Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Mayor Stoney Announces the City of Richmond has the Highest Municipal Equality Index Score in Virginia


Mayor Stoney is proud to announce that the City of Richmond received the highest Municipal Equality Index scorecard in the Commonwealth of Virginia as determined by the Human Rights Campaign. Out of the 11 municipalities scored in Virginia, Richmond received a 94. Out of the 506 municipalities scored in 2018, the City of Richmond experienced the most significant score increase nationwide.
Richmond was named a “MEI All-Star” and spotlighted as a “city boldly leading the way to equality” in the Human Rights Campaign’s 2018 MEI report. 
“I am thrilled that Richmond has taken so many positive steps to protect and support our LGBTQ community,” said Mayor Stoney. “I have always said that no matter the color of your skin, the neighborhood you live in, or who you love, that you are welcome in the City of Richmond – and Richmond’s 2018 MEI scorecard echoes that message.”
Each year the Human Rights Campaign rates cities across the United States based on their initiatives to support LGBTQ communities. This process is called their Municipal Equality Index (MEI) scorecard where cities are scored from 0-100 on items such as non-discrimination laws, transgender-inclusive health benefits for city employees, inclusive workplaces, and LGBTQ liaisons in the city’s executive office, to name a few. 
In 2017, Richmond received a 42 on the MEI scorecard. By working with City Council to establish a Human Rights Commission and non-discrimination laws, designating a policy advisor to serve as the Mayor’s LGBTQ liaison, and offering transgender-inclusive health benefits for city employees, Richmond was able to increase its score by 52 points since 2017.
Richmond’s score increase is celebrated by state groups such as Equality Virginia, a non-profit that advocates for equality for LGBTQ Virginians, and Virginia Pride, an organization that provides support and resources for the LGBTQ community.
“The work for full lived equality begins in our local communities,” said James Parrish, Executive Director of Equality Virginia. “Equality Virginia applauds the efforts of Mayor Stoney and the Richmond City Council towards creating a city where gay and transgender people can live, work, and play free from discrimination. To see Richmond’s MEI score double in one year shows just how seriously Mayor Stoney values creating an inclusive city.” 
“The work that Mayor Stoney’s Administration has done to make Richmond a safe and welcoming place for LGBTQ community members to live, work, and visit is incredible,” said James Millner, President of Virginia Pride. “Mayor Stoney campaigned on making Richmond a more inclusive city that celebrates its diversity and he has kept his promise.” 
“I am delighted that Richmond is able to progress at this level,” said Mayor Stoney. “However, we would not have been able to make it this far without the help of officials, such as Councilmembers Parker Agelasto and Ellen Robertson, who were key in moving Richmond’s Human Rights Commission and non-discrimination laws forward in the city council.”
Fortune 500 companies look to the Human Rights Campaign report as a guide to where they may relocate as they need cities that reflects their values.
Local organizations have also demonstrated support of Richmond’s efforts to protect the LGBTQ community.
“Richmond is leading the way on a national level,” said Bill Harrison, Executive Director of Diversity Richmond, an organization dedicated to being a voice and resource for LGBTQ Richmonders. “Mayor Stoney is building bridges to make Richmond a stronger, healthier, and more prosperous city.”
“We are grateful for Mayor Stoney’s leadership to make Richmond a more inclusive place,” said Katherine O’Donnell, Richmond Region Tourism Executive Vice President. “Celebrating diversity and equality is important for Richmonders, as well as visitors. With tourism in our region continuing to grow, the Human Rights Campaign’s latest index score is a reminder to LGBTQ+ travelers that Richmond is welcoming, friendly and open to all.”
Mayor Stoney said that the news should be celebrated by the entire city. 
“We have come a long way over the past two years, and will continue our great work to make Richmond more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming.”

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Mayor Announces Appointments to Teacher Advisory Council



Composed of 19 teachers from across the Richmond Public School system, the council will help provide insight into what attracts teachers to Richmond and what will keep them living and working here. It will also offer input to the administration on ways the City can support students outside the school day so they can enter the classroom eager and ready to learn.

