Monday, June 10, 2019

Mayor Stoney Announces Director of Economic Development

Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced the appointment of Leonard Sledge as the city’s next director of Economic Development.

Sledge brings more than 13 years of experience in economic development to the position. Throughout his career, he has led construction, renovation and retention projects for universities and municipal governments.

He has served as the Director of Economic Development for the City of Hampton and for the College of William and Mary. Most recently, Sledge served as the executive director of the Henry County Development Authority, which serves the southeast portion of the Atlanta metro region.

Sledge earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Morehouse College and a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering degree from Georgia Tech. He holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix. In 2019, he was named one of North America’s top 50 economic developers by Consultant Connect.

“The City of Richmond is growing and we need to make sure we pursue development that not only expands our tax base, but is community-oriented and expands opportunity for all of our residents,” said Mayor Stoney. “Leonard’s background in local government and his record of informed, principled decision-making indicate he’s the right person for the job.”

As the Director of Economic Development, Sledge will oversee the economic growth of the city, including business retention and attraction, real estate development and redevelopment, and small business development and support. He will oversee the administration of the City’s Enterprise and Opportunity Zones, as well as several economic development loan programs. He will report directly to Sharon Ebert, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Economic and Community Development.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to work with this talented city team, civic-minded stakeholders and the community to help Richmond realize its economic development potential and move the city forward,” said Sledge.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Statement from Mayor Levar M. Stoney on Resignation of Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael N. Herring

“Mike Herring has been an outstanding Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Richmond who has served the residents of our city with dedication and distinction for 13 years.

Mike’s keen and progressive legal mind, fairness and commitment to justice, both inside and outside the courtroom, has made Richmond a safer and more equitable place to live.

We will miss Commonwealth’s Attorney Herring’s steady and principled leadership in this critical law enforcement role, and I join the residents of the City of Richmond in honoring his public service and in wishing him well in the next chapter of his professional life.”

Friday, May 17, 2019

Richmond Receives Award from Government Finance Officers Association

The City of Richmond has received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its budget from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). 

“This is another mark of achievement in our efforts to maintain the highest levels of fiscal responsibility in Richmond,” said Mayor Stoney. “I congratulate our Department of Budget & Strategic Planning for this significant achievement.” The award represents a significant achievement by the city’s Department of Budget & Strategic Planning. Richmond had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation to receive this award. These guidelines are designed to assess how well the city’s budget serves as a policy document, financial plan, operations guide and communications device. Budget documents must be rated "proficient" in all four categories, and in fourteen mandatory criteria within those categories.

“I am very proud of our budget staff,” said Richmond Budget Director Jay Brown. “This recognition affirms the commitment we have to best practices.”

The most recent Budget Award recipients, along with their corresponding budget documents, are posted quarterly on GFOA's website. Award recipients have pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and provide an excellent example for other governments throughout North America.

Questions concerning this GFOA award can be directed to Michael Nixon-Garrison at (804) 646-7922 or by email:

Monday, May 6, 2019

Richmond Fire Department to Offer Free CPR Training to Richmond Public Schools Teachers

Mayor Levar M. Stoney today marked the first day of Teacher Appreciation Week by announcing a new partnership between the Richmond Fire Department and Richmond Public Schools to offer CPR certification to RPS teachers free of charge. 

The partnership is the result of a proposal by the Mayor’s Teacher Advisory Council (MTAC), a group of RPS teachers who provide insight into what attracts teachers to Richmond and what will keep them living and working here. The Virginia Department of Education requires all individuals applying for or renewing teacher licenses to be certified in CPR, which can cost as much as $150 per course. 

Mayor Stoney worked with Chief Melvin Carter of the Richmond Fire Department and Superintendent Jason Kamras of Richmond Public Schools to formalize a partnership that will allow RPS teachers to sign up for free training courses to be held monthly at RFD headquarters beginning in June. 

