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Showing posts from 2010

Mayor Dwight Jones Announces Richmond's Eligibility To Pursue Federal EDA Funding

Mayor Dwight C. Jones’ resolution to validate the City Administration’s process for completing a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) was adopted by Richmond City Council during its final session of 2010. The CEDS was completed by the Jones Administration this fall, and included public and private participation and leadership.

CEDS is an analytical document, which considers important economic development assets and opportunities, such as infrastructure, workforce development, target industries, and others. It makes strategic recommendations based on this analysis, and provides a framework and timeline for implementation of those recommendations. While the CEDS is an important tool to help the City achieve its economic development goals, it is also a prerequisite for access to many of the funding opportunities available through the EDA. Richmond's approved CEDS strategy has now been submitted to the Economic Development Administration (EDA) of the U.S. Department of Co…

Mayor Jones Part of Historic Delegation to Senegal

~14 U.S. city mayors guest of Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade~

Mayor Dwight C. Jones is part of a delegation traveling to the west coast of Africa for the World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures, an international gathering of musicians, artists, civil rights leaders and elected officials. The World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures will take place in Dakar, Senegal and the 2010 event is only the third time in 50 years that the event has taken place.

More than 200 African-American leaders will participate in the Festival, including groups from the National Conference of Black Mayors, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, and the National Association of Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. In all, the festival is expected to attract 60,000 participants from 80 countries.

Mayor Jones is one of 14 mayors that make up the U.S. delegation. The invitation was extended through the National Conference of Black Mayors. The Festival is being viewed as an important opportunity to hi…

Ice Rink Permit Update

City Agrees that Proper Procedure Should be Followed
~All necessary permits for ice skating rink have been applied for~

The city of Richmond's Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) today underscored that a building permit should have been issued prior to work beginning: however, no mechanical or electrical work for the downtown ice skating rink preceded the permitting process and that all permits have been filed for and approved. Questions about the permitting process were raised after the city's department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities constructed a wooden frame and filled the area with sand to ensure a level base prior to the impending installation of the portable ice skating rink. "All relevant city departments are being reminded that they are to determine whether permits are required for work even if that work seems routine," said CAO Byron Marshall.

"The only work that transpired prior to the permitting process was essentially the building of a sa…

City to Receive Green Giant Award for its Sustainability Efforts

The city of Richmond will receive the Sierra Club Falls of the James Group's Green Giant Award during the group's annual "Mistletoe and Holly" gala at the Science Museum of Virginia tonight. The city is receiving the award for environmental pioneering work, as it is the first major locality in the region to hire a sustainability manager and an energy manager to develop a comprehensive program to improve overall energy performance and increase sustainability. Among other items, the comprehensive program includes establishing a baseline greenhouse gas emissions inventory, retrofitting 220 intersections with LED lights by the end of 2010, and creating two new green alleys with permeable pavers to reduce storm water run-off.

"I thank the Sierra Club Falls of the James Group for this award. This recognition underscores my objective of developing and implementing sustainable policies and practices to conserve resources while creating cost savings for the city and taxpa…

Mayor Jones Announces Installation of Seasonal Ice Skating Rink

~Grand opening scheduled for December 22~

The city of Richmond is getting further into the holiday spirit as Mayor Dwight C. Jones announced the imminent opening of an 8,400 square foot ice skating rink. Work has begun to prepare the site for the installation of the rink, which is expected to be in place within two weeks. "Plan to get those ice skates out or rent a pair on site, but do prepare to come downtown and enjoy the skating pleasure this holiday season," said Mayor Jones.

Mayor Jones announced last year his desire to place an ice skating rink attraction in downtown Richmond. The city's new ice skating rink will be located adjacent to Center Stage at 6th Street on the Broad Street side. Children under ten will be allowed free admission, but will require adult supervision. The admission price for all others will be $5 per person. Skate rentals are $3 a pair for kids and $5 for adults. Rink users can bring their own skates.

