VCU Master Plan Process

VCU announcement:

“VCU Vice-President for Administration Dr. Meredith Weiss announced the second round of public meetings in support of the University’s ONE VCU master site plan process. Please see the attached document or visit https://masterplan.vcu.edu/ for more information. The University is committed to providing an open, thoughtful, transparent and inclusive master planning process designed to engage the VCU community and our external stakeholders. To that end, we are holding several public presentations (details below) that may be of interest to you.”
Please feel free to distribute this information:
Daytime
MCV Campus
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Location: Kontos Medical Sciences Building Auditorium (basement level), 1217 E. Marshall Street
A live webcast of the MCV campus presentation will be streamed on VCU’s Facebook page: go.vcu.edu/vcufacebook.

Monroe Park Campus
Wednesday February 28, 2018
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Location: Temple Building room 1160 (first floor), 901 W. Main Street
Evening
Monroe Park Campus*
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Temple Building room 1164 (first floor), 901 W. Main Street
*Free parking is available at the West Main Street Parking Deck, 801 W. Main St., for those who attend the evening session. Ask for parking validation before you leave the meeting room.

It’s noteworthy that many neighbors are still very concerned about VCU’s encroachment into Oregon Hill and the neighborhood association has repeatedly asked for a memorandum of understanding over the last fifteen years.

VCU Stormwater Survey

Virginia Commonwealth University graduate student, Jesse Harris, is looking into stormwater infrastructure surrounding the Monroe Campus. She has a short survey to help identity areas that VCU should be mindful of in planning for sustainable community development in the future.
This office as asked for the final results to report and share with the city’s stormwater division.

https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/efc0baf4a81f4d429e94637019eaabf9

Councilperson Agelasto’s Meeting Tonight

From Amy Robins, 5th District Liaison:

REMINDER: Councilmember Parker Agelasto is holding a 5th District meeting this Thursday, February 22, 2018 at Southside Community Service Center (4100 Hull Street).
Richmond Public Schools new Superintendent Jason Kamras and 5th District School Board Representative Dr. Pat Sapini will be holding a “Meet & Greet” at the same location starting at 6pm.
Starting around 6:45pm, the meeting will cover the following agenda:
~Cigarette Tax Discussion
~Crime & Public Safety, Richmond Police Department
~5th District Updates & Discussion
~Q&A
UPDATE: Code Enforcement has been moved to the April 26th meeting.

Solar Co-op Meeting On Oregon Hill This Saturday

Holly Street neighbor Phaedra Hise is hosting a meeting of the Richmond Solar Open House this Saturday.

RSVP for the event at: www.solarunitedneighbors.org/RichmondSolarOpenHouse

Have you ever considered going solar?
Come to a Solar Open House!

Saturday, February 24, 2018
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Solar Home of Phaedra Hise:
714 Holly St, Richmond, VA 23220

Tour the solar home of Phaedra Hise, ask questions about solar and the co-op process, and connect with other homeowners in the area who are interested in solar! Stop by for a few or stay for a while!

Learn more about our Richmond Solar Co-op at: www.solarunitedneighbors.org/richmond

Monroe Park Conservancy Shortfall And Tree Removal

Neighbors are still very disheartened by the Monroe Park Conservancy. They keep contacting City Council members about their actions.

From Cherry Street neighbor and Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association president Todd Woodson:

Dear Councilman Agelasto,

As you know, I recently sent a list of concerns/questions to Councilperson Gray and MPC president Alice Massie regarding the renovation of Monroe Park which is scheduled to be completed in Spring of this year. Although the request for information has not been responded to, the MPC website has just been updated not only to include a new board chair for Dominion Energy, but also the revelation that the Conservancy is now short $1.5 million to complete the renovation “with all amenities”. You may have noticed that work in the park has slowed to a crawl.

The City of Richmond has already made up well over $800,000.00 in shortfalls for the park redo in addition to over $3 million in infrastructure and “soft” costs.

The Falls of the James chapter of the Sierra Club has already called for the termination of the lease to the MPC and I add my voice to that end. Monroe Park is Richmond’s oldest and most historic city park and although the MPC doesn’t get control through the lease until after the renovation, they have meddled constantly with changes to the master plan to include a most unfortunate destruction of much of the old growth tree canopy as well as other historically inappropriate park “features”.

