Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wall Street Again Upgrades Richmond Bonds


RVA now one step from top – 6 upgrades in 5 years 

 Standard and Poor’s (S&P) has upgraded Richmond’s general obligation debt rating to AA+, the next-to-highest rating possible. S&P specifically praised the city’s strong financial performance, including its strong reserves, continued investment in economic development projects and adopted fiscal and debt policies.

“This upgrade is proof positive that our financial and economic actions are paying off,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “Wall Street recognizes that Richmond is on the move. We’ve now earned six upgrades in five years, demonstrating that investors are confident in Richmond and our ability to make big things happen.”

S&P cited Richmond’s significant role in the regional economy, experienced management team, moderate per capita debt and manageable capital plan as significant factors in the decision to upgrade. The Mayor, along with members of Richmond City Council and city officials met with the three bond rating agencies in New York earlier this month. S&P issued the upgrade yesterday. Fitch and Moody’s affirmed existing ratings noting that city management has implemented prudent financial and debt policies and that the city’s debt burden is moderate.

“Solid financial performance is the foundation of everything,” Jones said. “It is especially gratifying that our management practices and economic development strategies have yielded these results given the challenging economic times the country has been facing. The six collective upgrades over the past several years have and will continue to save the city several million dollars.”

David Rose, senior vice president and manager of Public Finance for Davenport & Company, LLC, commented, “S&P’s upgrade is just the latest affirmation that the Jones Administration continues to manage the City’s finances in a prudent and fiscally responsible manner.  Overall, the City of Richmond enjoys credit ratings above those of Baltimore, MD and Washington, D.C.”

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mayor Jones on 50th Anniversary of March on Washington


Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones issued the following statement today following President Barack Obama’s speech recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington:

“Fifty years ago today, I was 15 and traveling through Washington, DC with my parents on the day Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his historic speech to this nation. Today, President Barack Obama also delivered a historic speech marking this 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. Reflecting on Martin Luther King’s lasting legacy and listening to the President today reminds me that I stand on the shoulders of the men and women who marched in Washington. I haven’t lost sight of the fact that I am an African-American mayor in a once terribly segregated Jim Crow city: the former capital of the Confederacy. My path to this seat in office is a direct reflection of the gains made as a result of the Civil Rights movement. But even as I reflect on the many gains and tremendous strides, I don’t discount the racial and cultural divides that still exists on many fronts and the work that still must be done. I am encouraged today to continue to follow Dr. King’s example: to lead with dignity and discipline. I am encouraged to stay focused on work to help close the wealth and employment gap, to combat poverty and to fight for jobs, progress and equal opportunity for all. I know that the gains that have been made won’t be turned back because a majority of Americans are looking at those things that unite us and move us forward. President Barack Obama himself is a symbol of that and his remarks today will go down in history as a beacon to the future for us all.”

Monday, August 26, 2013

City and CultureWorks Announce Arts and Cultural District Micro Grant Program


The City of Richmond and partner CultureWorks are pleased to announce the launch of the Arts and Cultural District Micro Grant Program. The Micro Grant Program is one of several recent city initiatives targeted to the Broad Street Arts and Cultural District. The purpose of the grant program is to increase the activity and vibrancy of the Arts and Cultural District through the combined effect of several, small grant funded projects and improvements.  

“Broad Street is Richmond’s front door and those that do business in the Arts and Cultural District are helping to put Richmond’s best foot forward,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “These grant opportunities will help these businesses be able to host and bring even bigger and better exhibits to the heart of the city and in turn show our visitors what a great city Richmond is.”

Two categories of grants are available; project support and capital improvements. Project support grants of up to $1,000 are designed to help fund special events, installations or activities presented within the boundaries of the District. Projects can be of any medium or cultural discipline and must have a component that is free and open to the general public. Capital improvement grants of up to $2,500 are available to fund items that can substantially increase an entity’s ability to host arts and cultural related activities for the general public.  

Applications for the program are now available on the CultureWorks website and will be accepted at quarterly intervals. To download the grant criteria and application please visit www.richmondcultureworks.org/. Applications will be reviewed by a panel convened by CultureWorks.

Applicants must be headquartered within the Arts and Cultural District. Individuals or entities interested in applying for the grant, but located outside the district can and should partner with a lead organization that is located within the Arts and Cultural District. 

First quarter applications are due by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 1, 2013.  Successful applicants will be notified in mid-November.

To learn more about the programs, incentives, and financing resources available to entities located in the Arts and Cultural District visit http://yesrichmondva.com/neighborhood-revitalization/Broad-Street-ArtBiz-District.