A grand opening event for the rink is bein…

City of Richmond Places First in 2010 Digital Cities Survey

The city of Richmond placed first in its population range in the 2010 Digital Cities Survey which is conducted by the Center for Digital Government and Government Technology magazine. The survey measures and assesses the use of information technology by local governments which are categorized by their population size.

“I extend my sincere congratulations to the hardworking employees of the city’s Department of Information Technology for receiving this national recognition,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “Today’s tough economic climate requires us to continually rethink how business is conducted and services are rendered. Achievements such as this are reflective of the city’s efforts to improve service delivery, even when faced with fewer employees and smaller budgets.”

The first place ranking is a first for the city of Richmond in the ten year history of the Digital Cities Survey. The previous high of second was obtained twice, once in 2005 and again in 2007. The Digital Cities Survey is …

Mayor, City Council and School Board Present Unified Front

~2011 legislative breakfast with state delegation lays out legislative priorities~

Richmond, VA - The City of Richmond presented its legislative priorities for the 2011 Virginia General Assembly during a breakfast meeting with members of the state delegation. This is the first year that the Mayor, City Council and Richmond Public Schools have presented a unified legislative agenda.

"The Mayor, City Council and the School Board are figuratively and literally on the same page with our legislative program," said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. "In order for our city to reach its fullest potential it is imperative that we as leaders of this city - Senators, Delegates, City Council and Richmond Public School Board Members - work together to meet the needs of our residents."

The City is calling for help from the state delegation in moving forward with educational opportunities for all of Richmond's children; reducing urban blight; increasing economic development; creating and…

Mayor Jones Statement on Marcus Jones

Mayor Dwight C. Jones today issued the following statement concerning Marcus Jones, deputy chief administrative officer for Finance, and his appointment as city manager for the city of Norfolk.

"Marcus Jones' appointment to the role of city manager for the city of Norfolk is bittersweet for me. When I recruited Marcus to Richmond, I knew what a great talent we were bringing to our city. The work that he has done over the past 16 months has met or surpassed every expectation that I had. Marcus has the ability to build organizations and get the best performance from his staff. In the area of finance, he was able to curtail the use of costly consultants and restructure operations with city employees. Under his leadership, staff implemented programs that have resulted in significant budget savings. Marcus is a unique talent and it would be natural for my good friend, Mayor Paul Fraim, to lure him back. This is clearly an important move for Marcus' career, and he deserve…

Mayor Cites Taxpayer Costs and Conditions at the Jail as Drivers for Moving Jail Project Forward Now

Mayor Dwight C. Jones today issued the following statement reiterating plans to build a new jail at the current site:

“A modern and humane jail is critical for our City and is long overdue. We have given adequate attention and consideration to varying ideas for a jail. Now we must work against the city’s plans for a new jail being held hostage by competing political interests and indecisiveness. It was our duty to consider whether alternative proposals would likely save both time and money and we’ve done that. It is clear now that delay will only serve to cost taxpayers additional money and leave existing conditions in place that have for too long gone unaddressed.

“In order to improve safety and other conditions, a new jail has to be built as quickly as practicable. The current facility on Fairfield Way offers the clearest opportunity to build quickly and effectively. The fact that the city owns the land will keep costs down for the taxpayer and help avoid further scheduling delays…

City of Richmond to Adopt Electric Vehicle Pilot for City Fleet

Mayor Dwight C. Jones announced today that the city will launch an electric vehicle pilot for the city’s fleet. The announcement coincided with a visit from Ford Motor Company as part of Ford's "Charging into the Future Electric Vehicle Tour" that began in Portland, Ore. in August. Richmond was chosen as one of 14 stops where Ford is debuting the Transit Connect Electric demo vehicle. The following is Mayor Jones' statement from the press conference:

"I want to thank everyone for being here today. I don’t get very many "firsts" in life anymore; but today I've just completed another first for me - the driving of an all-electric vehicle. It's amazing to be standing here in front of Main Street Station - an historic railroad station originally built in 1901 - and today one can drive up in an all-electric powered vehicle. Main Street Station is a focal point for much of the city's multi-modal transportation efforts; like bus rapid transit, t…

