Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mayor Jones and Bon Secours Announce East End Planning Initiative

Goal is to build healthier, more vibrant Church Hill/Nine Mile Corridor

Mayor Dwight C. Jones and Peter J. Bernard, CEO of Bon Secours Virginia, announced today a public design workshop, best known as a charrette, to revitalize the East End and Nine Mile Road corridor. Key contributors to the process are the Richmond Redevelopment Housing Authority and Bon Secours Richmond Community Hospital.

The charrette will take place June 2 – 7, at various Church Hill and East End locations.

“The goal is the development of a vision to guide transformative social, educational, and physical changes within the East End Planning District,” said Mayor Jones. “This is an important undertaking that can lead to revitalized housing as well as increased educational and economic opportunities.”

The public engagement of East End community members, small business owners, public housing residents, and other stakeholders is expected to provide information for the completion of grant applications for two key federal initiatives – the Promise Neighborhoods Initiative and the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. Successful applications would result in multi-million-dollar support for city initiatives for neighborhood enhancement along and near 25th Street and the Nine Mile Road corridor.

The purpose of the charrette is to develop specific proposals for design, housing and business opportunities, as well as policy and management recommendations for revitalization.

“The upcoming charrette is different in scope from others we’ve conducted around our health care facilities,” said Peter J. Bernard, CEO of Bon Secours Virginia. “The need for a healthy, sustainable and vibrant community is the impetus for this project. From our perspective, it is not necessarily hospital expansion, but development of a flourishing community that will benefit East End residents.”

Mayor Jones announced an aggressive economic development agenda at his first State of the City address held earlier this year. He has reorganized the Departments of Community Development and Economic Development and made clear his desire to see meaningful development in specific corridors of the city of Richmond. The 25th Street/Nine Mile Road Corridor has been high on the Mayor’s list of targeted development areas.

Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ) has been selected and contracted to conduct the charrette. DPZ is known internationally as a leading proponent of public participatory design and new urbanism. DPZ has held charrettes similar to the East End Charrette in Baton Rouge, LA, Newberg, NY and West Palm Beach, FL.

The public is encouraged to attend the opening session at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 2, at the Robinson Theatre, 2903 Q Street. The closing session begins at 5 p.m. on Monday, June 7, also at the Robinson Theatre.

A children’s charrette will take place on Saturday, June 5, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Family Resource Center, 2405 Jefferson Avenue, while parents and residents attend a parallel workshop.

The design studio, the hub of activity for the planning team, is open to the public throughout the charrette process and is located at the Family Resource Center, 2405 Jefferson Avenue.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mayor Jones Launches "Green Richmond Initiative"

As the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day approaches, Mayor Dwight C. Jones brought into focus the city of Richmond's plans for sustainability during a press conference earlier today. Results of the city's first greenhouse gas emissions inventory were presented in conjunction with the announcement of the city's partnership with Earth Aid.

"I want the residents of Richmond to enjoy an improved quality of life, a healthy environment and enhanced economic development and job creation opportunities," said Mayor Jones. "Now that we have the results of our first greenhouse gas emissions inventory, we can move forward with establishing a Sustainability Plan for the city of Richmond."

The greenhouse gas emissions inventory is an assessment of energy use from various sources, like electricity in homes or fuel in cars, and their associated greenhouse gas emissions. The city conducted both a community-wide inventory and a government operations inventory for the city of Richmond. The full report can be found at

Findings show that the largest source of community emissions comes from energy consumption in the commercial and industrial sectors. Emissions from fuel combustion in vehicles traveling on local roads and state highways were the second largest source of emissions, and energy consumption in the residential sector, the third largest. In the city government operations inventory, emissions from city buildings and facilities were the largest source of government emissions, with emissions from city employees commuting to work being the second largest source of emissions.

"Now that we have a baseline of our emissions, the next step is to develop strategies to reduce those emissions," said Mayor Jones. "We will mobilize and engage the community to help us develop a comprehensive Sustainability Plan in 2011, and I am calling our overall effort the Green Richmond Initiative."

The Green Richmond Initiative will involve several components, including:
  • Creation of Green Incentive Zones to draw green and clean technology businesses to Richmond
  • Gap financing to enable developers to build energy efficient homes and commercial structures
  • A community gardens project where vacant and underutilized city parcels can be turned into productive gardens
  • Exploring sustainable transportation options and developing a strategic multi-modal transportation plan
  • A Rewards program through Earth Aid wherein households can track their actual energy and water usage at home and redeem Rewards points for savings
"We welcome our partnership with Earth Aid; it's a great example of the kind of innovative solutions we're bringing to Richmond to support our sustainability efforts," said Mayor Jones. "We are excited that Richmond is one of the first cities to partner with Earth Aid to engage our citizens and the entire community in this cutting-edge program, and I hope residents will eagerly sign up to participate."

Earth Aid ( helps households track their actual energy and water consumption on the internet and learn how to be more energy efficient. Households earn rewards points each month for saving energy and water and then they can redeem these points for discounts and offers at a variety of local Richmond businesses - 20 as of today and growing. Residents can sign up for the program at

Earth Aid will help:
  • Residents save money on their utility bills;
  • Put dollars into our local economy through our local merchants; and
  • Lower our community's carbon footprint.
"I am proud to join with Mayor Jones and other community and business leaders from across Richmond to help area residents save money on their utility bills, support local business, and create a more sustainable Richmond," said Ben Bixby, Co-Founder & CEO of Earth Aid. "It's a great way for residents to go green and save green during this Earth Week and beyond."

Local businesses that have already signed up to offer rewards through the Earth Aid program include:

Restore RVA
For the Love of Pete
Southern Sparkle
Urban Grid Solar
Metro Sound and Music
Green Duck
La Diff
Segway Tours of Richmond
My Closet - Your Treasures
Cafe Gutenberg
Science Museum of Virginia
Lift Coffee
Republic Restaurant and Bar
Bikram Yoga Richmond
Venture Richmond
The Yarn Lounge
Hilton of Richmond
Papa's Pizza
Mis En Place

Monday, April 5, 2010

North Avenue and Westover Hills Libraries to Close for Renovations

Two Richmond public libraries are closing this week to allow for substantial renovations. North Avenue Library will close for renovations at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 8, and Westover Hills Library will close at 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 10. Both locations are expected to re-open in November of this year.

To assist residents affected by the North Avenue Library closure, a temporary site with limited services will be opened at the former Norrell Elementary School, 2100 Fendall Avenue, on Monday, April 19. Hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

To assist residents affected by the Westover Hills library closure, Belmont Library, 3100 Ellwood Avenue, will expand its Monday and Wednesday hours of operations by two hours. Beginning Monday, April 12, Belmont Library will operate from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays (previously open from Noon to 8 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays); 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays; and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.