Showing posts from 2011

City Receives Revitalization Grant for Leigh Street Armory

Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that the City of Richmond has been awarded a $600,000 Industrial Revitalization Fund (IRF) grant towards the redevelopment of the Leigh Street Armory, located at 122 West Leigh Street in historic Jackson Ward. The Leigh Street Armory grant was one of six grant announcements made by the Governor today. The Leigh Street Armory Redevelopment, an initiative of the City’s ArtBusiness Richmond reinvestment program targeting the emerging Downtown arts district, will transform this vacant property into the new home of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. Renovation plans call for construction of a new addition to the rear of the Armory, which would add much needed space for museum exhibits, community education and events, storage, offices and other purposes. “I would like to thank Governor McDonnell for this grant award as these funds will significantly help advance this $3 million public/private revitalization project,” said Mayor

City Launches “Project Clean Move” to Help Students, Landlords and Property Owners during Student Relocations

The City is initiating a new multi-pronged program called Project Clean Move. It is designed to keep neighborhoods clean and help students, landlords and property owners during student relocations. Project Clean Move encourages students to get an early start in planning their move and seeks to educate and bring awareness about laws related to illegal dumping and trash accumulation as well as recycling efforts. The program begins on January 1, 2012. The Department of Public Works is working with The Salvation Army, Central Virginia Foodbank, Central Virginia Waste Management Authority, Virginia Commonwealth University and the Fan District Association on Project Clean Move to provide information on available resources, such as recycling locations and places to donate clothing and non-perishable food. The Department of Public Works will continue to put roll-off dumpsters in neighborhoods near Virginia Commonwealth University in six week intervals, beginning in late April and again i

City Announces Emergency Preparedness and Response Enhancement Strategies

Mayor Dwight C. Jones and 9 th District City Councilman Doug Conner today announced recommendations to improve the City’s emergency preparedness and response strategies. The Office of Emergency Management, under the leadership of Emergency Management Coordinator Anthony McLean, has been working with Councilman Conner since Hurricane Irene in August to identify areas where the City can enhance the overall emergency response efforts for residents during an emergency. Today’s report reflects the results of that review. “It is the responsibility of government to ensure the safety, health and well-being of the residents it serves in any given situation, commented Mayor Jones. “While City workers did a good job in responding to Hurricane Irene, in any disaster there is always room for improvement. I want to thank Councilman Doug Conner for working so closely with us to undertake this review of our emergency response efforts and to help ensure that we capitalize on all lessons learned.”

Mayor Jones, City Council and Richmond Public Schools Kick off MLK Construction

Mayor Dwight C. Jones kicked off the demolition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School today in preparation for the construction of a new, state of the art, Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School (MLK). Mayor Jones, joined by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Yvonne Brandon, MLK Principal Valerie Harris along with City Council members and School Board Members from the 6th and 7th districts, watched as an excavating machine took a chunk out of one of the buildings that will come down. “Today is a clear indication of the progress that we’ve made toward building new schools,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “With the start of our construction today, we are on our way to opening this new school in January of 2014.” The Jones Administration has broken ground on two new elementary schools since taking office and today’s action was the first taken on a new middle school. A new high school is also planned. MLK was originally constructed in 1964. Mayor Jones listed out the amenities the new s

Mayor Jones Issues Statement Regarding State Board of Corrections Approval of City Jail Plans

Mayor Dwight C. Jones issued the following statement regarding the State Board of Corrections unanimous vote approving the City’s amendments to the 2009 Community Based Corrections Plan and Planning Study. The Board of Corrections also approved reimbursement funding of 25% from the Commonwealth of Virginia for all eligible costs relating to the construction of the new Justice Center in the city of Richmond. "I thank the Board of Corrections for this unanimous vote today. I have fought hard to reach this point where we can move forward with the construction of our new Justice Center. I want to thank Sheriff C.T. Woody and those members of Richmond City Council that have stood with us. We are especially pleased that our dedicated law enforcement officers, social workers, clergy, attorneys, prisoners and their families will now have more humane conditions in the very near future. “We’ve made the necessary adjustments to our plans and it is now clear that our plans meet all comp