Richmond Honored for Important Achievements in Sustainability and the Environment

The city of Richmond was honored recently with two important awards in recognition of its commitment to and achievements in climate protection and sustainability. On October 5, 2010, the city of Richmond received a Silver Award in the 2010 Virginia Municipal League (VML) Green Government Challenge during the VML Annual Conference in Hampton, Virginia. The VML will ceremonially present the award to Mayor Dwight C. Jones and the Richmond City Council at tonight's regularly scheduled city council meeting.

The Green Government Challenge is a friendly competition among local governments to encourage the implementation of specific environmental policies and practical actions that reduce carbon emissions. Local governments can earn between 100 and 124 “green points” by adopting policies or implementing actions in categories ranging from energy efficiency and green buildings to land-use and innovation. In addition, local governments can earn Silver, Gold and Platinum levels of certificatio…

City of Richmond and Chesterfield County Awarded $400,000

City of Richmond and Chesterfield County Awarded $400,000
~ Planning grant funded to revitalize 4.7 miles of Hull Street Road~

The city of Richmond and Chesterfield County were awarded a $400,000 grant as part of an unprecedented collaboration between two federal agencies. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) jointly awarded the funds to help stimulate a new generation of sustainable and livable communities, connect housing, employment and economic development with transportation and other infrastructure improvements.

The HUD-DOT funding will support 62 local and regional partnerships seeking to create a more holistic and integrated approach to connecting affordable housing, job opportunities and transportation corridors. The Richmond/Chesterfield collaboration is the only partnership in Virginia to be in the group of 62. The application being funded, which was filed in August, is to develop an inter-jurisdictional co…

City Receives Funding For Neighborhood Stabilization Program

The city of Richmond has been allocated $2.4 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to address foreclosed and abandoned properties in the Highland Park, Barton Heights, and Church Hill neighborhoods.

The city is partnering with Bradley Development, LLC, Housing Opportunities Made Equal, LLC; Lifetime Homes; Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity; Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority; and, Southside Community Development and Housing Corporation to redevelop and facilitate the homeownership and rental opportunities of the acquired properties.

Currently, 20 vacant and foreclosed properties have been acquired under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and are currently undergoing renovations. These properties will either be sold for homeownership or rented to persons whose total income is at or below the 120% Area Median Income (AMI). At least six homeownership opportunities will be created for pers…

Mayor Announces Manning as City's New Chief Service Officer

Mayor Dwight C. Jones today introduced Paul Manning as the city of Richmond’s first Chief Service Officer. As Chief Service Officer, Manning will serve as a senior city official, reporting to Chief Administrative Officer, Byron Marshall. Mr. Manning is charged with developing and implementing a citywide plan to increase volunteerism and target volunteers to address the city’s greatest needs.

Mayor Jones stated, “Paul Manning has a proven record as a senior level executive in the Richmond area in developing long and short term strategic business/financial plans; building financial, operational and administrative infrastructure which supports corporate objectives as well as, cultivating philanthropic donor relationships. In order to expand on our efforts to increase volunteerism, we needed an individual with the proven ability to provide proactive leadership in creating, developing and utilizing corporate resources to deliver growth of volunteerism in our city.”

Mr. Manning will be the l…

City and RPS Host Community Conversation on Educational Alignment for Young Children

~Richmond one of only four cities selected to host such an event~

The city of Richmond, in conjunction with Richmond Public Schools (RPS) and the National League of Cities (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education and Families are hosting Richmond's Community Conversation: Educational Alignment for Young Children on Wednesday, September 22, from 2 to 7:30 p.m., at the Richmond Convention Center. Based upon a review of efforts in 11 cities to improve outcomes for young children by third grade, NLC chose Richmond as one of only four municipalities to join with the NLC in planning and hosting local "community conversations" on this topic.

