family and our prayers and support remain with him and his loved ones. We’ll continue to do everything that we can to support all of our public safety officials and we’ll continue to work to find the necessary resources to provide increasing support.

“Concerning the leadership of the department going forward, considerations have already been underway for a replacement. We have some interviews and reviews to complete, and expect to be announcing a final decision by the end of the month.

“I offer my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Ray Tarasovic for this time that he has dedicated to the city of Richmond. We are wishing him all the best in his pending retirement.”

Monday, January 5, 2015

Mayor Jones Comments on 2015 Richmond City Council Leadership Elections

Mayor Dwight C. Jones issued the following statement today on the outcome of the City Council President and Vice President elections.

“I offer my congratulations to the new Richmond City Council President Michelle R. Mosby.  As the first African-American woman to be chosen to lead Council as well as one of the few women to ascend to the position, this is a truly historic and notable accomplishment.  I also offer congratulations to the new Richmond City Council Vice President Chris Hilbert.

“Our city has made significant steps forward and experienced tremendous progress over the past six years, to include today’s opening of the first high school built in Richmond in more than 40 years. As we enter 2015, Richmond is poised for many more great things to include the UCI Road World Cycling Championships in September! I look forward to working with the City Council president, vice president and entire council as we continue to move Richmond forward together.

“Additionally, I would like to thank outgoing City Council President Charles Samuels and Vice President Ellen Robertson for their continued dedication in helping to make Richmond a more vibrant and stronger city.”

Mayor Launches E-time Capsule with Huguenot Students

~ Richmond opens first new high school in 40 years ~

A grand opening ceremony took place at the new Huguenot High School this morning as students officially began attending classes at the first new high school to be built in the City of Richmond in 40 years. Mayor Dwight C. Jones marked the occasion by cutting a ribbon with Huguenot High School students and by participating in an official program with 4th District City Councilwoman Kathy Graziano, 4th District School Board Member Kristen Larson, Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden, and Huguenot High School Principal Jafar Barakat.

The occasion was also marked by the launch of a time capsule project called Hugh-E – a digital time capsule designed to capture the current student lifestyle as the new school opens. Hugh-E will be the current student body’s way of showing future students what life was like in 2015. Students were invited to submit photos, videos, music or any other digital submission that represents their perspective on current lifestyles. The project is expected to collect information on favorite artists, dances, fashion trends, social media trends, as well as documentation of trophies and awards and videos of performances and presentations.

“Every student needs to be a part of this project,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “This is our first foray into a time capsule project of this nature, and it may set a trend for other schools to follow. I’m very excited about using technology this way to capture what is important to this student body at this time.”

Hugh-E will be accepting submissions until April 30, 2015, and will officially close for good in September of 2015. Hugh-E will be housed in a display case in the gallery of the new Huguenot High School and will not be opened until the year 2035.

Aside from the gallery space the new 250,400 square foot school provides the student body with:

  • Sustainable design features, including extensive day lighting, rain gardens and a green roof (set to receive US Green Building Council LEED Gold certification)
  • Extensive wireless technology throughout
  • 1,000 seat auditorium with premier staging and sound production
  • State competition approved athletic facilities (Football, Track and Field, Basketball, Baseball, Softball and Tennis)
  • 3 court basketball gym
  • 3,500 seat football stadium

Monday, December 22, 2014

City to Replace 5th Street Bridge and 7th Street Bridge

~Major detours will be in place during construction~

Beginning the first week of January, the City will begin replacing the 5th Street Bridge over Leigh Street and 7th Street Bridge over Leigh Street.  Motorists and pedestrians who travel the area will be affected.  While the bridges remain safe, the weight load for each bridge was reduced several years ago due to on-going wear.

The $3.6 million dollar project is being funded through City and state funds.  The contract has been awarded to Corman Construction.