“Our teachers give selflessly of their love, time, talent, energy and resources,” said Mayor Stoney. “I’m pleased that collaboration across city agencies will allow us to alleviate this cost burden and further support our educators.” 

“Being able to respond swiftly in an emergency is a critical part of keeping our city safe,” said Fire Chief Melvin Carter. “The Richmond Fire Department is proud to be able to offer this life-saving training to the teachers who work so hard on behalf of our children.” 

“This is a great benefit for our teachers and we’re so grateful to the mayor and Chief Carter for making this happen,” said RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras. “It’s just another example of how we all get smarter when we listen to our teachers.” 

For more information please contact licensure specialist, Deborah Dailey at

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

City of Richmond to Co-Host Arthur Ashe Boulevard Dedication June 22

In partnership with the Virginia Museum of History & Culture (VMHC) and the Commonwealth of Virginia, the City of Richmond will co-host the official dedication of Arthur Ashe Boulevard on Saturday, June 22 at 11 a.m. on the museum’s front lawn, 428 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard. The dedication will include remarks from local and state elected officials and a ceremonial sign unveiling. The event is free and open to the public.

“This summer we officially honor one of Richmond’s native sons and humanitarians as we are telling the stories of ALL of RVA’s people,” said Mayor Levar M. Stoney. “Arthur Ashe is a true champion, and this recognition is well-deserved as he took what he learned growing up in our neighborhoods and used those experiences to make the world a better place.”

Growing up in Richmond, Virginia in the 1950s, and denied access to Byrd Park, the premier, all-white recreational facility, Ashe learned to play tennis in the city’s park for blacks, Brook Field. At 18, in 1961, Ashe became the first black player to win the previously all-white National Interscholastic tournament in Charlottesville, Virginia. Two years later, he became the first black player selected for the U.S. Davis Cup team. In 1968, he became the first black man to win the U.S. Open. But Ashe didn’t stop at the U.S. border: In 1973, during apartheid, he traveled to Johannesburg to become the first black player to compete in the South Africa Open. The memory of segregation-of separate but unequal - would lead him to become a lifelong integrationist, both in his words and actions.

“What an amazing time to be in the City of Richmond – a time inspired by the legacy of my uncle, Arthur Ashe, Jr.,” said David Harris, nephew of Arthur Ashe. “We want to thank the City of Richmond for your efforts in doing what is right. Together, we will show the world what can be done when we come together with purpose, generosity and intentionality for the greatness of our city.”

The event also coincides with the opening of the VHMC groundbreaking exhibition, Determined: The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality. Determined explores the black experience from the 1619 arrival of the first enslaved Africans in English North America to the present day. The exhibit traces the ways in which black people have profoundly shaped the course of American history and the nature of American democracy through their fight for freedom, equality and justice. Determined features dozens of artifacts that tell the compelling stories of a selection of remarkable Virginians, including Arthur Ashe, Jr. Click here to view the VHMC release further detailing the exhibition.

“We are deeply honored to host this important ceremony, and excited about what it means for the future of this historic institution, our great city and our Commonwealth,” said Jamie O. Bosket, president & CEO of VMHC. “It will be a special privilege to welcome dignitaries and special guests from our city, around Virginia and across the nation as we make an important step forward in remembering one of Richmond’s most famous sons and better tell a complete story of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

On June 22, the public will be invited to park at the Arthur Ashe Center, 3001 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard. Shuttles will operate on the Arthur Ashe Boulevard corridor to assist with public attendance.
The official sign unveiling will occur in front of VMHC beginning at 11 a.m. After the unveiling the museum will be open free to visitors to view the new exhibit.
In addition, the City of Richmond will be hosting an Arthur Ashe Boulevard Community Celebration starting at 1 p.m. at the Arthur Ashe Center. The community celebration will be open to the public and will include tennis clinics, musical guests, food trucks and more.

For more information on the VHMC, contact Lizzie Oglesby, Manager of Public Relations and Marketing, VHMC at or call (804) 342 – 9665.

