Friday, December 28, 2012

City Names Interim DCAO for Human Services


The City’s Chief Administrative Officer Byron C. Marshall announced today that Stephen W. Harms has been appointed as the Interim Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Human Services, effective Wednesday, January 2, 2013.

Mayor Dwight C. Jones said, “I’m very pleased that Mr. Harms is joining this administration. He brings great knowledge and a calming influence to a very important area of our city government.”

Harms who is currently retired, most recently served as the Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Tim Kaine. Prior to this position, he served as the Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources under Governor Kaine. He also served as the Deputy Secretary of Finance and Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources under Governor Warner, and was responsible for advising the Governor and Cabinet Secretaries. Harms also served as a Legislative Fiscal Analyst on the staff of the Senate Finance Committee, and as a Legislative Analyst for the General Assembly’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC). He holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Valparaiso University.

As the Interim Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Human Services, Harms will be responsible for the oversight of the Department of Social Services, Human Services, Libraries and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities. He will serve as the City’s liaison to Richmond Behavioral Health Authority and Richmond City Health District. His immediate focus is coordinating the reviews of the City of Richmond’s Child Welfare Practices by the Virginia Department of Social Services and the Child Welfare League of America.

Harms will serve in the interim position until a permanent Deputy Chief Administrative Officer is appointed. The recruitment process will begin on January 2, 2013.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mayor Jones Issues Statement on Connecticut Tragedy


Mayor Dwight C. Jones issued the following statement today on the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.

“My heart holds deep regret and sorrow as I learned of the tragedy in Connecticut today. On behalf of the entire Richmond community, I offer my sincerest condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims as well as to all of those affected by this tragedy. This type of nonsensical attack, as well as the recent Oregon shopping mall tragedy, are occurrences that can take an enormous toll on a community. It is my hope that we will one day live in a world that is without horrific events such as these.”


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mayor Comments on CAA Tournament Move to Baltimore


Mayor Dwight C. Jones issued the following statement concerning the CAA Men’s Basketball Championships move to Baltimore for the 2014-2016 seasons:

“Richmond provided a robust and competitive bid for the 2014-2016 CAA Tournament. However, after a long and successful history in Richmond, the CAA has notified the City that they will be moving to Baltimore following the 2013 season. We understand the move to be the result of conference realignments that have shifted the fan base of the tournament. With the changing landscape of the conference and the loss of two local prominent universities, it appears that the move to Baltimore fits the tournaments’ long term goals at this time.

“We have had a great partnership for twenty-four years with the CAA and have shared many successes. We wish the CAA well and thank them for the long history. With respect to what’s on the city’s horizon related to our Coliseum operations, our perspective is that when one door closes, another opens. Even with CAA proceeds and other events, the City subsidizes the Coliseum each year. We will now be able to expand our options going forward for possible future plans related to the facility.”

Monday, December 10, 2012

City of Richmond and Capital One Partner on Supplier Diversity Mentoring Program


Mayor Dwight C. Jones will be joined by Capital One executives to announce the launch of the Building Better Businesses…Steps to Success Mentorship Program. The City of Richmond and Capital One will introduce the 2012-2013 protégés of the program, which is designed to provide mentoring in the areas of finance, technical expertise, marketing, and operations. Capital One has graduated over 60 regional businesses from similar mentoring programs in other states. 

The City of Richmond selected ten businesses, located in the city of Richmond, for the 12 month program following an application and interview process. Capital One then chose a mentor to assign to each company based on their unique needs. The selected participants are all community-based minority- and women-owned businesses. Virginia Union University will support the program with the placement of interns in the selected businesses.

WHO:             Mayor Dwight C. Jones
                        Ed Maino, VP Procurement, Capital One                            
Dr. Adelaya Odutola, Dean of the Sydney Lewis School of Business, Virginia Union University
                        Vicki Rivers, Director Minority Business Development 
                                    
WHAT:           City of Richmond Launch of Supplier Diversity Mentoring Program

WHEN:          Tuesday, December 11, 2012
                        9 a.m.

WHERE:        Historic Main Street Station
                        1500 East Main Street
                        Richmond, VA  23219

City Administration Issues Statement on Department of Social Services Operations


Press Secretary Tammy D. Hawley provided the following statement today concerning the Richmond Department of Social Services:

“The City Administration has reached a mutual agreement with Dr. Carolyn Graham, deputy chief administrative officer for Human Services, regarding her departure from city service.  Dr. Graham’s last official day in the office was Friday, December 7, 2012.  Dr. Graham will be working with city leadership over the next few weeks to provide a transition plan for many of the important projects for which she had oversight responsibility. The City’s chief administrative officer, Byron Marshall, will serve as acting deputy chief administrative officer for Human Services until another interim deputy is named.