Mayor Issues Statement on Letter Sent to Richmond Tea Party

Mayor Dwight C. Jones has issued the following statement in response to the letter sent by the City's Department of Finance to the Richmond Tea Party, and was subsequently released by the Richmond Tea Party to the public: "In response to the recent allegations regarding a letter sent to the Richmond Tea Party, the City of Richmond did not target the Richmond Tea Party by sending them a routine letter about overdue tax filings. "In March 2011, a list of more than 700 potentially non-compliant accounts was generated in the City’s Finance Department, by an automated financial system. Since the list was generated, it has been manually reviewed for accuracy. As part of this continuing process, more than 300 letters have been sent to those entities determined to be out of compliance for tax filing or payments. This letter means that either returns have not been filed or taxes are owed. Due to confidentiality laws, the City is prohibited from releasing any details about an in

Mayor Jones Announces Major Expansion of Health Diagnostics Laboratory, Inc.

Mayor Dwight C. Jones today announced the expansion of Health Diagnostics Laboratory, Inc. (HDL) in the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park. This major expansion will occur in two Phases with the redevelopment of Biotech 5 and 3. Phase 1 will begin in early 2012 with a capital investment of $38.5 million in building redevelopment and machinery and equipment and the creation of an additional 353 net new jobs. Phase 2 will occur after the completion of Phase 1 and will include an additional capital investment of $30 million and the creation of 300 additional net new jobs. “This $68.5 million capital investment and 653 net new jobs will bring HDL’s employment to over 950 employees and makes HDL a major employer in the city of Richmond,” said Mayor Jones. “This is a great example of the importance of cultivating our existing business base, and we are proud that HDL has chosen the city of Richmond to expand and grow their business.” HDL, a CAP accredited leader in health management, off

City Began Pilot Installation of Bike Sharrows

~Pavement markings to improve bicycling conditions on roads~ Bicycling in the city is about to become easier and safer for Richmond cyclists. On Saturday the city began installing the first of approximately 80 lane miles of bike sharrows that will be placed along specific corridors in the city. The pilot corridors where the sharrows are being installed include Meadow Street from Broad Street to Cary Street and Harrison Street from Broad Street to Idlewood, representing about three lanes miles of bike sharrows thus far. Sharrows are shared lane markings that are utilized to improve bicycling conditions on roads where designated bike lanes are either infeasible or inappropriate due to traffic conditions. Sharrows are a simple, yet visible way of improving conditions for bicyclists while also reinforcing safe and appropriate bicycling habits which in turn make bicyclists more predictable in mixed traffic conditions. The pilot sharrows are located at regular intervals in both direc

City and Cigna Collaborate to Host Richmond Communities of Health Forum

Through a collaboration with Cigna, the city of Richmond hosted a Communities of Health Forum - Better Together: Collaborating to Achieve a Healthy Richmond, yesterday at the Omni Richmond Hotel. The goal of the forum was to identify and prioritize high-leverage and sustainable actions to further enhance existing programs and eliminate key barriers to health, including social determinants of health. “Upon taking office, I quickly became aware of the disparity in health care resources and outcomes for many of Richmond’s most economically challenged residents. The discussion and information gathered within this health forum will further aid my administration’s focus on the specific needs of Richmond residents,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “I would like to thank Cigna and Dr. Frank Brown for their partnership with the city of Richmond and their commitment to improving communities by addressing health disparities.” “We know that it is important to work closely with communities and lo

City Expands Use and Reach of GIS Information

~New web site shares more GIS maps to user browsers and on mobile devices~ The city of Richmond has launched an updated web site for the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) program. GIS is used to manage and analyze the geospatial information that applies to government operations and many aspects of decision making in government, business, and the community. The new web site was recently show-cased as part of an Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) seminar for GIS professionals here in Richmond at the Omni Hotel. ESRI is the world-leading GIS software vendor, whose software the city has based its GIS on. The new site features: (1) improved presentation and organization of GIS content, (2) new GIS content, (3) a new approach to sharing GIS maps which includes mobile support, and (4) new support for maps published in collaboration with the community. The updated web site increases the amount of GIS information available to residents and the business community by publish

