Friday, December 10, 2010

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 highlight the role of art and culture in promoting economic development. "I'm pleased to be representing the city of Richmond during this international visit and look forward to sharing with others the work going in in Richmond for arts programming," said Mayor Jones. "In Richmond, we've been working with arts and cultural district collaborators and we are clearly such a center of creativity. I will be letting everyone know about our international jazz festival and inviting delegations to visit Richmond," said Mayor Jones.

While in Senegal, the delegation will meet privately with President Wade, participate in myriad Festival activities, and visit Gorée Island which is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in commemoration of the painful history of the Atlantic slave trade. "Being able to visit Gorée Island even as we approach the sesquicentennial celebration back at home is very meaningful to me and will enrich the whole experience for me," continued Mayor Jones. The Festival will foster dialogue between Africa, its Diaspora, and the entire world regarding the contributions of black cultures to humanity.

Mayor Jones will be in Senegal from December 10 - 17. The World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures is scheduled to run through December 31.


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Thursday, December 9, 2010

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 sandbox," said Ray Abbasi, the city's acting building commissioner. "The nature of the problem has been resolved and all permits have been issued. We are working with all parties involved with this project to ensure that proper procedures are adhered to and that all inspections are conducted according to USBC (Univorm Statewide Building Code). There is no reason to expect anything other than a sound structure that will bring much enjoyment to city residents and visitors."

The city announced last week that the new ice skating attraction will be opening on December 22 at 6 p.m. The rink will be located adjacent to Center Stage at 6th Street on the Broad Street side. Private donations funded the purchase and installation of the rink and admission fees are expected to cover much of the operating costs. 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.

Holiday hours are expected to be set for the rink with shorter operational hours anticipated after the holiday season. A final operational schedule is being prepared and will be announced during the grand opening.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

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 taxpayers," said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. "Also, our Sustainability Manager Alicia Zatcoff and Energy Manager Larry Burkett have done an extraordinary job in assessing the city's carbon footprint. These efforts are reducing the city's greenjouse gas emissions and improving overall energy efficiency."

Each year the Falls of the James Group honors an individual or entity that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to protecting and improving the environment of greater Richmond. This year's award recognizes the city's work for not only saving taxpayer dollars, but also decreasing the demand for oil and mitigating the harmful effects of climate change.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

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 being planned for the evening of December 22nd at 6:00 p.m. Holiday hours are expected to be set for the rink with shorter hours anticipated after the holiday season. A final operational schedule is being prepared and will be announced in the coming weeks.

“CenterStage is thrilled to have this wonderful rink in our back yard,” said Richard Parison, CenterStage Foundation Executive Director. “This is another wonderful attraction designed to bring families downtown to enjoy all the City has to offer. It’s great synergy to have an ice skating rink next to a performing arts center. I’m sure that children and families coming to see The Nutcracker will see this ice rink and plan to come back for skating, and those here to skate will hear about one of our fantastic shows!”

The ice rink purchase price and installation costs have been funded completely through donations to the city of Richmond. Initial costs for the rink along with the inventory of skates are approximately $155,000.

"I think lots of Richmonders and visitors to our city will enjoy the novelty of ice skating," continued Mayor Jones. "This is another way to bring fun and excitement to downtown and to provide a healthy outlet that can add to the physical fitness of our city."

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