Richmond was chosen for the Educational Alignment for Young Children Initiative after interviews with Dr. Carolyn Graham, deputy chief administrative officer for Human Services, and other city and school officials. The Community Conversation will focus on educational alignment efforts and identify ways that community stakeholders can work togethe…

Mayor Calls for Enhanced Tax Relief for the Elderly and Disabled

~Proposal submitted to City Council for action~

Mayor Dwight C. Jones is calling for enhanced tax relief for the elderly and disabled for 2011 and beyond. The Mayor's proposal follows state tax relief guidelines, but streamlines the city's current program by simplifying the relief schedule.

The Code of Virginia allows localities to provide real estate tax relief to senior and disabled homeowners who meet certain income and net worth requirements. The city of Richmond has been providing such relief, but the structure under which the city has operated shows that Richmond is below the average of its peers for maximum income and net worth guidelines as well as per person participation.

"By streamlining the current program we can increase the number of participants and provide more relief to some of our most vulnerable residents," said Mayor Jones. "With making a few simple changes, we can provide additional relief to more people without exceeding the current budget.&qu…

City of Richmond Receives Several Digital Achievement Awards

The city of Richmond Department of Information Technology (DIT) was recognized for several digital achievements as e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government announced its 2010 Best of the Web and Digital Government Achievement Awards. The Digital Government Achievement Awards recognize outstanding agency and department websites and projects at the application and infrastructure level. The city received awards for the Richmond Public Library (RPL) Debt Setoff System in the Government-to-Government category, Land Use Projects Parcel Mapper in the Government-to-Citizen City Government category, CommonCents – Employee Budget Feedback Process in the Government Internal category, and an honorable mention for the city’s Traffic Accidents and Hazards web page in the Government-to-Citizen category.

“Congratulations to the hardworking employees of the city’s Department of Information Technology for receiving this national recognition,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “DIT is responsible for adminis…

Mayor Jones Announces $6.7 Million Positive Budget Surplus

~Proposes savings as well as funding for low-income GRTC ridership, household weatherization improvements and neighborhood blight efforts~

Mayor Dwight C. Jones today announced an estimated $6.7 million positive budget surplus for fiscal year 2010. The improved performance is attributed to the city's stepped up collection efforts, which have yielded $3.5 million more than anticipated, as well as tightened expenditure controls which have resulted in savings in overall expenditures for the past fiscal year.

"This Administration stands for well-managed government and we've been working to strengthen the city's financial operations and fiscal controls. Today's announcement reflects our improved controls and operational advances," said Mayor Jones. "As I assembled my finance team, I made a commitment to City Council that you would receive financial information on a more-timely basis. Not only is the information more timely, but it is welcomed news that gives us…

Mayor Jones Responds to Coliseum Study Interim Report

City officials, along with county and corporate partners, today received an update from the consulting team that was retained by the Coliseum Study Group to evaluate the long-term options associated with the Coliseum and the Greater Richmond area. Barrett Sports Group, LLC and Populous Architects, P.C. provided the update to the Coliseum Study Group, which consists of a group of private corporations and public sector entities.

"The market research thus far supports what we know about Richmond being an optimal location," said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. "Richmond is a sizable market with limited entertainment options. What we have to do now is get the right facility in the city to put us in a position to capture the events that will expand our tourism footprint where sports and entertainment are concerned."

A total of seven potential arena sites in the city of Richmond were reviewed in Phase 1 of the study. The consulting team has narrowed the options down to four location…

Mayor Jones Statement Regarding Port of Richmond

The Port of Richmond is owned by the City and managed by the Port of Richmond Commission. A special session of City Council is scheduled today to discuss issues related to the lease of the Port. Mayor Dwight C. Jones issued the following statement on the matter:

“Events in the last two years have resulted in questions concerning the Port’s long-term economic benefit to the City. These events include 1) worldwide economic downturn, 2) loss of the weekly trans-Atlantic shipments, 3) loss of the long-time Port operator, and 4) declining working capital for investments in infrastructure maintenance.