Details of the shortfall may be found here:
https://www.monroepark.com/about/monroe-park-conservancy/

Other concerns include inconsistencies of the design changes with approved master plan and work documents.

The current situation is extremely troubling as is the persistent lack of transparency and community involvement with the project. Please take action on behalf of your constituents.

Thank you,

Charles T. Woodson.

He followed up with this:

In addition to the MPC previously having posted their completion of fund raising on their website, they, along with Dwight Jones, made this press release in 2016 on the completion of the fundraising for the park renovation.

https://www.monroepark.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/PressRelease-9-21-16.pdf

The “amenities” they refer to in the update on the shortfall are garbage like the gazebo and the “rill” that the citizens have spoken up against time and time again. I’ve heard you use the meaningful phrase “get back to basics” in reference to city government policy. I truly believe we need to get back to basics and restore the park as the community vetted master plan envisioned, not with architectural detritus and treeless corporate campgrounds. Ms Massie has not approached the public for financial support because she doesn’t care what the community says and prefers her corporate funds. Instead, she has fomented non transparency and divisiveness and she has indulged in back room shady corporate deals and unnecessary features/alterations of the master plan. I know you see this. Hopefully, now that there is another substantial shortfall the rest of council will see the wisdom of getting back to basics and honoring a historically sensitive renovation of the park. Please terminate the lease, especially now that there is a real parks director.

Thanks again.

And if that was not enough…on February 18, Todd added this:

Although the planning commission requested that the Monroe Park “Conservancy” consider alternatives to the destruction of a beautiful healthy and mature Magnolia as well as a nearby Maple, this is what is left of the Maggie. It was destroyed over the last two days…

The lack of coverage in the local media is troubling.

“Our Fathers’ Fight for Freedom” At Va. War Memorial Saturday

From the event page:

Part of the Virginia War Memorial’s 2018 Black History Month Series:

“If ordinary people are given proper training and opportunity they can do extraordinary things, regardless of race, creed, or color.” Those words were spoken by Mr. Howard Baugh (pictured), who flew 135 missions with the Tuskegee Airmen. During World War II, African-Americans fought fascism overseas and racism at home. These American heroes also included men like Mr. George Bland, who was serving aboard the USS West Virginia during the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor.

CBS6 Anchor Greg McQuade will lead the discussion as Captain Howard Baugh Jr. and Mr. Frank Bland share stories of their fathers and spread their legacies at the Virginia War Memorial on Saturday, February 17 at 2:00pm.

This event is FREE and open to the public, but registration is encouraged. Parking is free and will be available next door to the Virginia War Memorial at the VHDA.

Register here: http://vawarmemorial.org/event/our-fathers’-fight-freedom

Councilperson Agelasto Proposes Cigarette Tax For Schools

With the Mayor and City Council having successfully jammed through a meals tax increase this past Monday, it will be interesting to see if Councilperson Agelasto receives support from the rest of City leadership for his upcoming attempt at implementing a cigarette tax, something that has not passed before. After all, it’s also ‘for the children’ and has the support of the American Heart Association.

In the meantime, the original Put School First referendum is still in the Virginia General Assembly. Oregon Hill’s state senator, Glen Sturtevant, was able to navigate it through the senate side quite easily.

Issues With Grayland

While many neighbors are enjoying the new roundabout, some are also monitoring problems that stem from Grayland Avenue being partly open for parking. The people who are still using Grayland have abused the privilege by leaving litter and dangerously driving over part of the closed, roundabout section. The City’s Department of Public Works put up some black plastic fencing to try to discourage the misbehavior, but now people are just driving around it. Some neighbors are saying they predicted this and are re-iterating their calls for this section of Grayland Avenue’s street to be removed and fully closed as soon as possible.

Trash/Recycling Pickup Tomorrow

This Wednesday is a “Red Wednesday”, which means trash and recycling pickup. Ideally, rolling recycling containers are stored and deployed in the back alleys along with trash cans. Please make sure you pick up containers after pickup tomorrow night.

If you have not done so already, don’t forget to sign up for your Recycling Perks.
In order to take your recycling to the next level, read this: 10 ways to improve your recycling.

Please volunteer for the neighborhood litter pick up this Saturday.

In recycling news, big corporations make big promises, but how many actually keep them? It often takes government for and by people to make real change.