Friday, August 31, 2012

Minority Business Development in the City

A recent audit report (August 30) done by the City's Auditor suggests that operationally, the Office of Minority Business Development (OMBD) needs to make some improvements. The City plans to continue to improve upon having an inclusive agenda and appreciates the Auditor and the City Council supporting the City's efforts to include minority businesses in the economic opportunities that the City generates.

Even though areas where the office needs to be improved were highlighted, the audit report indicated that "OMBD has made a positive changed in minority participation" and "there has been a steady increase in spending with minority subcontractors since FY 2008." The report also states that the "number of minority subcontracts receiving payments has increased" and shows that the City has increased the universe of those firms doing business with the City of Richmond.

In just a few short years, City spending with minority business has increased by 60% - with spending increasing to $22.3 million in Fiscal Year 2011. For Fiscal Year 2012, OMBD is tracking at approximately $37.6 million. The City Administration has fought for unprecedented goals attached to City construction projects. The City has pursued goals of 40% participation for the schools construction projects and even more (50.25%) for the jail project. The City will see unprecedented levels of minority participation on over $250 million in City construction projects.

Mayor Jones and his administration wants to ensure that all businesses have a chance to participate where there is economic opportunity. This is part of the bedrock of the City's platform to chip away at the high levels of poverty our city has experienced for decades. The recent OMBD report is indeed constructive criticism that will allow the City to improve upon the already successful efforts.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Redskins Summer Training Camp Steering Committee Makes Final Site Recommendations

With the month of August coming to a close, the Mayor’s Redskins Summer Training Camp Steering Committee followed through as anticipated with final site recommendations for the location of the training camp in Richmond beginning in 2013. The Steering Committee has recommended City Stadium and Leigh Street (more commonly known as the Science Museum site) as two viable sites for the Mayor’s consideration.

The Steering Committee first convened on June 29, 2012, and indicated at that time that recommendations would be coming forth by the end of August. The intense eight-week review process was led by Steering Committee Chair Mike Fraizer.

Mayor Jones stated, “Mike Fraizer has clearly been our quarterback for this review process. He has led us down the field and gotten us into scoring position by bringing forth these two viable recommendations.”

Various site evaluation criteria were examined during the review, including football operation’s needs; the fan experience; development considerations, like land acquisition and zoning requirements; potential use for other times of the year; and economic development considerations, like business opportunity and tourism impact.  Fraizer explained that, “Using these screens and a disciplined assessment approach, we were quickly led to the most compelling sites for even deeper assessment work.  Implementation schedules and probable construction costs also drove our deliberations. The analysis has led to the recomm
The report presented to the Mayor today was largely the work of the Site Evaluation Subcommittee in concert with the overall Committee.  A Funding/Sponsorship Subcommittee will continue its work into the September/October timeframe, as the sponsorship framework continues to be refined. Mayor Jones said, “Several factors will play a role in determining the selection of the final site. Those factors include the desire for a location that will stimulate corridor growth and revitalization, the impact on tourism venues and retail activity, minimal execution risk so that the site is ready in time for 2013, and a site that activates a solid financing strategy to support it. Our work remains on a fast track and a final decision will be announced in a timely fashion.”

Bruce Allen, Executive Vice President and General Manager of The Washington Redskins said,  “We appreciate the dedicated efforts of the Steering Committee and are very encouraged by the two sites that have been recommended.  We look forward to continuing our work alongside Mayor Jones and his team to bring the project to fruition.”

A one-time investment of approximately $9 to $10 million will be needed to complete the project.  The investment is expected to yield economic benefit to the city in the neighborhood of $8.5 million a year for eight years.

“This is a world-class opportunity that I am pleased to have been able to help the city move forward in securing,” said Mike Fraizer.

City Stadium Rendering

Leigh Street Rendering