The work will take place in two phases from January 5 through August.The following changes will be in place during construction:

Phase 1: 7th Street Bridge over Leigh Street (January 5 to mid-May)

  • 7th Street will be closed at Clay Street to through traffic.
  • Clay Street between 7th Street and 8th Street will be a detour route. No on-street parking will be permitted from January thru May.
  • 8th Street between Clay Street and Leigh Street will be a detour route. No on-street parking will be permitted from January thru May.
  • The Coliseum Parking Garage will remain open; however, access will only be granted via 7th Street or Clay Street.  Cars must exit onto 8th Street.
  • Leigh Street will be closed to vehicles, pedestrians, and parking between 4th Street and 8th Street. No on-street parking will be permitted. Traffic will be detoured to Jackson Street

Phase 2: 5th Street Bridge over Leigh Street (mid-May to mid-August)

  • 5th Street will be closed at Jackson Street to through traffic. Traffic will be detoured to 3rd Street, south on 3rd Street to Marshall Street, east on Marshall Street to 5th Street.
  • Leigh Street will remain closed to vehicles, pedestrians, and parking between 4th Street and 8th Street. No on-street parking will be permitted.

Motorists are strongly encouraged to adhere to all detour and parking signage posted in the construction area.

Additional details can be obtained by contacting the project manager, Thomas Westbrook, with the Department of Public Works, at 646-3421 or at Thomas.Westbrook@richmondgov.com.

For more information on City projects and services, visit www.Richmondgov.com.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

2015 Pet Photo Calendar Issued by Richmond Animal Care and Control

~ Mayor, Richmond Fire and Police are featured with pets ~

The City of Richmond’s Department of Animal Care and Control (RACC) has launched a calendar project for 2015 featuring Mayor Dwight Jones, Richmond Fire and Police officials and others. The 2015 RACC Calendar is a fundraising and exposure project and sales from the calendar will go to the RACC shelter for medical/surgery costs.

“Our calendar showcases great places and faces of Richmond, and we believe it will become a sought-after item,” said Christie Chipps Peters, director of RACC. “While we are working to raise funds, we also hope the calendar will help generate more interest in adoptions.”

The calendar features 12 unique photos, with dogs and cats that are available for adoption at RACC. Special locations like the Byrd Theater and the State Capitol are also featured. “I believe there is something for everyone in this calendar, and I’m proud of the effort RACC put forth to produce this,” said Mayor Jones. “I’m collecting a few that I will use as holiday gifts since being at a conference table with Pit Bulls is definitely a first for me.” (See photo below) “We joked during the shoot that the dogs were at City Hall to discuss the number of fire hydrants needed in the city.”

Rachel Day, a recent VCU photography graduate donated her time and talent to the creation of this calendar.  The RACC Calendar goes on sale today, December 10 for $10.00 each. All funds will be handled by the Friends of Richmond Animal Care & Control, a 501c (3) group in the city of Richmond. Please contact Christie Chipps Peters at christie.peters@richmondgov.com to order a copy or stop by RACC at 1600 Chamberlayne Avenue, any City Police precinct, Carytown Bicycle Company, or the City’s Department of Public Utilities office on the first floor of City Hall to pick up a few calendars while they last.

RACC is the only open admission public shelter in the city of Richmond. RACC provides humane care for more than 3,000 stray, injured, lost, abused and relinquished pets a year.

Winter in RVA

Winter officially began on December 21st and lasts until March 19th. During these three months Richmond residents are often faced with times of severe cold which can be accompanied by winter storms that bring snow and ice. Winter Storms are often problematic because they often result in loss of power and communication, and can immobilize an entire region. It is important to be prepared to handle periods of severe cold, snow, and ice. During winter weather events consider minimizing travel on roads as most injuries and deaths are considered secondary and are usually the result of accident or injury. Take measure to prepare both at home and on the road. Consider keeping warm clothes and blankets in your vehicle and ensure your snow shovels are readily accessible in your home.

For more information and to obtain winter preparedness tips, please click here.

For information of preparing for a winter storm or other emergencies visit Ready.gov.