Mayor Jones Elected to the 2012 National League of Cities Board of Directors

Mayor Dwight C. Jones was elected to the 2012 Board of Directors of the National League of Cities (NLC) on Saturday, November 12, at the conclusion of the Congress of Cities and Exposition in Phoenix, AZ. NLC’s Board meets throughout the year and leads the organization by shaping policies and priorities and directing the advocacy, research and membership activities of NLC. “Being elected to serve the nations’ cities and towns is a high honor,” said Mayor Jones. “I have been actively involved on the board of Virginia Municipal League, and I have a great appreciation for the power local officials have when our collective voices come together on critical issues.” NLC also elected new officers for the coming year, including Bluffton, IN, Mayor Ted Ellis as President; Avondale, AZ, Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers as First Vice President; and Saint Paul, MN, Mayor Chris Coleman as Second Vice President. In addition, 22 other new board members were elected during the meeting. The full Boa

City's Office of Minority Business Development Offers Free Training

The City’s Office of Minority Business Development (OMBD) is proud to offer technical assistance and training activities on a variety of topics, as well as networking opportunities for minority and emerging small businesses. As contracting and development opportunities in Richmond increase, OMBD remains committed to providing maximum opportunities for minority, disadvantaged and emerging businesses. It is the agency’s mission to help these businesses participate in the full array of contracting opportunities that the city of Richmond has to offer. “We remain committed to having an inclusive environment that can lead to an increase in the number of minority-owned and emerging businesses that participate in city projects,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. While OMBD's programming encourages minorities to start new businesses, the agency is equally focused on ensuring that existing minority and emerging businesses take the necessary steps to achieve substantive growth. Programs are gear

Adaptive Rehabilitation Construction Begins on Broad & Grace Streets

Mayor Dwight C. Jones joined developers Mike Glass and Ron Hunt, managing partners of 214 East Grace Street, LLC, in celebrating the start of an adaptive rehabilitation construction project at 213 East Broad Street and 214 East Grace Street today. As a symbolic mark to the beginning of the construction, the three joined other project stakeholders in knocking down a wall with sledgehammers within the Grace Street property. “Both of these properties will provide affordable live-work spaces that can accommodate cultural enterprises along our Broad Street corridor and Arts District,” said Mayor Jones. “I commend the efforts of the developers, Mike Glass and Ron Hunt, as they begin the process of bringing life back into these properties.” The $3.6 million project is a public/private partnership that will feature more than 3,000 square feet of commercial/retail space and 21 affordable rental units once completed. Virginia Community Capital is the primary project lender and will provid

City Unveils Shockoe Revitalization Strategy

On Tuesday, November 1, the City of Richmond's Department of Economic and Community Development rolled out the Shockoe Revitalization Strategy for the Shockoe Bottom to guide the area's future growth. The Strategy will build upon previous planning efforts and include up-to-date demographic and economic profiles, a retail gap analysis, and existing and future market competition. The Strategy will provide guidance toward effectively implementing the vision. Click on the top two images in the link below to see the presentation from yesterday's meeting and the full Shockoe Revitalization Strategy. Shockoe Bottom Economic Revitalization Strategy

Mayor Jones Announces Healthy Richmond Campaign

Mayor Dwight C. Jones introduced the Healthy Richmond Campaign today during the City’s Employee Health and Safety Fair at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. The Healthy Richmond Campaign is a new City initiative designed to promote the improved health of City employees and residents by addressing the disparities affecting access to health care and health resources in the city of Richmond. Mayor Jones stated that, “Launching the Healthy Richmond Campaign internally during the City’s Employee Health and Safety Fair presented an excellent opportunity to promote this initiative which includes a comprehensive workplace health promotion program. A public kick-off event is currently being scheduled for next spring. The goal of the Healthy Richmond Campaign is to promote healthier lifestyles and behaviors that will improve individual health and help prevent many of the chronic diseases and illnesses that affect far too many youth and adults in our city.” The Healthy Richmond Campaig