“Our educators are a valuable asset with a unique perspective on how to help our children,” said Mayor Stoney. “I look forward to hearing their ideas and I am grateful for their commitment to our kids.”   

The Council will hold its first meeting on Monday, October 15, and will convene bimonthly thereafter with strategic support from Brionna Nomi, doctoral student at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Education.

The Mayor has appointed 19 teachers to the inaugural MTAC representing the diversity of Richmond’s teaching force. They include:

Ms. Coretta (Cory) Adkins, G.H. Reid Elementary School

Mr. Derrick Bates, George Mason Elementary School

Mr. Joshua Bearman, Franklin Military Academy

Ms. Victoria Carll, Open High School

Mr. Brian Condit, Albert Hill Middle School

Ms. Christal Corey, Boushall Middle School

Mr. Marvin Gilliam, George Wythe High School

Ms. Mary Gresham, Richmond Technical Center

Ms. Giles Harnsberger Garrison, Albert Hill Middle School

Dr. Stephanie Hooks, Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School

Ms. Kieasha King, Woodville Elementary School

Mr. Chris Lombardi, Mary Munford Elementary School

Mr. Luis Luna, Huguenot High School

Ms. Catherine Marchetti, Maymont Preschool Center

Ms. Kerry L. Richardson, Barack Obama Elementary School

Ms. Ester Orellana, Huguenot High School

Mr. Darrell Turner, Blackwell Preschool Center

Ms. Elizabeth Wait, Armstrong High School

Ms. Mayzie Zechini, J.L. Francis Elementary School

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

City Launches “Change for RVA Schools” Campaign


Dine in. Take out. Build Schools. Click here to watch Mayor Stoney’s video.

Today the City of Richmond launched a new campaign, “Change for RVA Schools”, to promote and encourage dining in Richmond restaurants as a means to support funding for new school facilities in the city.

“The conditions in many of Richmond’s aging city schools detract from the positive learning environment our kids deserve,” said Mayor Levar Stoney. “Making a difference and creating positive change for our kids is deliciously simple; eat city food, help city schools.”


Every time someone visits a Richmond restaurant, 1.5% of their bill will go toward building revenue for new school facilities.

Residents will see ads on GRTC buses and messages posted via social media encouraging them to visit restaurants throughout the city.


For more information, visit ChangeForRVASchools.com and follow the campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Virginia Municipal League and Mayor Stoney Call for State to Fund the True Cost of Education



On October 2, 2018, the Virginia Municipal League (VML) adopted its 2019 legislative program, which includes support for funding the true cost of public education.

Specifically, VML calls for the Commonwealth of Virginia to recognize that the current Standards of Quality do not acknowledge the actual cost of educating students, which includes pupil transportation, school support staff, access to broadband and other necessary technology and competitive staff salaries. These operational costs are in addition to the necessary facility maintenance and construction costs borne by school systems across the state. 

Since 2009, local governments have taken on a much larger share of the funding, which has resulted in approximately $4 billion above the required local effort for Standard of Quality programs in 2016 and 2017.

“I applaud VML for acknowledging that the Commonwealth of Virginia needs to fund the true cost of education,” said Mayor Stoney. “Since 2009, Virginia has decreased state funding for K-12 education by an estimated $378 million per year. Expecting localities to make up the difference is unsustainable and irresponsible, and does an injustice to our children.” 

Mayor Stoney today announced that he will submit a resolution on October 8, 2018 that, if adopted by city council, would call upon the Virginia General Assembly to fulfill its constitutional obligation to adequately fund the true cost of education in Virginia.

“I am calling on leaders in other localities to join us and adopt similar resolutions that underscore our unified commitment to our kids,” the mayor said. “Localities need more money, for better schools, to build stronger students. Our children are counting on us, and it’s time for the General Assembly to step up.”

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Mayor Announces New Location for 2018 - 2019 Cold Weather Overflow Shelter



Working with the City of Richmond’s Department of Social Services, Mayor Levar Stoney today announced the City’s 2018 - 2019 Cold Weather Overflow Shelter will operate from the Conrad Center, 1400 Oliver Hill Way.

