Tuesday, September 13, 2011

City Re-Opens Newly Renovated Belmont Library

Mayor Dwight C. Jones joined the Director of Richmond Public Library Harriet Coalter in a ribbon cutting ceremony today to reopen the newly renovated Belmont Library at 3100 Ellwood Avenue.

“I take pride in celebrating the new renovations, additions and exciting features of Belmont Library,” said the Mayor. “Investing in our City’s future through infrastructure upgrades and enhancing educational enrichment opportunities, such as those offered in our City libraries, is vital to the success of our City’s future generations.”

New library features include lighting, carpet, furniture, computers, an enlarged meeting room, teen area, and a new parking lot entrance. Renovations also included a Green Building Council approved roof system and new heating and cooling system to reduce the building’s carbon footprint. The library was originally constructed in 1956 with recent renovations beginning in the winter of 2010.

Mayor Jones first announced the library renovations in March 2009 during his biennial budget proposal to City Council. More than $9 million, over the term of the project, has been set aside to complete renovations to all City libraries. Renovations to the North Avenue Library and Westover Hills Library were completed in 2010 and the newly renovated Hull Street Library opened in August of this year. Renovation funding is provided through the “Building a Better Richmond” fund of the City’s Capital Improvement Plan.

New to the Belmont Library is the availability of Nook Simple Touch Readers. Funded by the Richmond Public Library Foundation, the Library's eReader project allows library patrons to borrow one of 36 Nook Simple Touch Readers. Each City library branch has four eReaders, which are preloaded with current selections from genres such as best-sellers, mysteries, and urban fiction.

Library patrons may reserve an eReader at any library branch or through the online catalog on the library’s website. Searching the catalog for the word Nook will bring up a list of all available eReaders. To check out an eReader, patrons must have a valid library card and photo ID, and be 18 years of age or older.

To celebrate the Belmont Library reopening, overdue fines on books and materials returned to the Belmont Library, from September 13 through 17, will be forgiven.

Monday, September 12, 2011

City Receives $1.2 Million Grant to Reduce STDs

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that the Richmond City Health District (RCHD) has recently been awarded a three-year grant to utilize community approaches to reduce sexually transmitted diseases (STD), one of only four grants awarded nationwide. The RCHD will receive over $360,000 per year as part of the CDC’s Approaches to Reducing Sexually Transmitted Diseases (CARS) Initiative.

“I commend the Richmond City Health District and the Virginia Department of Health for pursuing resources that will address the health concerns in the City,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones.

In December 2010, Richmond City Health District Deputy Director Dr. Danny Avula and CDC Prevention Specialist Ashley Halbritter collaborated with local organizations and city agencies to form the City-wide STD Coalition to work on the STD issues in Richmond. With help from over 30 coalition members, a grant proposal was submitted to the CDC, showing how the City of Richmond STD interventions and services would look if grant funding provided new resources.

“When we saw this grant for reducing STDs, we knew we had to apply”, said Dr. Danny Avula. “We’d just started the STI Coalition, and the grant was a perfect match for the community-based approach we are trying to establish to address extraordinarily high rates of sexually transmitted infection in the Richmond community”.

Funding will be distributed to partnering community agencies that work with the RCHD to conduct STD prevention and provide treatment services. The Coalition will implement innovative strategies to address the STD issues with the goal of lowering STD rates, reducing health disparities, and encouraging healthier behaviors. “Identifying the health needs, enhancing prevention services, and increasing community awareness will improve the well being of our City,” added Jones.

CDC will also award grants to the University of Texas Health Science Center (San Antonio), Urban Affairs Coalition/ Youth Outreach Adolescent Community Awareness Program (Philadelphia), and the Health Research Association, Inc. (Los Angeles).

Mayor Jones Announces School Construction Awards

~Broad Rock and Oak Grove Elementary to have 44% MBE participation~

Mayor Dwight C. Jones to advised Richmond City Council that Martin Brothers Contractors, Inc. of Roanoke, Virginia has won the reissued bid for the construction of Broad Rock Elementary and Oak Grove Elementary.

Earlier bids were canceled in May of this year when the administration decided to scale back on noncritical features to reduce costs. The current bids have come in $5 million less and have achieved 44% minority business enterprise participation.

"Saving more than $5 million on these schools is precisely the outcome we were looking for," said Mayor Jones. "We are serious about building schools, but we're also serious about getting the best deals for the City of Richmond. I congratulate Martin Brothers Contractors on their successful pursuit of this opportunity and congratulate all the minority businesses that will be involved in the construction of these much needed schools for our city."

For Broad Rock Elementary School, Martin Brothers was the low bidder on the project with a bid of $19.3 million. The MBE/ESB participation goal was 40%, and Martin Brothers will be achieving 44.19%. The MBE firm Prestige Construction group alone will be performing 35% of the work.

The sub-contractors that will be used are:

Prestige Construction Group ($6,770,750 – 35%)

Sanger Roofing ($724,950 – 3.74%)

Bullock Painting ($250,000 – 1.29%)

Native American Sprinkler ($174,679 – 0.9%)

Dwight Snead Construction Company ($412,665 – 2.13%)

Cephas Contracting, Inc. ($111,935 – 0.57%)

Shen-Valley Masonry ($437,620 – 2.26%)

In addition, the City has issued a Notice of Intent to Award to Martin Brothers Contractors, Inc. for the construction of Oak Grove Elementary School. Martin Brothers Contractors was the low bid at $19.8 million.

The MBE/ESB participation goal was 40%, and Martin Brothers has committed to 44.28% MBE participation.

The sub-contractors that will be used are:

Prestige Construction Group ($6,943,300 – 35%)

Sanger Roofing ($640,000– 3.22%)

Bullock Painting ($185,000 – 0.93%)

Native American Sprinkler ($219,922 – 1.1%)

Dwight Snead Construction Company ($581,000 – 2.92%)

Royal Exteriors Royal Homes, Inc. ($215,425 – 1.086%)