“The City remains focused on the ongoing review of the Richmond Department of Social Services (RDSS) Child Welfare division. At our request, the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) is continuing to review additional case files following the initial expedited case review the City requested. Although VDSS has not identified any need for corrective action at this time, the City has heeded the department’s suggestion that an outside review could also prove beneficial.  We are proceeding diligently to ensure that all necessary safeguards for child safety are in place. The Administration plans to engage a national agency to conduct a more in-depth review of policies and procedures at RDSS.  We would like this external review to begin in the next week.

“Because of a number of allegations the City has received, and while this investigation continues, the decision has been made to place the deputy director for Child Welfare, Gayle Turner, on administrative leave. Decisions will be made concerning overall RDSS staffing when the VDSS and external reviews are complete."

Mayor Dwight C. Jones added: 

“The Richmond Department of Social Services is charged with the tremendous responsibility of helping to protect families and children in the city of Richmond. We must be certain that the Department’s policies and practices are working effectively and that the agency is operating above reproach as child safety is not an issue where there will be any equivocation.”

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mayor Jones Issues Statement on Passage of City's Riverfront Plan

Mayor Dwight C. Jones issued the following statement today following the passage of the City's Riverfront Plan: 

“Richmond’s riverfront is such a great jewel and the passage of the Riverfront Plan is a very significant step for our city.  With this plan we have an opportunity to redefine Richmond through our spectacular Riverfront. 


“At the core of the Plan is a desire to create a single, cohesive Riverfront system that expands the use of the James River, and connects our Downtown, our neighborhoods, our visitors, and most importantly, our citizens, to the River.  The plan represents our long-range vision for the Riverfront and the beginning of what I believe will be a great and lasting public legacy.

“For decades upon decades, we have erected many barriers to riverfront access. I’m so pleased that we have, through this action, laid the framework to begin removing the barriers and creating solid connections to the River.

“With this plan we can improve the ability of people to get to, around, and across the river on foot and bicycle, by car or public transportation.  We are also setting important development guidelines.

“I am particularly pleased that we will now be in a position to transform many unique and underutilized spaces that can become distinct destinations for our residents and visitors from around the world.”

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mayor Comments on Enhancements to Redskins Summer Training Camp Agreement


Mayor Dwight C. Jones issued the following statement in anticipation of the City Council vote tonight on the Redskins Summer Training Camp Economic Development Package:

A little over a month ago we announced a $42 million dollar multi-site development and jobs proposal for the city of Richmond. This major announcement for our city came about as a result of the unique opportunity that we have to welcome the Washington Redskins Summer Training Camp to Richmond, Virginia for the next eight years. The Washington Redskins calling Richmond home is predicated on us delivering an acceptable training camp site. And after much work carried out by our Steering Committee and others, we then brought forward our plan to make it happen. But we didn’t just bring forward a plan to build a training facility, we brought forward an economic development plan for our city that includes enhanced health services in the East End and the West End, more jobs, economic growth and business expansion.
“This major economic development package is possible thanks to a great partnership with Bon Secours. And since we presented our plan, we have worked diligently to build a consensus of support on all fronts. We have been receiving the input and ideas of City Council members and others. And things have evolved precisely as we would have expected them to at this time.

“I am very pleased that everyone sees the benefit of our $42 million economic development plan. 
And now, through a series of anticipated negotiations, we have been able to enhance our plan to ensure that we have an agreement that all parties can feel even more confident about. Bon Secours has again proven to be a committed community partner; agreeing to an annual commitment of $100,000 per year for ten years for capital schools projects. We have also agreed to a change in the terms for Bon Secours lease at the Westhampton property. Bon Secours will pay an annual lease amount of $33,000. This is essentially the same amount Bon Secours would have been paying under our original plan, because of the field upkeep agreement. But what we will do is have those funds come directly to the City for disbursement.

“The City is also agreeing to dedicate the new real estate taxes that will be realized at the Westhampton property ($288,000 a year for ten years), for schools capital projects. We are also agreeing to another $32,000 a year from other new non-real estate taxes that are generated as a result of this overall development plan. Additionally, Bon Secours will endeavor to maintain the historic nature of the Westhampton School property as they have said all along, and have invited the Historic Richmond Foundation to work with them toward that end.