“Allowing some of our most vulnerable residents to spend another winter in the deplorable conditions of the old Public Safety Building is unacceptable,” said Mayor Stoney. “That is why the City of Richmond will step up and relocate programs and services to a more suitable and accommodating city building as a temporary solution to provide safety and warmth this winter.

“The ultimate long-term goal is to find permanent, suitable housing for all of our citizens year-round, so that we don’t have to have this same challenge every year,” the mayor continued. “That is why I am pleased to support Councilwoman Robertson’s ordinance that would require the city to develop a strategic plan to address homelessness.”

The City of Richmond has previously operated the cold weather shelter at the city’s Public Safety Building, 501 N. 9th Street, to help prevent the possibility of hypothermia of citizens during extremely cold weather, when wind chill or temperature forecasts reach or drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, from October 1 through April 15. The Conrad Center, which is currently being used by the Office of Community Wealth Building (CWB), will have suitable restrooms, reliable heat and enough sleeping space to accommodate 150 to 175 persons. During the coming winter season, CWB services will transfer to the East District Initiative, located at 701 N. 25th Street.

“In an ideal scenario, we would have an organization or a ministry that would have been able to step up and commit to providing shelter from the extreme cold for people during the winter months, and that organization or ministry would have access to a site in a neighborhood filled with residents who embraced the opportunity to help people in need,” said Reggie Gordon, Interim DCAO for Human Services. “That did not happen. Therefore, the city will step up with the Conrad Center and we will rely on the existing shelter providers in the homeless services system, hoping that they, too, will be able to expand their bed space on the coldest nights.”

Gordon said citizens should make plans now for the cold weather or take advantage of existing bed space in the homeless services system, so they will not have to rely upon the Cold Weather Overflow Shelter, which should be used as a last resort.

Additional Information:
Single adults needing overnight shelter are to call the Housing Crisis Line at (804) 972-0813 for a referral to the appropriate shelter. Single adults residing in the City of Richmond who are not eligible for existing shelter or are advised all available beds have been filled, should report to Commonwealth Catholic Charities (511 West Grace Street) to receive a referral to the Cold Weather Overflow Shelter.

Individuals seeking access to the Overflow Shelter must have a referral. Food will not be provided and pets are not allowed.

The Department of Social Services provides emergency assistance with gas and electric disconnection notices for City residents who qualify. Residents may also call the Fuel Line at (804) 646-7046.

The elderly or residents with disabilities should contact Senior Connections for assistance at (804) 343-3000, Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Office of Community Wealth Building Career Center services, previously offered at the Conrad Center will now be available at the East District Initiative, located at 701 North 25th Street.

Limited client services provided by the Department of Social Services at the East District Initiative will now be available at Marshall Plaza, located at 900 East Marshall Street.

 

Monroe Park Officially Reopened September 27



Monroe Park, one of Richmond’s oldest and most historic parks and public spaces, reopened on Thursday, September 27, 2018. 
Richmond Mayor Levar M. Stoney, VCU President Michael Rao, Monroe Park Conservancy President Alice Massie and other representatives from the city, VCU and the community participated in the ceremony. 
“Monroe Park is our Central Park,” said Mayor Stoney. “It is again a cultural, urban oasis, made possible thanks to the unique partnership between the city, VCU and Monroe Park Conservancy. The hard work and dedication put into the restoration of this welcoming greenspace will ensure this park provides respite, relaxation and enjoyment to city residents and visitors for years to come.” 
“Everyone at VCU will benefit from this magnificently restored Monroe Park, which now includes the necessary infrastructure to meet the needs of our 21st century community,” said VCU President Michael Rao. “Generations of Richmonders have used and loved this park, including VCU faculty, staff, students and alumni. For many, it has been part of their educational experience. It has been a pleasure to collaborate with the Monroe Park Conservancy and City of Richmond to restore this park.” 
This progressive collaboration has resulted in the first comprehensive renovation of Monroe Park since its creation in 1851. The conservancy, a coalition of representatives from the city, VCU and the community raised $3M for the renovation. 
This was matched by a $3 million grant from the city to complete the funding for the $6 million first phase of the renovation. The Monroe Park Conservancy has a 30-year lease with the city to operate and manage the park in cooperation with the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities. 
“The Monroe Park Conservancy is extremely excited to complete this first phase of construction; we look forward to the park’s future,” says Alice Massie. “Please visit this beautiful green living room. Bring a picnic, do some homework, exercise, enjoy the noise of the fountain, play ping-pong or bocce right here in the middle of the city.” 