“The financial condition of the Port has deteriorated to such a point that it is not generating sufficient revenue to pay its expenses. In June 2010, the City Council appropriated $1 million in general funds to the Port to cover its operating expenses and authorized another $500,000 of in-kind or cash equivalents to address the immediate infrastructure maintenance needs. While this action was ne…

City of Richmond Announces Two-Year Extension with CAA

~CAA Men's Basketball Championship to remain at Richmond Coliseum through 2014~

The city of Richmond and the Colonial Athletic Association announced today a two-year extension of their agreement to conduct the CAA Men's Basketball Championship at the Richmond Coliseum through 2014.

"We are pleased that the CAA has agreed to extend our relationship at this time," said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. "This is a longstanding and very important partnership for the city of Richmond as well as the Richmond region and we are working to ensure that we will continue to have a relationship well into the future."

Last year, Mayor Jones set in motion a plan to address both short and long-term issues related to improving the Coliseum. Investments have been made to improve the current facility for the short-term, and for the long-term, community partners and business leaders are involved in a review to determine the best future approach for the Coliseum structure.

“Richmond has serv…

Richmond Partners with Chesterfield County for Hull Street Revitalization Plan

~ Planning grant filed to revitalize 4.7 miles of Hull Street Road~

Richmond, VA - The city of Richmond is partnering with Chesterfield County and Virginia Local Initiatives Support Corp (LISC) on a grant application through the jointly announced U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER II Planning Grant and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Community Challenge Planning Grant. The application is to develop an inter-jurisdictional comprehensive plan to revitalize 4.7 miles of Hull Street Road from just west of Belt Boulevard in Richmond to Walmsley Boulevard in Chesterfield, a commercial and residential corridor.

"This inter-jurisdictional approach toward corridor revitalization benefits everyone involved and maximizes the anticipated return on investment for each jurisdiction," said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. "We will be looking for a range of housing opportunities, unique communities offering a good quality of life including walk ability, nearby job opportunities and viable …

Contractor Assistance Loan Program Invites Pre-Applications

~Program to support working capital needs of under-utilized local businesses, especially minority, women and disadvantaged business enterprises ~

The city of Richmond's Office of Minority Business Development (OMBD), and Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) are inviting local businesses to submit pre-applications for financing under the newly created Contractor Assistance Loan Program. The loan program represents one of several measures being implemented by the administration of Mayor Dwight C. Jones to address the ongoing challenges confronting under-utilized small businesses and entrepreneurs. Access to capital is a persistent problem for many enterprises, and the Contractor Assistance Loan Program is designed to help those entities that would otherwise lack the financing necessary to pursue contract opportunities in the public or private sectors.

Earlier this year, Mayor Jones established a new department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) to move t…

City Names Interim Directors of Public Utilities and Public Works

Chief Administrative Officer Byron C. Marshall today announced that Letitia Shelton has been selected to serve as Interim Director of Public Works and Robert Steidel has been selected to serve as Interim Director of Public Utilities. Shelton and Steidel will begin to serve in their interim positions on Saturday, July 31, 2010.

For seven years, Steidel has served as the Deputy Director for the Department of Public Utilities. Prior to beginning city service, Steidel served as the Environmental Manager for the city of Hopewell’s Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility. Steidel replaces Chris Beschler who served as Director of Public Utilities as well as Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Operations. Beschler will continue to serve as Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Operations, overseeing the Departments of Public Utilities and Public Works, the Richmond Animal Care and Control agency and the 3-1-1 Call Center.

Shelton, a city employee for 12 years, most recently served as the Dep…

City's Neighbor-to-Neighbor Initiative Seeks Volunteers

The city of Richmond’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor program is currently recruiting volunteers to conduct well-being checks on the city’s elderly and disabled population during periods of extreme temperatures and to assist the city in operating cooling shelters when the temperature reaches or exceeds the 95 degree mark. Persons interested in volunteering for these efforts should log onto www.richmondgov.com/NeighborToNeighbor or contact the Neighbor-to-Neighbor office at (804) 646-7491.