“To further underscore our support for schools, the City is also dedicating $195,000 each year for eight years for school’s program enhancements. We’ve identified this funding stream based on the estimated tax revenue impact of having the Redskins’ summer training camp in our city. Based on sales tax, meals tax, lodging tax and admissions tax revenue that we can expect to be realized over the three weeks of the training camp each year, we’ve essentially created a dedicated funding stream to support our schools. In addition, $60,000 a year for ten years will be designated from the taxes or as a Payment in Lieu of Taxes for the Leigh Street development site for school’s program enhancements to be determined by City Council.

“These changes combined essentially result in $6.3 million additional dollars being focused on investment in city schools over ten years. I see these changes as true enhancements and a win-win for all.

“For me, this settles the discussion as to what benefit would have gone to the school system had we outright sold the Westhampton property. With these agreed-upon enhancements, we have a net gain for our city – with the $42 million economic development gain that our economic development plan yields and we have a gain for our schools with the focused reinvestment of resources into our school system.

“I want to thank all members of City Council who have joined in this effort to reach a consensus, and I want to particularly thank Chris Hilbert for his leadership and guidance throughout this process. Councilman Hilbert has taken a good situation and made it only better and he showed leadership in doing so during a particularly trying personal time.

“The measure that we are moving forward today is precisely the type of outcome that we should be working towards as an outcome of our negotiations. We’ve worked very hard to reach a consensus and I’m anticipating a favorable outcome.”

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

City’s Department of Economic & Community Development Launches New Website, Video Series and Marketing Collateral


The City’s Department of Economic & Community Development (ECD) has launched a new website that includes a new video series and additional marketing materials. The new website, YesRichmondVA.com will continue to undergo additional development and beginning January 2013, will replace the current ECD website at RichmondGov.com.

“We are so pleased to roll out this new set of tools and marketing pieces that showcase the city’s many assets as well as the business and community leaders that support, promote and make Richmond a tier one city each and every day,” stated Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “The approach we are taking is designed to show the many strengths of the city and the diversity of opportunities that can be found here.”

In the fall of 2011, ECD began research and development on the marketing initiative, hiring economic development marketing firm Atlas Advertising and local creative professionals Terry Stroud from In Your Ear, Tim Dowdle from Dreams Factory and Daphne Reid from New Millennium Studios to spearhead the process. The team met with community members, interviewed national site selectors and business executives and based on the results from the interviews, developed a marketing plan for the City’s economic development program.

Lee Downey, Director of Economic & Community Development said, “Based on the research from across the country, we knew it was vitally important to differentiate ourselves, and name our strongest assets in just a few words. Being the capital of one of the best states in the country to do business is a significant fact. Adapting that statement to describe Richmond as creative, vibrant, or any of the other words that aptly describe the city was critical. So our website, videos and marketing pieces do that with the tagline, Richmond: Virginia’s ___ Capital, filling in that blank with the word that drives the story we want to tell.”

The City also worked with additional creative firms; The Branching, Studio 108, videographer Jason Parks and photographer Henry Stern to capture Richmond in action. Tim Dowdle of Dreams Factory stated, “A picture – and in this era – a video – is worth a thousand words.” Terry Stroud adds, “In four minutes or less, each of these five videos makes the case for why businesses should locate in the city of Richmond.”

The City partnered with Dominion to shoot interviews with local community and business leaders. Project Manager Justine Roberts noted, “Interviewing members of the Richmond community and hearing the unscripted excitement the interviewees have for the city of Richmond was very inspiring and it’s important to take what they said to a national audience. I think businesses interested in Richmond value that – the testimonials from real people who chose to locate here.”

Thursday, November 15, 2012

City of Richmond Welcomes RVA ON ICE For Another Season

The City of Richmond is proud to announce that RVA On Ice will be returning to Downtown Richmond this winter season. Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance announces their sponsorship of Farm Bureau Winter Park at RVA On Ice for the 2012-2013 season. Farm Bureau Winter Park at RVA On Ice is scheduled to open Friday, November 23, 2012 and run through Thursday, January 31, 2013. This is the third season of the downtown ice rink, which was a vision of Mayor Dwight C. Jones to have in downtown Richmond.

The 8,400 square foot ice skating rink is adjacent to Richmond CenterStage at  6th Street on the Broad Street side. Skaters can enjoy hot chocolate, S'mores, classic holiday music and movies, a fire pit and Snack Shack. Free arts and crafts sessions will be offered by the City of Richmond's Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Office of Cultural Arts Programs on Saturdays and other special events and appearance will occur throughout the season.