The park was closed for this renovation in November 2016. The project was originally expected to take 12 – 18 months, but the construction schedule was delayed because of harsh weather last winter and unprecedented rainfall this year. 
Safety and security in the park will be shared by the Richmond and VCU Police Departments. A police substation, to be used by both RPD and VCUPD, has been installed in the Checkers House in the park. Security cameras have also been installed throughout the park.

In addition to the improved safety features, the renovation also includes: 
  • A complete restoration of the 1906 fountain, improvements to the railings and basin and a modernization of the water filtration system;
  • 132 new trees, more than doubling the tree count from the 2008 master plan;
  • More than 13,000 new plants and shrubs;
  • A .56 mile bioretention system around the perimeter to retain water runoff;
  • Permeable pavers at each entryway and around the fountain, with the capacity to store 
    and filter more than 25,000 cubic feet of storm water; 
  • 68 new low-energy usage LED pedestrian lights;
  • A ping pong table and game areas to include bocce, petanque and quoits
  • 20 tables and 80 chairs, all moveable;
  • Proximity to the Dominion Energy pavilion across from the Altria Theater and flexible event space for weddings, small musical performances and other activities. 
  •  
Monroe Park will be open dawn to dusk. For more information about the park, how to reserve space and other rules and regulations, please visit the conservancy website at monroepark.com

FOR MORE INFORMATION: 
Alice Massie:             (804) 516-3233  |  amassie@monroepark.com
Jim Nolan:                 (804) 646-3110  |  james.nolan@richmondgov.com
Mike Porter:               (804) 828-7037  |  mrporter@vcu.edu

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Update on North of Broad Development


After months of thorough negotiations, the city administration is pleased to report significant progress in its discussions with NH District Corporation on the proposed North of Broad Development. Negotiators for the city report consensus among the parties on Mayor Stoney’s key priorities regarding affordable housing, minority business participation and a new GRTC transfer station. “Things are moving in the right direction,” said Mayor Stoney, “While this is not a done deal, I’m optimistic our negotiations will continue to be productive.”
Before the terms of a Master Development Agreement can be structured, city officials and the city’s financial advisors must analyze the financing proposed for the project and will await results of a third-party review of the proposal by Hunden Strategic Partners. Further updates will be provided when they are available. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Mayor Stoney Announces New Director of Citizen Service and Response


Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced the appointment of Peter Breil as the city’s first director of the Department of Citizen Service and Response.

“The Department of Citizen Service and Response was recently created to improve service delivery and enhance citizen engagement, and Peter’s background and experience make him the right person for the job,” said Mayor Stoney. “I am looking forward to the ideas and leadership Peter will bring to this department to help better connect City Hall to city residents.”

A Richmond resident for the last 11 years, Breil brings a wealth of experience to the new department, including over 15 years at Capital One and Time Warner Cable, where he served in various leadership roles. He has managed a contact call center and developed customer contact strategies to improve processes and performance.

Breil’s knowledge in developing operational metrics, reporting and data requirements will be critical in his leadership of the new department, which will oversee the recently launched RVA311 system and the City of Richmond’s call center.

Breil graduated from Virginia Tech. He holds a master’s degree in International Studies from the University of South Carolina and an MBA in Finance from the University of Pittsburgh.