Mayor Applauds RMA Board Vote

~City to receive $62.3 million repayment~ Mayor Dwight C. Jones today applauded the Richmond Metropolitan Authority (RMA) for voting 11-0 to repay approximately $62.3 million owed to the City of Richmond. “I am pleased that the RMA has taken this action as it was the right thing for the City and also benefits the RMA. There are many things this administration has been working to set right for the City of Richmond. Where our financial picture is concerned, our paramount goal has been to move us toward AAA bond rating. We have taken several important steps, like changing to twice a year tax collections, which saves $1-3 million per year and eliminating the Broad Street CDA, which saved the City approximately $12 million. Securing this repayment of outstanding debt is a critical piece of our effort to position the City to obtain the desired bond rating. "As I have said throughout this process, this is a sound financial decision and is in the best interest of the City. The RMA B

HUD Secretary and Mayor Jones Highlight How American Jobs Act Will Further Expand on Success of Existing Neighborhood Stabilization Efforts

Project Rebuild to Help Stabilize Richmond Home Prices The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan and Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones toured the 800 block of North 27 th Street in the Church Hill neighborhood to demonstrate how President Obama’s proposed American Jobs Act and Project Rebuild can help stabilize home prices, revitalize neighborhoods, create jobs, and support local economies throughout the City of Richmond. “Project Rebuild is fundamentally an investment not just in hard hit communities, but also in the hardworking families of Church Hill who have watched their home values plummet on average by $5,000-to-$10,000 simply because they live on a block with a foreclosure sign. The Project Rebuild investment will not only help stabilize individual home prices on the block, but it sends neighbors a hopeful message – we believe in you, we are investing in you, stay here and raise your family,” said Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the U.S. De

Neighborhood Workforce Development Center Opens in the City

Mayor Dwight C. Jones joined City Council Vice-President Ellen Robertson, Fifth Street Baptist Church Pastor F. Todd Gray, and Workforce Investment Board Chair Deborah Wickham, in a ribbon cutting ceremony today to celebrate the opening of the One Stop Resource & Missions Center at Fifth Street Baptist Church, 2800 Third Avenue. The new share site is the first joint Workforce Development Center in the City of Richmond and will offer services and resources to City residents to better prepare and search for jobs. The center will partner with RESOURCE, the Capital Region Workforce Investment Board, to teach classes on résumé writing, interview skills, and networking. Trained volunteers will staff the center and serve as career agents and job coaches for interested residents looking for work. “We know that many Richmonders are struggling, and it is important for the City to partner with the community to be able to provide centers like this,” said Mayor Jones. “In our region, the

City Pursues Full Repayment from RMA

~Approximately $62.3 million to be voted on by RMA Board~ In a new development related to the City's pursuit of monies owed from the Richmond Metropolitan Authority (RMA), the City Administration says it will pursue the full amount owed, rather than the initial arrangement which included an interest rate discount. In June of this year, Mayor Jones announced a proposal in which the RMA would return funds to the city before the year's end. The amount owed is more than $60 million. The RMA had originally asked for some interest rate forgiveness and the city introduced a paper for City Council consideration that would have foregone about $2 million in debt. Today the Administration acknowledged that current financial market conditions make it likely that the RMA could repay the entire amount with no discount attached. "Anticipating favorable action by the RMA Board, I am withdrawing Ordinance No. 2011-160," stated Mayor Jones. "I am hopeful that City Counci

City Receives Excellence in Economic Development Award From International Economic Development Council

The City’s Department of Economic and Community Development received an Excellence in Economic Development Award for their marketing kit in the category of General Purpose Promotion for communities with populations of 200,000 – 500,000 from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The award was presented during the IEDC Annual Conference in Charlotte, NC on September 20. “I thank the International Economic Development Council for recognizing Richmond with this award as it underscores our efforts to attract and retain both large and small employers, create jobs and preserve our City’s neighborhoods,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “Effective marketing is a catalyst to leveraging the numerous attributes of the city and thereby enhancing our economic development activities.” "We recognize the City of Richmond’s Department of Economic & Community Development for providing successful strategies to promote new standards in economic development in this period of glo

Facilities Management Investigation Results in Referral to Commonwealth's Attorney