Hours of Operation

Wednesday - Friday    4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Saturday                        10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday                          10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Mondays and Tuesdays are reserved for private rink rental such as groups, corporate events, and private skating lessons.

Special Holiday Hours

December 24     Noon to 8 p.m.
December 25    4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
December 31    Noon to 10 p.m.
January 1           Noon to 10 p.m.
January 21        Noon to 8 p.m.

*Dates and times are subject to change based on weather and special activities.

Admission & Skate Rentals


Season Pass - $20.00
General Admission - $5.00 
Senior Admission (60 & up with ID) - $4.00 
Military Admission (with ID) - $4.00 
Children 10 and under FREE (must be accompanied by paid guardian) 
Skate Rental (Age 11 and over) - $5.00 
Skate Rental (Children 10 and under) - $3.00 


Please visit www.RVAOnIce.net for  more information about programs, events and to book an event. Tickets for Farm Bureau Winter Park at RVA On Ice are available at Richmond CenterStage Box Office. Please call (804) 592-5330 for more information.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mayor Jones Announces City of Richmond Earns IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge Grant


Mayor Dwight C. Jones today announced that IBM has selected the city of Richmond to receive an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant https://smartercitieschallenge.org/. The Mayor will receive the grant during a special recognition dinner this evening in Palisades, NY, following a day long summit of leaders from cities involved in the Smarter Cities Challenge program.

The grant provides the City with access in 2013 to some of IBM's top experts to analyze and recommend ways Richmond can become an even better place in which to live and work. Launched in 2011, the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a three-year, 100-city, $50 million competitive grant program.

“It is an honor to receive the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant as this resource of human capital will prove invaluable in moving Richmond forward as we continue our work of enhancing our economic and workforce development efforts,” said Mayor Jones. “Richmond is a city of great opportunity as we have a wealth of amenities that are not easily found in other cities. It is my hope that the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant will help us create an economic development tool that will improve the health of our city through the strengthening of our neighborhoods; an instrument that focuses on the community level to support the attraction and retention of neighborhood businesses.”

The program, which is IBM's single-largest philanthropic initiative, assigns a team of six top IBM experts to each winning city to study a key issue identified by the city's leadership. Well before the team arrives for its three-week pro bono consulting engagement valued at $400,000, the IBMers are already hard at work studying the city's issue. After they arrive, the team works with city officials to analyze data, and solicit the input of dozens of local agencies and advocacy groups. IBM then provides detailed recommendations for how the city might efficiently and effectively address the issue.

For year-three of the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge, cities around the world once again competed vigorously to benefit from IBM's talent. The winning cities proposed innovative projects and areas of focus for IBM experts. These included strategies that address: 

·         Economic and Workforce Development -- reducing local dependence on a single industry
·         Social Services - creating an ecosystem that supports independent living for a growing senior citizen community
·         Sustainability - setting policies around billing rates, electric vehicle use, and solar power generation on an upgraded power grid
·         Capital Budget Planning - enabling citizens to request expenditures, while analyzing their potential impact
·         Urban Planning - taking a more systematic, data-driven approach to housing policy, downtown revitalization, zoning, and permits

"Congratulations to Richmond, Virginia for earning an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant in 2013. Richmond distinguished itself among its peers by convincingly demonstrating its preparation and willingness to make the kind of improvements that will improve its residents' quality of life and become a smarter city," said Stanley S. Litow, IBM vice president of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, and president of IBM's Foundation. "We consider it a privilege to share with the city of Richmond the talent and expertise of our most gifted employees, who are the envy of the industry. They have premier skills in a range of disciplines -- all useful for helping to build smarter cities and a smarter planet."

In 2012, IBM provided expert counsel to 33 cities worldwide who had earned IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants. These included engagements in:

·         Cheongju, Korea, where IBM recommended smarter transportation strategies 
·         Dortmund, Germany, and Malaga Spain, where IBM formulated plans for economic, workforce, skills development 
·         Jacksonville, USA, where IBM outlined steps for downtown revitalization 
·         Louisville, USA, where IBM showed how the city could use data to identify, predict and mitigate conditions that trigger asthma 
·         Nairobi, Kenya, where IBM created a plan for traffic management  
·         Geraldton, Australia, where IBM suggested ways for the city to become a leader in smart grid technology adoption and digital services 
·         Curitaba, Brazil, where IBM suggested approaches to sustainability and citizen engagement

In year-one and two of the Smarter Cities Challenge, IBM completed work in 64 cities globally, deploying nearly 400 of its most talented experts who delivered concrete and measurable results to winning cities. 