“Richmond’s residents and customers deserve an efficient and responsive system to process their requests for assistance,” said Breil, who starts today. “I am excited about the challenge and the opportunity to use my data, analytics and relationship-building experience to improve citizen services in the city.”



Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Mayor Stoney Announces Significant Expansion of After School Programs for City’s Children



Multi-million dollar expansion of City-led public, private, nonprofit partnership will allow more than 1,000 additional RPS elementary and middle school students access to an after-school program.

Click here to see the video from the event.


Today at the Peter Paul Development Center in the city’s East End, Mayor Levar Stoney announced a major initiative to close the out-of-school time opportunity gap in Richmond.

Over the next two school years, the expansion of new and existing after schools programs will ensure that every public elementary and middle school in Richmond will host a quality, full-service extracurricular program, opening the door for more than 1,000 additional students to receive supervised care, ranging from help with homework to recreation and enrichment activities.

“Today, we’re celebrating a major step in our continuing effort to care for our most valuable assets, our children, not just during the school day, but after the bell has rung,” said Mayor Stoney.

“Students spend 80 percent of their time outside of the classroom, and our kids need something productive to do,” the Mayor continued. “Filling this critical time with quality programming that nurtures their bodies and feeds their minds takes all of us – public, private and non-profit partners -- coming together to ensure all of our children have the best opportunity to succeed.”

Nonprofits, including Peter Paul, the YMCA of Greater Richmond, and NextUp RVA, have committed to expanding their after school programs to new schools, and providing more slots at existing schools.

Philanthropic partners, led by Altria, the Community Foundation and the Robins Foundation reviewed the nonprofits’ expansion plans to identify and closed funding gaps, contributing close to $6 million for the 2018-2019 school year, $2 million more than last year.

“These programs will enrich the lives of our kids and also lead to better school attendance, greater resiliency to peer pressure and improved classroom behavior and academic performance,” said Jennifer Hunter, Senior Vice President, Communications and Corporate Citizenship for Altria.



“For every dollar spent on quality after-school programs, the community recovers anywhere from $3 to $5 in education and juvenile crime savings,” said Sherrie Armstrong, President and CEO of the Community Foundation. “By investing in our young people, we invest in the future of Richmond- its diversity, economic vitality and vibrancy.”


A shared donor fund will be housed at the Community Foundation to garner the resources necessary to support sustaining and expanding high-quality out-of-school time programming. The United Way will provide staff support to manage its coordination.

“We are delighted to celebrate this progress toward our shared goal of a city-wide system for kids and families,” said Kelly Chopus, President and CEO of the Robins Foundation. “We are committed to this effort because our children and our city deserve it.”

The administration and City Council worked together in the budget to help fund the expansion.

“The City Council has invested and will continue to invest in Richmond’s kids and families,” said Richmond City Council President Chris Hilbert. “Providing out-of-school programs is a shared priority by Mayor Stoney and the City Council.”

Richmond School Board member Cheryl Burke said the availability of out-of-school programs like the Peter Paul Development Center in the East End is vital to the success of the city’s children.
“We must continue to invest in our children in the classroom and in the community, and this is a great example of collaboration between the City, Richmond Public Schools and philanthropic partners.”

Today’s announcement marks another down payment on Mayor Stoney’s promise to advance the city’s commitment to its children by caring for the “whole” child. 



Earlier this year, City Council approval of the mayor’s budget provided funding to expand hours at city community centers, as well as funding for free GRTC bus passes for all Richmond Public Schools high school students. The FY 2019-2020 budget dedicates more than $1 million in the budget to provide wrap-around services for students and after-school programs.


“This is what One Richmond is all about,” said Mayor Stoney. “The administration, City Council, public, private sector, nonprofit partners and community groups all coming together. I applaud everyone’s commitment to come together, to work for each other and to build a better city for everyone by expanding opportunity for all.”