For more information about the event, contact Tamara Jenkins, Public Information Manager, City of Richmond Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities at or call (804) 646 – 1087.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

City to Increase Fees for Work-in-Street Permit

In an effort to encourage a faster project completion turnaround time, which would return the public use of rights-of-way, the city is increasing the cost to obtain a Work-in-Street Permit, or WISP. The increase, approved by City Council, takes effect on May 1. This is Richmond’s first WISP fee schedule revision since 1982. 

The fee hike includes a $75 application fee and will be structured on a ‘pay-by-time’ format, which uses the day/week/month to calculate rates. There is no maximum fee. The current flat rate fees that range from $20 to $100 are being eliminated.   

Under the new schedule the exact scope of the planned work will be clarified and applicants will be charged based on that work and the time it will take to complete it. Currently all permits are separated into five classes. The revisions will make the city uniformly consistent with other municipalities.  

Implementation of the new fees will support the city’s Vision Zero initiative by promoting a faster removal of work zones, which will allow for normal vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle travel. The goal of Vision Zero is to eliminate all traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030.  

Friday, March 22, 2019

Mayor Appoints DCAO for Economic and Community Development, Director of Housing and Community Development, Director of Community Wealth Building

Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced the appointment of three highly skilled professionals to fill three executive positions currently being held by interim appointees.

Sharon Ebert has been selected to serve as the new Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for the Economic and Community Development Portfolio. Douglas Dunlap has been named as the Director of Housing and Community Development. Valaryee Mitchell, interim Director of the Office of Community Wealth Building, has been appointed to lead the office on a permanent basis.

“Our city is blessed to have top-tier talent assuming these key leadership roles,” said Mayor Stoney. “Sharon, Doug and Valaryee have the expertise and dedication to lead these departments and I look forward to all we will accomplish together working for the residents of the City of Richmond.”

Sharon Ebert has more than 25 years of experience working in state and local government. Her work experience has resulted in over a billion dollars in investments in areas of economic and retail development, tax credit financing, historic preservation, mixed-income and mixed-use redevelopment.

Ebert previously held positions in New York City, Yonkers, NY, Philadelphia, PA, and Bridgeport, CT. As the Deputy Commissioner of Planning and Development in Yonkers, NY, She was responsible for all economic, community and real estate development activities undertaken by the city, as well as all planning activities including master and urban renewal plans, neighborhood and downtown revitalization and affordable housing.

Most recently, Ebert served as Director of Community Development in the City of Johns Creek, GA where she oversaw planning, zoning, land development, building, permitting, and code enforcement activities. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and previously held the credential of a registered and licensed architect while working in New York.

Douglas Dunlap has been employed with the city for 19 years, during which time he has served in several capacities across multiple departments. Previously serving as Deputy Director of the Department of Planning and Development Review and most recently Interim Deputy Chief Administrative Officer.

Dunlap has more than 25 years of experience in public administration in areas of planning, housing and community development. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Hampton University as well as a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Prior to joining the city, Dunlap was employed with the Better Housing Coalition where he managed its homeownership program overseeing Cary 2000 and Jefferson Mews homeownership phases.

Valaryee Mitchell has more than 18 years of progressive experience with workforce programs including those serving youth, adults, people living in poverty, dislocated workers, re-entry and business.

In her previous role as Workforce Administrator she provided leadership and oversight for the City of Richmond’s workforce development initiatives including the Career Stations, BLISS Program, Business Services, and Mayor’s Youth Academy. Valaryee received her bachelor’s degree from Hampton University in Political Science and her Master of Public Administration from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Prior to coming to the Office of Community Wealth Building Mitchell was the Statewide One-Stop Coordinator for the Virginia Community College System (VCCS). During her tenure with the VCCS she established a One-Stop Certification process that reviewed continuous quality improvement in 18 American Job Centers across Virginia.