Smarter Cities Challenge is a variant of IBM's Corporate Service Corps, a pro bono consulting program that assists government with projects that intersect business, technology, and society.  Since its launch in 2008, Corporate Service Corps has sent more than 2,000 of IBM's top talent based in 50 countries on more than 200 team assignments in 30 countries.  While Corporate Service Corps focuses on the developing world, IBM's Smarter Cities Challenge addresses urban concerns in both industrialized and developing countries.  

The Smarter Cities Challenge is sponsored by IBM's Corporate Citizenship program and IBM’s International Foundation. IBM has been a leader in corporate social responsibility and citizenship for more than 100 years.  

To learn more about IBM's corporate citizenship initiatives, visit: http://www.citizenibm.com/and http://www.youtube.com/user/citizenIBM. To find out more about IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants, please visit IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge at www.smartercitieschallenge.org.

Friday, November 9, 2012

City Street Paving Projects Move to the Fan and North Richmond


~Paving Projects Totaling $1,426,000 Million Begin This Month~

The City of Richmond Department of Public Works announced the continuation of city paving projects to take place throughout the month of November and into December. Paving work totaling $1,426,000 million, which begins on Monday, November 12, supports the City Administration’s commitment to improving the city’s infrastructure. Mayor Dwight C. Jones announced an aggressive infrastructure improvement effort in 2010 to repave 25 percent of neighborhood streets over a five year period. The following projects should be completed by mid-December. The project areas are:

    • North Richmond 11/12/12–11/21/12 
    • Brook Road between Brookland Park Boulevard and Lombardy Ave
    • The Fan Streets 11/19/12 – 12/21/12
    • Grove Avenue between Park Avenue to the Boulevard
    • Floyd Avenue between Cherry Street to the Boulevard
    • Hanover Avenue between Park Avenue to the Boulevard
There will be intermittent lane closures and/or street closures in the work zones and motorists are encouraged to use caution when driving through these areas.  Richmond Police will be in charge of traffic control therefore motorist and pedestrians must be mindful to be alert at all times throughout the construction zones.  The above scheduled dates may change due to inclement weather.

The above scheduled dates may change during inclement weather. To learn more about City services and programs, please visit, www.RichmondGov.com.

City of Richmond Hosts Health Care Symposium


Mayor Jones welcomes dignitaries and college presidents as panelists

 The City of Richmond is hosting the “Framing the Issues and Looking to the Future” Health Care Symposium on November 8-9, 2012, in the city’s downtown. The symposium will focus on the health care delivery system in the city of Richmond, with a goal of engaging the broader community in dialogue about ways to attract and retain health care practitioners to live and work in the city.

“This symposium is an outgrowth of the work of the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Policy,” said Mayor Jones. “That Commission highlighted the need for us to identify ways to add to our health care infrastructure in the city of Richmond. With this symposium, we are going to explore ways to encourage physicians to locate practices in the city of Richmond and we are going to consider what incentives we may be able to offer to spur interest in targeted areas of our city.”

"There is a long-standing shortage of minority physicians in the United States and we need more primary care professionals practicing in the most underserved communities," said former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary and The Sullivan Alliance founder Louis W. Sullivan, MD. "I commend Mayor Jones and his team for their creative approach to solving this urban health challenge. Their successful outcome could become a blueprint for urban communities nationwide."

Scheduled for Thursday, November 8, and Friday, November 9, the Symposium will bring together leaders from the city of Richmond, including government officials, health care practitioners, providers and executives, insurers, academicians, students, and other key stakeholders. Joining the City with support in hosting the event is Cigna. 

“Cigna shares a common goal with the City of Richmond, to help improve health and to foster a strong and vibrant community," said Julia Huggins, president and general manager for Cigna in the MidAtlantic. “We are proud to play a part in bringing together national and local leaders to address the important challenges facing our health care system.”  

On the evening of November 8, a reception will feature remarks from Mayor Dwight C. Jones. Joining Mayor Jones will be Dr. Michael Rao, President, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Dr. Louis Sullivan, Chairman and CEO, The Sullivan Alliance to Transform the Health Professions. The Mayor is also welcoming the presidents of Morehouse School of Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Charles Drew University of Medicine, Northeast Ohio Medical University and Science and Howard University College of Medicine.

Friday’s general session will be a solution-focused process focusing on capacity building for health care practitioners. The sessions will be facilitated by a host of distinguished speakers and moderators. 