For more information, please contact:



Eva Colen, Mayor’s Senior Policy Advisor for Youth Initiatives Eva.Colen@Richmondgov.com


Scott Blackwell, The Community Foundation
sblackwell@cfrichmond.org

Thursday, August 9, 2018

City and RPS Administration Complete Review of Richmond Public Schools Capital Maintenance and Construction Accounts



The City of Richmond’s Department of Budget and Strategic Planning and Richmond Public Schools Finance staffs have completed a preliminary reconciliation of all RPS managed capital projects through the end of the 2018 fiscal year.  



As of June 30, RPS Capital Project Accounts have the following balances:


●      Schools Capital Maintenance (Award #500492)                    $ 5,119,182
●      Schools Capital Maintenance – Cash (Award #500840)           2,650,109
●      High School Athletic Facilities (Award #500493)                          568,000
●      Schools ADA Compliance (Award #500495)                                975,866
●      Schools Bus Lease (Award #500863)                                          771,093

                                                                                             Total: $10,084,251

The June 30th balance in the School CIP Planning and Construction is $12,235,946.

These balances are in addition to the $1.6 million Mayor Stoney included in the FY19 budget for RPS maintenance, and the $150 million investment the administration has made in new schools construction.

School Board Chairwoman Dawn Page said the reconciliation provides greater clarity to the resources available to RPS.


“The School Board welcomed the discussion to reconcile the funding sources between the city and Richmond Public Schools,” said Board Chairwoman Dawn Page. “We appreciate the collaboration with the city toward a common goal of providing a welcoming and enriched learning environment for the students and families we serve. This certainty will allow us to develop a plan of action and to request the necessary budget amendments to address the most pressing needs of the school district.”

“I look forward to the school board’s decisions on how to utilize these funds, and to working with them to advance the necessary amendments to Council,” said Mayor Stoney. “Having a clear accounting of these funds will help us provide better maintained facilities and positive learning environments to help our children achieve their potential.”


“When we work together, our kids win. Having clarity on these numbers is enormously helpful. I want to thank my team as well as the city’s for working so diligently on this,” said Superintendent Jason Kamras.



For more information on Richmond Public Schools, please contact Kenita Bowers at kbowers@rvaschools.net or call (804) 780 – 7100.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Richmond Receives Enhanced Credit Rating Outlook


This week, Moody’s revised upward its credit rating outlook for the City of Richmond, from “stable” to “positive,” and reaffirmed the city’s credit rating of “Aa2,” citing strong trajectories in the city’s finances and growing economy. Standard & Poor’s and Fitch also both reaffirmed their “AA+” credit ratings, which are considered highly rated and are just one notch below “AAA,” the highest possible rating attainable.

Following the visit last month to New York by Mayor Stoney and city administration leaders, Richmond received reaffirmation of its credit ratings from all three agencies in connection with its upcoming general obligation bond issuance. Richmond has once again been designated as “AAA” for Operating Performance by Fitch Ratings.

“I am encouraged that just 15 months after presenting our key accomplishments and progress to these rating agencies, Moody’s has issued this revised, ‘positive’ outlook, reaffirming the city’s improved and solid financial standing and upward trajectory,” said Mayor Stoney. “These strong ratings will save the city millions of dollars in borrowing that can be used to fund core priorities like schools and public safety.”

Chief Administrative Officer Selena Cuffee-Glenn added, “The city’s revised credit rating outlook has been accomplished with the tireless efforts of our finance staff. We are trending with strong operating results and an improved financial position due also to our large and growing tax base.”

David Rose of Davenport & Co. reaffirmed as much, saying, “Moody’s was clearly impressed by the mayor’s bold vision for the city and key accomplishments of the past 15 months. This upward revision to a ‘positive’ outlook reflects the continued strong momentum in Richmond’s financial performance, economy and tax base.”

