Thursday, December 5, 2013

City Technology Project Wins Multiple Awards


The City’s Department of Information Technology Public Safety Team continues to be recognized for the success of the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) program. The program is an American National Standard and has expanded to several 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) and alarm monitoring central stations across the United States.

The ASAP project was chosen as one of 15 Government Computer News (GCN) award winners for "Outstanding Information Technology Achievement in Government" in 2013. According to the announcement from GCN, this year's winning projects were selected from more than 200 nominations submitted to GCN, based on the degree to which a given IT project improved an agency's ability to operate more efficiently or serve the public more effectively. The City’s project team was formally honored at the 26th Annual GCN Awards Gala on November 19 in McLean, Va.

The City’s technology project won another award recently when Donna Roy, Executive Director of the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) announced the five Best of NIEM award winners during a November 6 event at the National Defense University in Washington D.C. The City was recognized for producing a major enhancement and conducting a proof of concept to ensure the integrity of the ASAP Message Broker Service. As a result of award, the ASAP project has become a permanent fixture in the NIEM Hall of Fame. As ASAP is a technical protocol, the Message Broker Service came about in 2012 with the addition of a main server (the Message Broker) for all of the alarm companies to connect to and the development of the main program that controls traffic coming from the alarm companies to ensure that the data is only routed to 9-1-1 PSAPs enabled to receive the data as well as perform validity checks on the data itself.

On September 9, the City was presented the 2013 Governor’s Technology Award during the 16th annual Commonwealth of Virginia Innovative Technology Symposium that was held in downtown Richmond. The ASAP Message Broker Service won the “IT as an Efficiency Driver, Government to Business”’ category. Secretary of Technology Jim Duffey and Chief Information Officer Sam Nixon presented the award on behalf of Governor Bob McDonnell. 

“Receiving these three prestigious awards for the ASAP project re-emphasizes the outstanding achievement by our City’s Department of Information Technology and 9-1-1 staff in providing excellent service to Richmond’s residents and businesses,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “I am pleased that Houston TX, Washington D.C., Tempe AZ, and other localities have followed Richmond’s lead in adopting the use of this standard. The benefits of the ASAP program are tremendous as it reduces 9-1-1 processing times, reduces response times by public safety responders, and provides a data exchange that is accurate and concise during the delivery of alarm notifications between alarm monitoring companies and 9-1-1 public safety answering points.”

Including these three awards, the City of Richmond has now won eight awards for the ASAP project.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

City Arts and Cultural District Micro Grant Program Announces First Funding Cycle Awards Totaling More Than $10,000 to District Organizations and Artists


The City of Richmond and partner CultureWorks are pleased to announce the first awards made through 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 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. 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 improvements 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.  

Grants awarded for the October cycle:

For Capital Improvements
Art6, $600
Upgrades to gallery lighting at 6 East Broad Street.

Ezibu Muntu African Dance and Cultural Foundation, $2,500
Upgrades to the Foundation’s studio space at 418 East Main Street.
  
For Project Support
1708 Gallery, $1,000
Enable the 4th Annual Monster Drawing Rally to be free to the public.

River City Poetry, $960
Support for the monthly River City Secrets performance art event.

Arts in the Alley, $1,000
Create three murals in Jackson Ward.

Richmond Symphony, $1,000
Support for five free Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra concerts.

Storefront for Community Design, $1,000
Eight month engagement of design exhibitions at the Middle of Broad+Storefront Design space at 205-207 East Broad Street.

Artist Terrie Powers with Visual Art Studio, $1,000
Community art project involving hand-painted flags installed in the empty lot adjacent to 208 West Broad Street.

Artist Andrea Vail, $1,000
Community-focused project involving reclaimed yarn woven into a new work of art, to happen at various locations within the Arts and Cultural District. 

Applications are accepted on a quarterly basis. The next deadline for applications is Thursday, January 2, 2014, by 5 p.m. Successful applicants will be notified in mid-February.

To download the grant criteria and application please visit www.richmondcultureworks.org/.

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

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

City’s Department of Public Works Receives Reaccreditation


~Commended for Strategic Plan and Electronic Ethics Training Standard~

The City’s Department of Public Works has received official notification of its national reaccreditation by the American Public Works Association (APWA). The City department became fully accredited in 2005 and was reaccredited in 2009. The current status is for a four year period, November 2013 through October 2017.
The DPW Team did a spectacular job working to review the standards and to update information within each to reflect enhancements to operating procedures and safety procedures in preparation for recertification,” said James A. Jackson, Director of the City’s Department of Public Works. 
During the reaccreditation process, three APWA evaluators visited DPW facilities and reviewed 157 of 364 standard practices applicable to DPW operations. The evaluators determined 156 or 99.3 percent of the practices were fully compliant.  Only one of the practices reviewed, or .6 percent, was substantially compliant. 
“The ability to maintain accredited status suggests leadership’s understanding and appreciation for sound, basic operating principles of a public works organization,” said Jackson. 
Of particular note is the visitation team’s decision to recommend the department’s strategic plan and Electronic Ethics Training standard as models for other agencies seeking accreditation status.
DPW is the fifth jurisdiction in the Commonwealth to receive accreditation. There are fewer than 90 accredited municipalities nationwide.
“That there aren’t more public works departments accredited may suggest something about the rigors of becoming accredited,” said Jackson.
Richmond DPW prepares for reaccreditation approximately 18 to 24 months prior to its evaluation.  
For more information on City services and schedules, visit www.RichmondGov.com