Author Archives: Scott

VCU Continues To Disregard Its Own Master Plan, Counter To State Agreement

While some local journalists have chosen to focus on VCU President’s performance review, they are missing some of the importance of VCU’s recent property grab on Cary Street.

VCU’s neighbors have relied upon VCU’s promise to abide by its Master Plan boundary when purchasing property. This promise is essential for removing speculation and inspiring a sense of trust between VCU and its neighbors. Unfortunately, VCU continues to breed community distrust with its actions. The history is not good: The Oregon Hill neighborhood at one point endorsed the VCU Master Plan 2020, which called for a small natatorium to be constructed at Cherry and Cary. In 2007, VCU abruptly changed its master plan, without community involvement, after a much larger recreational project was already submitted for state review. VCU still ignores “Issue 1″ in regard to community relations.

In November 2014, VCU purchased the property at 9 W. Cary Street outside of its Master Plan boundary. In response to a request made under the Freedom of Information Act, VCU has confirmed that the VCU Master Plan boundary has not been changed to include the property at 9 W. Cary Street and that VCU did not inform its neighbors that it was purchasing property outside of its Master Plan boundary. VCU made no mention of the acquisition of the property was made at recent community advisory board meetings.

This appears to run counter to the Management Agreement between VCU and the Commonwealth of Virginia that states that capital projects must be “consistent with the University’s published Master Plan.” “Exhibit A … V. CAPITAL PROGRAM.
The President, acting through the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration or other
designee, shall adopt a system for developing one or more capital project programs that defines or define the capital needs of the University for a given period of time consistent with the University’s published Master Plan.” (Editor added emphasis for this post).

While the property in question (9 W. Cary Street) is not in Oregon Hill, and Oregon Hill neighbors are not against VCU’s Office of Continuing and Professional Studies receiving a new home, the fact that VCU continues to disregard its own Master Plan raises alarm bells for the surrounding community (and that includes more than Oregon Hill neighborhood).
Again, where is the accountability?

Recent Crimes


Dec 9, 2014 at 6:25 am
Data provided by Richmond Police Department

Dec 9, 2014 at 3:38 am
Data provided by Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department

Dec 9, 2014 at 8:00 am
Data provided by Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department

Dec 9, 2014 at 8:00 am
Data provided by Richmond Police Department

Dec 10, 2014 at 1:30 am
Data provided by Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department

Dec 10, 2014 at 10:14 am
Data provided by Richmond Police Department

Deed Restrictions On Grace Arents School (Open High Building)

After recruiting the help of several people, including a former City employee, Councilperson Parker Agelasto was able to find legal documents pertaining to deed restrictions on the Grace Arents school building that currently houses Open High School.

Links to large pdf:
Grace Arents School Deed Documents
Arents Grace School Deed actual

Neighbors are grateful as this will hopefully prevent the City from unwisely ceasing to use the building for the function for which the land was given to the city. Oregon Hill neighbors have largely been very supportive of keeping the successful Open High program in the neighborhood. Longtime residents also recall a somewhat similar situation some time ago where the City tried to sell off Pleasants Park, the ‘pocket park’ at Laurel and Albemarle (site of Laurel Street Methodist Church that burned down) to a developer, but re-located deed restrictions prevented it from happening.

In addition here is a photo of the deed whereby the St. Andrews Association conveyed the Grace Arents School property at Pine and China Streets to the City of Richmond in 1911 (DB 210c, Page 497; March 14, 1911). The deed specifies that the land will be used for a free school for city children.

Grace Arents School deed, DB 210c P 497 March 14, 1911 copy

Water Leak at Idlewood and Cherry

A neighbor reports this morning:

water leak at idlewood and cherry has taken a turn for the worse. I noticed cars sliding on the long patch of ice that the leak turned into over night while trying to stop at the light. I called it in. I know someone else mentioned calling it in a week or so ago, but the city reported being unable to find an open case on the matter.

Here is a previous See Click Fix on it:

Issue ID: 1382972
Viewed: 8 times
Neighborhood: Oregon Hill
Reported: on 2014-11-30
Cherry & Idlewood St.: The water is still seeping out of the manhole cover as of Sunday night. I think it had stopped for while on Sunday, but I’m not sure. It’s a fairly small amount of water. BY the way, does “Open” mean no one from the City has looked at this post yet? It’s a holiday weekend, so I imagine there’s not a lot of staff til Monday….

Renegade Market/William Byrd Community House News

From email newsletter:
William Byrd Open House, Tuesday, December 9, 5:30pm – 7pm, WBCH Building side
The WBCH Board of Governors & The Associate Board will be hosting an open house at WBCH on Tuesday, December 9th , from 5:30-7:00. This will be held in the Library. The open house will give current supporters and new friends of William Byrd Community House the chance to see the classrooms and library, talk to Board Members and Staff, and generally learn more about the great work that takes place here every day for the benefit of Richmond’s kids. The Open House is a great opportunity to hear how WBCH’s approach to early childhood development that includes Academic, Family and Nutritional health is making a difference. Our dramatic increase in enrollment this year underscores that the need for these services in Richmond is great. Please join us!
Thank You 2014

Renegade Market Holiday Celebration, Tuesday, December 23, 3pm ’till sunset
Come to William Byrd Community House for the Renegade Market on Tuesday, December 23rd. Our die hard market vendors will be here for your shopping pleasure. WBCH will be serving FREE hot chocolate and hot apple cider. See the lights. Sing carols. Celebrate the season.