Mayor Jones said, “Our overall goal is to improve the health care delivery system in the city. This is utterly important work as we know that the evidence increasingly shows that primary care is associated with improved quality of care and decreased medical costs. We absolutely must address the need for increased access to primary care.”

 This Symposium is part of Mayor Jones’ continued effort to improve the health and well being of city residents. Last year, the City hosted a Communities of Health Forum and the Mayor has also launched several city initiatives, commissions, and task forces focused on health and well-being, including the Pedestrian, Bicycling and Trails Commission; Breast Feeding Commission; Food Policy Task Force; and the recent Healthy Richmond Campaign.


College and university presidents visiting Richmond include:

David M. Carlisle, MD, PhD, President and CEO, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Jay Alan Gershen, DDS, PhD, President, Northeast Ohio Medical University

Mark S. Johnson, MD, MPH, Dean, College of Medicine at Howard University

John E. Maupin, Jr. DDS, MBA, President, Morehouse School of Medicine

Wayne J. Riley, MD, MPH, MBA, MACP, President and CEO, Meharry Medical College


For more information about the Health Care Symposium, please contact Keisha Smith at Keisha.Smith@Richmondgov.com.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mayor Announces Leigh Street (Science Museum) As Chosen Site for Redskins Summer Training Camp


~Bon Secours investment to spur multi-site development and jobs~

Mayor Dwight C. Jones today announced the city’s plan to develop the Leigh Street (Science Museum) site as the new home of Washington Redskins Summer Training Camp beginning in 2013.  In making the announcement, the Mayor also disclosed that Bon Secours Richmond Health System (BSRHS) and the City have formulated a comprehensive strategy to stimulate new economic development and jobs throughout the city.

“We are announcing an agreement today that has overall merits for the entire city,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “Our efforts have leveraged the world-class opportunity of bringing the Washington Redskins Summer Training Camp to Richmond into an estimated $40 million investment in our city with greatly expanded benefits.”

Components of the Bon Secours Richmond Health System letter of intent include:

·         BSRHS participation will enable the construction of the Redskins practice fields and sports medicine facility at Leigh Street (investment of almost $6.4 million over 10 years).
·         BSRHS will develop a medicine and related use property at the former Westhampton School property site as well as maintain the adjacent football field.
·         BSRHS will develop a medical wellness and fitness center and related use property in the East End adjacent to the Bon Secours Richmond Community Hospital site.

“This agreement, in partnership with Bon Secours and the EDA, places the city in a position to not only build the practice fields and field house for the Redskins, but to generate investment and business expansion throughout the city,” said Mayor Jones.

“Bon Secours is proud to join Mayor Dwight Jones and the City of Richmond in a partnership to bring the Washington Redskins training facilities and camp to Richmond,” said Peter J. Bernard, CEO of the Bon Secours Virginia Health System. “This agreement will allow Bon Secours to significantly expand upon our effort to build healthier communities across Richmond.”

The City will provide BSRHS with a long-term lease for use of the Westhampton School property site. The associated value of being able to develop on that site, without outright buying that site at market value, is being directed to the construction costs of the Washington Redskins practice fields and the development of Richmond Community Hospital in the East End.

According to Bon Secours, the Westhampton development is expected to generate 120 new jobs with a minimum payroll of $10 million annually while the East End development is expected to generate 75 new jobs and a minimum annual payroll of $5.7 million. With the addition of the Leigh Street development, the Bon Secours partnership will help the city of Richmond realize the creation of over 200 new jobs.

“Bon Secours’ relationship with the city and Mayor Jones’ administration has been a long and productive one,” said Bernard. “We have partnered in a variety of ways including revitalization efforts in the East End, particularly along 25th Street, the Nine Mile Road corridor and areas of Church Hill. We view this new opportunity as an extension of our commitment to the city – one that we are extremely excited to begin.”

Bruce Allen, Executive Vice President and General Manager of The Washington Redskins stated, "The Washington Redskins and our fans are excited about the team's summer training camp move to Richmond. We are grateful for the leadership shown by Governor McDonnell, along with Mayor Jones and his relocation steering committee, and want to thank them and Bon Secours Health System for their commitment to building a world-class training facility. We believe our Richmond training camp experience will become the model for all professional sports teams."

The economic impact of the three week summer training camp alone is estimated to be $8.5 million per year.  Development at Leigh Street will also stimulate retail activity in the Fan, Carytown and the Boulevard area and supports the city’s commercial corridor revitalization plans. 