In connection with these recent ratings, the city anticipates selling approximately $57 million of tax-exempt and taxable general obligation bonds for general capital and economic development projects by the end of July.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Mayor Stoney Announces Release of Monument Avenue Commission Report


The Monument Avenue Commission has completed a yearlong review and public engagement process examining the Confederate statuary of Monument Avenue and submitted its report to Mayor Levar M. Stoney. As promised, the full report submitted to the mayor is available to the public and can be found on the website, monumentavenuecommission.org

The 117-page report, prepared by the 10-member Commission appointed in June 2017, is a thorough review of history, recent events, public engagement and research on the Confederate monuments that, as the Commission report states, has “been a source of pride and shame for the City’s residents since the time of their installations.” The report concludes with series of options recommended for consideration by city officials that suggest ways given the current legal climate in Virginia, “to determine how best to reconcile a particular landscape viewed as both sacred and profane.”

“Given all we have heard, read and learned, the Commission strongly endorses a comprehensive approach that creates an environment (and City) that celebrates the contributions of many diverse groups and acknowledges the darker chapters of the City’s past,” states the report, which was compiled by Commission co-chairs Christy S. Coleman, CEO of the American Civil War Museum, and Dr. Gregg D. Kimball, Director of Education and Outreach for the Library of Virginia.

“In the course of the work, it became abundantly clear the majority of the public acknowledges Monument Avenue cannot and should not remain exactly as it is. Change is needed and desired. The public offered many fascinating ideas, and the majority seemed to favor a multi-faceted approach.”

The Monument Avenue Commission does not have legal authority and its report is not binding on city government. But the commissioners recommend a number of options and opportunities for the administration and city officials to explore for Monument Avenue. Among them:

  • Adding permanent signage that reflects the historic, biographical, artistic and changing meaning over time for each monument, to be drafted by prominent academic historians subject to approval by the Public Art or Planning Commissions.
  • Creating a permanent exhibit that takes a deeper historical look into the history of the monuments, creating a mobile app and new film and video features that ensure the narrative about Monument Avenue is “consistent and historically accurate.”
  • Engage Richmond’s arts community to create “new contemporary artistic works that bring new and expanded meaning” to Monument Avenue.
  • Commission a monument that commemorates the resilience of the formerly enslaved, such as a work dedicated to soldiers of the United States Colored Troops.
  • Pending the outcome of current litigation or changes in state law, remove the Jefferson Davis monument and repurpose the site for a new monument. “Of all the statues, this one is most unabashedly Lost Cause in its design and sentiment,” the commissioners wrote.
“A holistic narrative acknowledges the emotional realities the Monument Avenue statues represent as well as other assets within the City,” the report states. “The options presented will require coordination between various groups within City government (Planning Commission and the Public Arts Commission) and – equally important – groups outside of it to implement the recommendations. The Commission also acknowledges one of the options will require a closer examination of existing law, outcomes of pending litigation and legislative action.”

In addition to research on the history of Virginia’s Monument Avenue, prevailing law and recent events, the report also includes data gathered through public engagement.
“We’d like to thank Mayor Stoney for convening this commission and for his faith in its members, and thank the residents of the City of Richmond for engaging with us throughout this important process,” Coleman and Kimball said in a joint statement. “It’s been an honor to serve.”

The convening of the commission, public engagement process and extensive research to produce the report marked the first time in more than 50 years that the City of Richmond has conducted a comprehensive review of Monument Avenue’s Confederate statues. During this process, the Commission received more than 1,800 letters and emails and solicited feedback from more than 1,200 people in public forums. Commission members, all volunteers, were not compensated and spent their own time and money to participate in the work of the Commission.

“On behalf of the City of Richmond, I want thank the members of the Monument Avenue Commission their service, and for taking on this responsibility at an important time in the life of our city and our nation,” said Mayor Stoney. “We are deeply grateful for their dedication, hard work and steadfastness to meeting the challenges of completing this task, which I consider to be a necessary step toward moving the city forward on this difficult issue and down a continued path of reconciliation and healing. I am especially thankful to Commission co-chairs Christy Coleman and Dr. Gregg Kimball for their countless hours and expertise in leading this distinguished group of scholars, historians and local public officials to promote a civil, civic conversation and expand our collective understanding of our history -- past, present and future.”

Mayor Stoney said he will take time to further study the report and urged others to do the same. 

