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.”