The City of Richmond will make a short-term bridge loan to the Economic Development Administration to accomplish the overall Leigh Street transaction. The loan will be paid back to the City through rent and sponsorship dollars that will be collected by the EDA. The EDA will act as the official agent for the Leigh Street site and will lease the facility to the BSRHS for its use, other than during the six-week period when the facility will be for the sole use of the Washington Redskins.


Specifics of the performance agreement and transaction terms are still being finalized. A resolution will be introduced to Richmond City Council tonight expressing the Administration’s and City Council’s support for this development package and the formal papers that will follow.

Please click here to view the Washington Redskins Study.
Please click here to view the Economic Impact of the Redskin Training Camp in the City of Richmond powerpoint.




Cruise Ship to Include Richmond in Ports of Call


~“Yorktown” passenger vessel bringing tourists to the City~

The Cruise Ship “Yorktown”, which travels along the East Coast, is preparing to anchor at the River City’s Intermediate Terminal on Wharf Street on October 26 and November 1. The Yorktown is a U.S. Flag vessel and the trip marks the first time the ship’s passengers will disembark in Richmond. They will spend each day visiting historical sites in the City before boarding the ship for the next port of call. 

New York based Travel Dynamics International cruise line offers the weeklong cruises. The ship starts its voyage in Alexandria with its last call in Philadelphia. The Yorktown is 256 feet long, 45 feet wide, with a draft of 9 feet. It can carry 140 passengers and has a crew of 40. 

To prepare the Intermediate Terminal for the vessel’s arrival, the Department of Public Works and the Department of Economic and Community Development provided $13,000 for improvements, which included the addition of two mooring cleats and the installation of six dock bumpers.  A new draft survey of the dock turning basin also was performed.  Additional dock improvements will be made at a later date.  

For information on City of Richmond services, log onto www.RichmondGov.com
         

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mayor Jones Performs Official Plug-in at First Electric Vehicle Charging Station at Richmond Omni Hotel

Mayor Dwight C. Jones was joined by Virginia Clean Cities today for the opening of Richmond Omni Hotel's first public charging station. The City of Richmond has been an important partner in the Richmond Electric Vehicle Initiative --- a planning grant for electric vehicles through the Clean Cities Community Readiness and Planning for Plug-In Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure grant. 

“This effort fits into Richmond’s triple bottom line goals of the City’s RVAgreen plans of sustainability and will help lower greenhouse gas emissions in the city.” comments Mayor Dwight C. Jones. "The RVAgreen Plan supports electric vehicles and charging stations because they provide options that are more economically competitive and environmentally resilient than traditional vehicles."


Ford Motor Company chose Richmond as one of the first 25 "EV Ready" cities in the country and a launch market for its all-electric Ford Focus. 

"Electric vehicles and infrastructure represent an opportunity for individuals and businesses to advance energy, economic, and environmental security through reducing petroleum,” said Alleyn Harned, Executive Director of Virginia Clean Cities.

Prior to the official plug-in, Virginia Clean Cities hosted the Business Case for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Forum at the Omni Hotel. The event provided an overview of electric vehicles and presented the business case for installing electric vehicle charging stations. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

City Street Paving Projects Continue


~Paving Projects Totaling $1.4 Million Begin This Month~

The City of Richmond Department of Public Works announced the continuation of city paving projects to take place throughout the month of October and into November.  Paving work totaling $1.4 million, which begins on Tuesday, October 16, is in accord with the City Administration’s commitment to improving the city’s infrastructure. Mayor Dwight C. Jones announced an aggressive infrastructure improvement effort in 2010 to repave 25 percent of neighborhood streets over a five year period. The following projects should be completed by the end of November. The project areas are: 

  • October 16, Williamsburg Road between Hatcher Street and the eastern City limits
  • October 20, East Richmond Road between Oakwood Avenue and the eastern City limits
  • October 22, Belt Boulevard between Hull Street and Broad Rock Boulevard
  • October 24, Cowardin Avenue between Riverside Drive and Decatur Street
  • November 1, Hull Street between Jefferson Davis Highway and Belt Boulevard

There may be intermittent lane closures in the work zones and motorists are encouraged to use caution when driving through these areas.  

The above scheduled dates may change during inclement weather. To learn more about City services and programs, please visit, www.RichmondGov.com.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mayor Announces Clean Sweep Program in Residential Parking Districts


~Fan Permit Parking Zones 1-2 and Carver Permit Parking Zone~

Residents and visitors in parts of the Fan and Carver districts will soon see clean-up crews in their neighborhoods on a routine basis.  On Monday, October 15 the City’s Special Residential Parking District Clean Sweep Program goes into effect.  