Mayor Dwight C. Jones established the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Initiative to inspire residents, businesses and city employees to volunteer and develop a closer relationship with their neighbor, with an express focus to help the youth, elderly and disabled residents of the city of Richmond. If a resident is interested in volunteering for the positions detailed above or for a list of volunteer opportunities, please visit www.richmondgov.com/NeighborToNeighbor.

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Broad Street Corridor Improvement Project Getting Underway

The City of Richmond Department of Public Works (DPW) is beginning a Capital Improvement Project for corridor improvements on Broad Street from 5th Street to Adams Street. The initial work includes sidewalk replacement, adding tree wells, and planting trees. In addition, DPW will renovate and re-landscape medians and repair the existing irrigation system from 2nd Street to Adams Street.

“This project is the second phase of a four phase program designed to turn Broad Street into one of the most pristine streets in the city leading into the heart of downtown. The City of Richmond is the region’s core and we are continuously working to Build a Better Richmond. Addressing the gateways and commercial corridors like Broad Street is important to that vision,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones.

The project will begin on the east bound lane beginning at 5th Street and moving toward 4th Street. Construction is scheduled to start Wednesday, July 21, 2010 and run through October 2010. The contractor…

City Receives Shelter Plus Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

The city of Richmond has received two Shelter Plus grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to aid local homeless assistance programs. The HUD grants, totaling approximately $748,800, will provide critical support to the city’s housing and human services for homeless individuals and families. The city received $449,280 for the Richmond Shelter Plus Care – A Place To Start and $299,520 for the Richmond Shelter Plus Care.

“These programs are essential to the health and well-being of many homeless individuals in our city,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “Programs such as Shelter Plus provide rental assistance and day-to-day support services for the homeless, particularly those battling disabilities. We look forward to joining HUD in the fight to prevent, and eventually end homelessness in the city of Richmond.”

Shelter Plus Care is a program designed to provide rental housing assistance and supportive services on a long-term basis for homeless persons with disabi…

Jail Alternative Recommendations Ready for Consideration

Richmond CCJB finalizing plans to present to City leadership

The Richmond Community Criminal Justice Board (RCCJB) will meet to vote on the 2011-2012 Biennial Plan which focuses on alternatives to incarceration on Wednesday, June 9 at 3:30 p.m. The plan is being prepared to present to city leadership following Mayor Dwight C. Jones' charge for a review of alternatives and request for recommendations.

Last year, Mayor Jones, city officials and RCCJB members visited alternatives to incarceration models in three other cities. "The current overcrowding conditions at the City Jail have been a huge problem in the city for years," said Mayor Jones. "I'm convinced that the proper application of alternatives will successfully reduce our jail population and connect individuals to the services they need."

High priority recommendations expected to be presented today include:

Increase the capacity of specialty housing and homeless programs targeted to offenders with a his…

Mayor's Pedestrian, Bicycling and Trails Planning Commission Holds Inaugural Meeting Today

Pursuant to Mayor’s Order #2010-02, Mayor Dwight C. Jones has established a Pedestrian, Bicycling and Trails Planning Commission. This commission was established to provide city administration advice on ways to incorporate bicycling and walking as viable methods of transportation in the city of Richmond. The commission will hold its inaugural meeting today at 2 p.m. in the 2nd floor large conference room of City Hall, 900 East Broad Street.

“According to the City of Richmond Transportation Plan and the City of Richmond Master Plan 2000 – 2020, the city’s current transportation system is not friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists,” said Mayor Jones. “There are limited pedestrian or bicycle routes with limited signage; a lack of walking and bicycle maps and park and lock facilities; limited venues for the ease of exercise for disabled residents; and a lack of pedestrian and bicycle safety education resources.”

The recommendations made by the commission will lead to the creation of a Richm…