Friday, August 19, 2011

City Names Director of Planning and Development Review

Mayor Dwight C. Jones announced Mark Olinger as the City’s new director of Planning and Development Review today. He will begin City service on Monday, September 12, 2011. Olinger will replace Viktoria Badger, transportation policy manager for the Department of Economic & Community Development, who has served as interim director of the department since March of this year.

Mayor Jones stated, "Mark's experiences and background align well with our focus of fostering unique, healthy and inclusive neighborhoods through strategies that encourage mixed-income housing, mixed-use development, and also facilitate creative efforts to make Richmond's communities more pedestrian-friendly. I am pleased that he has joined our team, and believe he will be an invaluable asset for this Administration and the broader city."

Olinger’s urban planning experience includes urban design, affordable housing, neighborhood and commercial district repositioning and revitalization with an emphasis on project implementation. For the past twelve years, he served as the director of planning and community and economic development and two years as the principal planner for the city of Madison, Wisconsin. As director, he oversaw the activities of 175 employees in the divisions of economic development, building inspection, planning, community development and housing operations. Olinger also served as the Executive Director of the Community Development Authority, overseeing the public housing and Section 8 programs for the city, and the city’s other redevelopment functions. Earlier in his career, he served as a senior planner in Dayton, Ohio, where he was responsible for transforming a once largely abandoned neighborhood, now known as Wright-Dunbar Village, into a model for neighborhood revitalization and rebirth, and a 2004 winner of an American Planning Association HUD Secretary Award.

Olinger earned his Bachelor of Art in Metropolitan Studies from New York University and a Master of Community Planning from the University of Cincinnati. He is a member of the American Planning Association, Technology for Urban Planning, and the Urban Land Institute.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mayor's Youth Academy Culminating Event 2011

The Mayor's Youth Academy held its 2011 Culmination Event Friday, August 12, 2011 at Dogwood Dell where more than 400 youth ages 14 to 19 participated. This is the second year of the Mayor's Youth Academy, which is a citywide program that draws upon the expertise and resources of leaders in government, business, faith-based, and non-profit sectors to develop Richmond's future workforce.

The Mayor's Youth Academy consists of four components; Summer Works Initiative, Life Stages, Youth Gardeners, and Counselors in Training. The City of Richmond wants to continue to invest in our youth to teach them to be positive citizens in the community and to strive for excellence.

View the video from the 2011 Mayor's Youth Academy Culmination Event to see all of the hard work and dedication of our future leaders.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Coordinator Named

~Action is key recommendation of Mayor's Commission~

The City of Richmond has named Jakob C. Helmboldt as its first Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Coordinator, effective Monday, August 15, 2011. The new position was a key recommendation that grew out of the Mayor's Pedestrian, Bicycling and Trails Planning Commission report. Mayor Jones established the Commission in May of 2010 to give advice on ways to incorporate bicycling and walking as viable methods of transportation in the city.

Helmboldt most recently served as Program Manager for Vanasse Hangen Brustlin of Richmond, Virginia, where he was responsible for managing bicycle and pedestrian projects ranging from development of safety materials for federal agencies, to design of facilities. He also served as the technical expert on a project for the Federal Highway Administration regarding non-motorized transportation safety. Helmboldt previously served as statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Coordinator for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

"I'm pleased that we've been able to act on this priority recommendation of the Commission," said Mayor Jones. "We are about to launch a Healthy Richmond Campaign and Jakob's role is going to be central to much of what we do as the benefits of physical activity to reducing obesity and to increasing the health of our city are clear. Also, a well-publicized and effective system of pedestrian and bicycle trails and shared space can be a great selling point for economic and community development and tourism."

The City's new Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Trails Program has the goal of making Richmond one of the most bicycle and pedestrian-friendly cities in the country. Helmboldt's duties will include coordinating with various City departments to implement the recommendations of the Pedestrian, Bicycling and Trails Planning Commission, in complement to the City's Downtown Master Plan regarding bicycling and pedestrian improvements and programs, and with future Strategic Multimodal Transportation Plans. Helmboldt will lead a cross-functional team of individuals from the Department of Public Works, the Department of Planning and Development Review and other City departments to track the scope, design and budget for bicycle and pedestrian projects and build City staff capacity for developing the non-motorized transportation infrastructure citywide. He will also assist in securing grant funding and leveraging additional resources to accomplish City bicycle/pedestrian initiatives.

Mr. Helmboldt possesses a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning. The position reports directly to the Chief Administrative Officer and the Deputy Chief Administrative Office for Human Services.