The initiative is designed to enhance the cleanliness of designated areas by cleaning the sidewalks and tree wells; picking up litter; removing posters and advertisements from utility poles, street signs, and other areas located on public property; reporting graffiti, environmental issues, missing or broken street signs/lights; providing weed abatement and limited maintenance and pruning of existing vegetation in tree wells and planters.

Local Minority Business Enterprise, Community Business Group (CBG) won a contract for $250,000 to perform the service, following adoption of a resolution by City Council authorizing the use of certain increased parking ticket fines in the three impacted permitted parking zones. Mayor Dwight C. Jones, who recently displayed new equipment for the Downtown Clean and Safe Program said, “Maintaining clean, attractive and orderly neighborhoods is important to the overall vibrancy of our city.” “I’m pleased that CBG will now be offering these services in the Fan and Carver districts with the new Clean Sweep Program as well.”  CBG has operated the Downtown Clean and Safe Program, administered by Venture Richmond, for approximately 14 years. 

The following areas are included in the program:

(1) Fan Permit Parking Zone (1): Linden and Harrison Streets on the East, Franklin Street and Monument Avenue on the North, Lombardy Avenue on the West and Main Street on the South. This area covers approximately 26 city blocks.      

(2) Fan Permit Parking Zone (2): Lombardy on the East, Franklin Street and Monument Avenue on the North, Meadow Street on the West and Floyd Street on the South. This area covers approximately 22 city blocks.       

(3) Carver Permit Parking Zone: Munford Street on the East, West Leigh Street on the North, Bowe Street on the West and West Marshall Street on the South. This area covers approximately 16 city blocks.       


The Clean Sweep Program will be administered by the Department of Public Works. 

For more information on City services, please visit www.RichmondGov.com

Monday, October 8, 2012

City’s Finance Department Announces Changes in Leadership and Revenue Collection Strategies

The City of Richmond’s Finance Department is filling five key positions in the month of October while also enhancing its revenue collection strategies. A number of technology upgrades are expected to improve customer service and heighten customer outreach.

Sharon Judkins, the deputy chief administrative officer for Finance and Administration, stated, “For the past six months, I’ve been focused on rebuilding and restructuring the city’s finance operation. With these appointments, we are well on our way to making necessary improvements.” Positions being filled include Deputy Director II (10/22), Marlo Von Kemp; Deputy Director I (10/15), Paul Jez; Controller (10/8), Alvin Cannon; Economist (10/15), Michael Gilbert; and Business Management Officer (10/8) Muhammed Owusu.

A focus has been placed on revenue collection strategies and improving data integrity.  Steps being taken include (1) pre-billing notices to taxpayers, affording an opportunity to verify and clarify data, (2) more frequent file comparisons with the State Department of Motor Vehicles files, (3) address verification with third party databases, (4) timelier processing of returned mail and posting of credit balances. An upgrade of the billing systems software is expected to enhance timeliness of the billing process. The Department has retained the services of two new outside collection agencies to assist with the collection of delinquent accounts while continuing to use the services of collection attorneys.

“Ms. Judkins is proving to be the tremendous resource and showing the leadership that I envisioned when she was brought on board in March. Aside from getting key positions filled, I’m also looking for improved customer service and customer outreach,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones.

More than 70 new computers have been installed to improve the response time of desktop equipment, and new software has been installed in the customer billing system to improve functionality. Finance related calls to the city’s 311 Call Center are being realigned with the goal of improving customer care.

Judkins explained, “We still have more to do in the customer care area and plan to create a number of informational brochures and resources to assist taxpayers with information related to city taxes and other finance matters. We also plan to do a great deal of direct outreach in each council district as well as through all public communications mediums available for our use.”

Key upcoming dates that city taxpayers should be aware of include:

Motor Vehicles Pre-billing                                                  11/1/12

Admission, Lodging & Meals Tax                                       20th of each month

Real Estate billing (1st half)                                               11/30/12

Business, Professional & Occupational License                3/1/13

Business Property Returns                                                3/1/13

Tax Relief Applications                                                       3/30/13

Motor Vehicle Tax                                                               5/1/13

Business Property Billings                                                 5/1/13

Real Estate Billing (2nd Half)                                             6/14/13


Delinquent billings on all tax types will take place throughout the year when original due dates are missed.