Renegade Market Banner
The regular Market season runs from the first Tuesday in May through the last Tuesday of October. From November through April, the Renegade Market is in session each Tuesday from 3pm to sunset. The Renegade Market is similar to Byrd House Market only with fewer vendors and activities.
Renegade Market,Tuesdays, 3pm – sunset, November – April
Always the latest information at:

Martin’s A+ School Rewards, October 5, 2014 through March 21, 2015
Martins A Plus School Rewards logo whiteMartins logo
Shop at Martin’s and earn money for WBCH Early Childhood Education.
Register your Martin’s BONUSCARD and designate William Byrd Community House to receive your A+ School Rewards every time you shop between now and March 21, 2015. Rewards points will be turned into cash for Early Childhood Education at William Byrd.
Go to: to register. William Byrd school code—06816

closes out 8th successful year
Kids at BHM
On Tuesday, October 28, 2014, Byrd House Market closed out its 8th regular season. The Market began as one of three programming efforts aimed at increasing access to fresh, healthy, local foods. William Byrd’s mission and vision statements articulate the agency’s understanding of how good nutrition and healthy eating have long-lasting positive effects on children’s cognitive endeavors.

WBCH Mission:
We provide high quality educational, developmental and nutritional programs to children in the City of Richmond so they are academically, socially and emotionally prepared to succeed in school and in life.

Did you know? William Byrd Community House is now a Community Partner of Baker’s Crust/Carytown
As a Community Partner of Baker’s Crust/Carytown, William Byrd Community House receives 15% of sales* from WBCH supporters year round. But you must tell your server you wish to support William Byrd!
Dine- in, Carry-out, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Catering Services, Dessert – all qualify. So let your friends, family and colleagues know about this tasty way to benefit William Byrd and its mission of:
Growing Richmond’s Kids: Smart, Strong, Self-confident.

Summer/Fall Volunteer Groups Execute Projects and Tasks for William Byrd
Summer and Fall brought a strong showing of volunteer groups to William Byrd. Projects completed include: painting of the basement ECE area plus two new ECE murals, irrigation run from the modular to the Farmlet, compost bins relocated, assistance at Byrd House Market, leaves raked and playground equipment cleaned, furniture moved, carpets steam cleaned, fall crops planted in Farmlet, holiday food drives, craft supply and program supply drives and an inventory of Market and Farmlet equipment.
ECE mural

Our deepest thanks and appreciation to the following for their hard work, flexibility and support of WBCH:
Washington & Lee, VSU Dietetic Interns – Service Learning Class, St. Edwards Youth Ministry, Virginia Volunteerism Conference, Altria, Dominion Resources, VCU – Masters of Health Administration, Classes 2016 and 2017, MWV, Collegiate Schools – Kindergarten, Temple Beth El – Rauch Youth Group, University of Richmond Bonner Scholars – Freshmen Explorers, VCU – Masters of Social Work Student Association, Byrd House Board, Three Chopt Presbyterian Church, Seventh Street Christian Church, HandsOn Greater Richmond, University of Richmond
Cutting pipe for irrigation linePainting walls in ECE program area

Altria volunteers September 2014 painting
Thank You Fall Semester Individual Volunteers
Volunteer facepainting at market

It seems like the school year just started but last week we said good-by to our fall semester individual volunteers. We thank them for their commitment to service at William Byrd and wish them good luck with exams and happy holidays.
University of Richmond
Francie Edwards – Preschool
Emma Gleckel – Preschool
Alexis Williams – Preschool
Maria Psarakis – Extended Day
Caroline Jones – Extended Day
Annie Blanc – Administrative
Trista Li – Farmlet
Ru Chen – Farmlet

Virginia Commonwealth University
Taylor Forr – Farmlet, Byrd House Market, Library
Johnel Cunningham – Extended Day
Louis Huynh – Library, Byrd House Market
Sarah Moniz – Byrd House Market, Library
Toni Taylor – Library
Stanley Dillon – Library
Olga Barshcheuskaya – Library

Virginia Union University
Taylor White – Extended Day
Katrease Northern – After School
David Hayes – Preschool
U of R Bonner Scholars Serve WBCH

We simply cannot imagine William Byrd without our University of Richmond Bonner Scholars who are here every week and play an integral role in our programming. Bonners commit to the agency for 3 1/2 years. They are truly a part of the William Byrd family.
Thanks to:
Allen Stambaugh (senior) – Farmlet
Casey Nolan (junior) – After School
Emily Onufer (sophomore) – Byrd House Market