 “Richmond has a long, complex and conflicted history, and the Confederate statues on Monument Avenue represents a shameful part of our past,” Mayor Stoney said. “As I have said before, the statues on this beautiful street are Lost Cause myth and deception masquerading as history. They are monuments to Jim Crow that do not reflect the qualities of inclusivity, tolerance and equality we celebrate as values in our city today. The Commission’s report is unequivocal in its affirmation that there is an overwhelming desire and belief they should not remain as they currently are. Something needs to change, and I could not agree more.”

A public presentation of the report to City Council by co-chairs Coleman and Kimball will be scheduled later this summer.

“This conversation will undoubtedly continue and I look forward in the coming weeks to reviewing this report in depth and exploring its recommendations with our administration, city council and various boards and commissions to see how we can translate the good work that has been done into concrete steps that move our city forward,” the Mayor said.

Key Narrative Excerpts from the Report:
“The statues on Monument Avenue have been a source of pride and shame for the City’s residents from the time of their installations. As the city has become more ethnically, politically and socioeconomically diverse, tolerance for the monuments’ artistic and cultural meaning has shifted over time. In essence it is a question of whether or not Monument Avenue reflects the citizenry and its values. It is for these reasons the commission was formed and tasked to determine how best to reconcile a particular landscape viewed as both sacred and profane.”

*

“In the course of the work, it became abundantly clear the majority of the public acknowledges Monument Avenue cannot and should not remain exactly as it is. Change is needed and desired. The public offered many fascinating ideas, and the majority seemed to favor a multi-faceted approach.”

*

“The sanitizing of textbooks in Virginia persisted well into the late twentieth century. It should be no surprise, then that the Commission heard such opinions in our listening sessions, despite several generations of academic scholarship that have largely corrected the historical record.”

*

“During the course of the meetings, it became abundantly clear that there were a number of historical inaccuracies being repeated by the public throughout the public meeting process about a number of topics related to the monuments. The Commission drew on the collective historical knowledge and collections of the Commonwealth’s preeminent state historical institutions, resulting in the website “On Monument Avenue” (onmonumentave.com). Likewise, the Commission drew on the collective research and publications of the scholarly community and other documented studies of Confederate memorialization.”

*

“We hope that the history presented here and on the Commission’s Website “On Monument Avenue” provides citizens with a common base of knowledge for discussing Monument Avenue and other examples of Confederate memorialization in the City of Richmond. The history also supports telling the story of the avenue in a variety of styles of interpretation and creating a robust dialog with the monuments. What the history cannot do is provide a definitive answer to the question of whether the monuments are appropriate as a representation of the city and its residents.”

The report also contains an Appendix that includes a number of source documents that may be helpful, including:

  • The Mayor’s initial remarks establishing the commission (Appendix A)
  • State laws governing Confederate Memorials (Appendix B)
  • City of Richmond Attorney Legal Opinion on the Monuments (Appendix C)
  • Data on Public Engagement
Key Dates:

June 22, 2017 – Mayor forms Monument Avenue Commission. Appoints 10 members to engage the public, explore ways to add context to existing Confederate statuary and suggest ideas for new monuments.

August 9, 2018 – First public meeting, attended by more than 500 people.

August, 16, 2017 – After tragedy in Charlottesville, Mayor expands scope of Commission to consider removal and/or relocation of monuments. Expresses his personal belief that the Monuments should be removed and/or relocated.

September 16, 2017 – Pro-Confederate Rally held in Richmond – Fewer than a half-dozen members of the Tennessee-based group New Confederate States of America (CSA II) show up at the Lee statue and are met by hundreds of counter protestors. Event results in no injuries and a handful of arrests.

November 14, 2017 – Monument Avenue Commission work session held.

January – May, 2018 – Delegations of commissioners attend small group meetings requested by community organizations.

May 10, May 19, 2018 – Final two public meetings held by the MAC and evening public work session to review findings from public engagement process and discuss elements of Commission report.

July 2 – Commission submits report to Mayor, following one-month extension to prepare and write the report
For more information, please visit monumentavenuecommission.org.