Mayor Dwight C. Jones announced today the results of an internal investigation the City Administration has conducted of the Department of Public Works’ (DPW) Facilities Management Operations. The investigation was pursued after the City Administration received an internal complaint warranting an assessment of operations, contracted labor, vendor payments, and equipment purchases under the management of that division of public works. Facilities Management is responsible for maintenance of city facilities and currently represents an annual expenditure of approximately $25 million in equipment purchases and contractor costs. “We’ve found several operational inefficiencies that bring into question the credibility of the existing operation and my level of concern has led me to turn over the results of our investigation to the Commonwealth Attorney for further investigation,” stated Mayor Jones. “We have taken the necessary steps and actions to secure the operations of the division in que

United States of America Awarded 2015 UCI Road World Cycling Championships

Richmond, Virginia selected to host global event Richmond, Virginia has been selected to host the 2015 Road World Championships. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), competitive cycling’s governing body, selected Richmond after a competitive bid process that included the country of Oman. “Richmond is thrilled to be selected to host the 2015 Road World Cycling Championships, joining a list of great cities like Madrid, Florence and Copenhagen,” said Richmond Mayor, Dwight C. Jones. “Bicycling, for transport and fitness, has been an important focus of my administration. Hosting the World Championships will help bring Richmond one step closer to being one of the world’s great bicycling cities.” Cycling’s pinnacle event, the annual Road World Cycling Championships provide a rare opportunity for athletes to compete for their countries in both the traditional road race and individual time trial. Fans will also be treated to a team time trial competition between the world’s top pr

City Re-Opens Newly Renovated Belmont Library

Mayor Dwight C. Jones joined the Director of Richmond Public Library Harriet Coalter in a ribbon cutting ceremony today to reopen the newly renovated Belmont Library at 3100 Ellwood Avenue. “I take pride in celebrating the new renovations, additions and exciting features of Belmont Library,” said the Mayor. “Investing in our City’s future through infrastructure upgrades and enhancing educational enrichment opportunities, such as those offered in our City libraries, is vital to the success of our City’s future generations.” New library features include lighting, carpet, furniture, computers, an enlarged meeting room, teen area, and a new parking lot entrance. Renovations also included a Green Building Council approved roof system and new heating and cooling system to reduce the building’s carbon footprint. The library was originally constructed in 1956 with recent renovations beginning in the winter of 2010. Mayor Jones first announced the library renovations in March 2009 during his

City Receives $1.2 Million Grant to Reduce STDs

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that the Richmond City Health District (RCHD) has recently been awarded a three-year grant to utilize community approaches to reduce sexually transmitted diseases (STD), one of only four grants awarded nationwide. The RCHD will receive over $360,000 per year as part of the CDC’s Approaches to Reducing Sexually Transmitted Diseases (CARS) Initiative. “I commend the Richmond City Health District and the Virginia Department of Health for pursuing resources that will address the health concerns in the City,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. In December 2010, Richmond City Health District Deputy Director Dr. Danny Avula and CDC Prevention Specialist Ashley Halbritter collaborated with local organizations and city agencies to form the City-wide STD Coalition to work on the STD issues in Richmond. With help from over 30 coalition members, a grant proposal was submitted to the CDC, showing how the City of Richmond STD interv

Mayor Jones Announces School Construction Awards

~Broad Rock and Oak Grove Elementary to have 44% MBE participation~ Mayor Dwight C. Jones to advised Richmond City Council that Martin Brothers Contractors, Inc. of Roanoke, Virginia has won the reissued bid for the construction of Broad Rock Elementary and Oak Grove Elementary. Earlier bids were canceled in May of this year when the administration decided to scale back on noncritical features to reduce costs. The current bids have come in $5 million less and have achieved 44% minority business enterprise participation. "Saving more than $5 million on these schools is precisely the outcome we were looking for," said Mayor Jones. "We are serious about building schools, but we're also serious about getting the best deals for the City of Richmond. I congratulate Martin Brothers Contractors on their successful pursuit of this opportunity and congratulate all the minority businesses that will be involved in the construction of these much needed schools for our city."