City and Leaves and Street Sweeping

I have had a few neighbors ask about the leaf situation and the City.

Here is what I have heard:

Street Sweeping is scheduled to take place in mid-January for Oregon Hill. No parking signs will be places 48 hours in advance.

To be clear, the leaf collection system has changed. Street sweeping is NOT leaf collection. Residents are to rake and collect leave they wish removed and place those bags near their supercans. If a resident wishes to have leaves vacuumed, they will pay a $30 fee. I also like to encourage folks to mulch them with their lawn mowers or put leaves in the flower beds. All residents are responsible for maintaining the sidewalks just like with snow or ice.

Leaf Collection: http://www.richmondgov.com/PublicWorks/Leafcollection.aspx

I hope this helps.

What’s The Plan For Open High?

From Times Dispatch article:

Open

Plan A: A complete renovation/replacement would be done starting in fiscal year 2027.

Plan A cost: $5.6 million ($559,723 in 2027; $3.9 million in 2028; $1.1 million in 2029)

Plan B: A complete renovation/replacement would be done starting in fiscal year 2027.

Plan B cost: $5.6 million ($559,723 in 2027; $3.9 million in 2028; $1.1 million in 2029)

Neighbor Brings Important Correction On Larus Park Water Deal To Fore

Pay attention, Laurel Street neighbor Charles Pool holding school.

Dear Honorable Members of Richmond City Council,
There is an important correction printed on page A4 of today’s Richmond Times Dispatch:
“CORRECTION: The city of Richmond could generate $4.1 million in gross revenue under a revised water agreement with Chesterfield County that, if approved, would permit the county to construct a water tank and pumping station in Larus Park. The figure was misstated in a story Nov. 22 on Page B2.” [The misstated figure was given as NET revenue rather than GROSS revenue in the Nov. 22 article.]
The O&R Request accompanying Ordinance 2017-209, which would allow the county to build a 2 million gallon water tank in Larus Park, deceptively states:
“REVENUE TO CITY: $4,103,000 five year total starting in 2021.” (Please see attachment.)
Now the city administration has acknowledged to the Times Dispatch that this projected revenue to the city from the Larus Park project is GROSS not NET revenue.
The $4.1 million in projected GROSS revenue from Ordinance 2017-209 includes all of the city’s high costs for providing up to five million gallons of additional water per day (or 9.1 BILLION additional gallons of treated water over five years) to Chesterfield County. The city’s costs for providing an additional 9.1 billion gallons of treated water to the county include salaries of employees, costs for running the electrical pumps, chemicals for purifying the water, etc.
Because the city would be contractually responsible for the 4,000 feet of supply water line to the proposed facility at a cost to the city of $1.7 million, the city would actually run a NET LOSS in the five years starting in 2021.
Ordinance 2017-209 would continue for another generation the agreement where the city makes only 5% over actual costs on water volume sold to the county, which comes to only 3.5 cents per ccf (hundred cubic feet) or about $85,000 per year. Capital cost reimbursement from the project is contractually limited to reimbursement for the ACTUAL COSTS the city incurs.
Selling water volume to the county at 5% over actual costs while selling water to Richmonder’s at 500% over actual costs puts city businesses at a serious competitive disadvantage. This cheap water provided by the city is fueling the county’s potential new MEGA SITE and new Niagara water bottling plant.
Even worse: if the county unilaterally decides not to renew the lease, Ordinance 2017-209 would contractually obligate the city to pay the county for the entire $7.5 million water tank and pumping station in Larus Park, less depreciation, even if the city does not need or want the water facility.
Why should Richmond sacrifice sacred city parkland in Larus Park in order to run a NET LOSS over the next five years with the county on this water deal that puts Richmond businesses at a serious competitive disadvantage?
Honorable Members of Council, please look closely at the terms of the proposed Ordinance 2017-209 in light of the revelation in today’s Times Dispatch that the administration is deceptively projecting GROSS rather than NET revenue from the project.
Thank you very much for closely examining this issue.
Sincerely,
Charles Pool

Bollards

From email:

Dear Councilpersons Gray and Agelasto

A recent post from the Monroe Park Conservancy Instagram account shows what appears to be a large number of bollards manufactured by Robinson Iron (the same company that restored the fountain) awaiting installation in the park. While these are very beautiful cast iron bollards, they are very expensive and also very brittle due to the casting process. In about 2004, Monroe Park was having serious problems with cars entering through the corners and cutting through the park at rapid speeds. The Monroe Park Advisory Council tasked Larry Miller and myself to choose and install bollards at the park corners with city funds. We chose these beautiful bollards by Robinson Iron as we were working with them on refurbishing the fountain at the time. Of the 30 or so bollards that were purchased from Robinson, probably 90% failed and broke within 4 years
(see photos below). This presents a considerable future liability to the City should the City be responsible for replacing these bollards and I wanted to bring this to your attention. Welding up cast iron to repair them is tricky and very expensive and usually doesn’t last.

I’m sorry for not being able to include a link to the Monroe Park Conservancy Instagram account showing these bollards but as you may know, Ms. Massie has barred me from accessing the MPC Instagram account. You may also access the picture at the MPC website.

Sincerely,

Charles T. Woodson

City’s Cold Weather Overflow Shelter Open November 22 – 27

From City press release:

Richmond, VA – The Cold Weather Overflow Shelter will be open Wednesday, November 22 – Monday, November 27, 2017 as temperatures are forecast to remain at or below 40 degrees.

Residents in need of overnight shelter are asked to report to Commonwealth Catholic Charities (511 W. Grace Street) during operational hours for a comprehensive intake and referral to the appropriate shelter. Shelter registration is from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. For individuals who are not eligible for existing shelter space or if all available beds have been filled, Commonwealth Catholic Charities will provide a referral to the Cold Weather Overflow Shelter.

The Cold Weather Overflow Shelter is located in the City’s Public Safety Building at 505 North 9th Street. The shelter opens each evening at 7 p.m. and closes the following morning at 6 a.m. Individuals seeking access to the Overflow Shelter must have a referral. Food will not be provided and pets are not allowed.

City residents are also advised the Department of Social Services provides emergency assistance with gas and electric disconnection notices for residents who qualify. Residents may also call the Fuel Line at (804) 646-7046.

The elderly or residents with disabilities should contact Senior Connections for assistance at (804) 343-3000, Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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A Reiteration Of Opposition To The Monroe Park Conservancy

From email:

Dear Councilperson Gray and other friends

Please find enclosed a petition of over 350 signatures of people opposed to the damage that has been done to the tree canopy of Monroe Park, Richmond’s oldest and most historic municipal park.
During the park’s period of historic significance, there were 362 trees of 26 varieties in the park. When the approved Monroe Park master plan was conceived, the park was down to 155 trees due to natural causes and lack of consistent maintenance and planting. Currently, there are less than a hundred trees in the park, many destroyed through actions violating established city policy. Even after trees that are planned to be planted are put in, there will be approximately one third as many trees as during the period of historic significance. This damage has been caused by a departure from the approved master plan and work documents through piecemeal alterations advocated in the last year by the City of Richmond on behalf of the Monroe Park Conservancy. The resulting damage cannot be corrected for at least a generation even if a comprehensive tree restoration plan were to be immediately enacted.
The approved Monroe Park master plan (2008) was celebrated for its community inclusivity and exhaustive research into the historic value of the park and was assembled by city council appointed community representatives with the assistance of the firm Rhodeside and Harwell at a cost of over 700,000 dollars to the taxpayers of the city of Richmond. It is tragic that it has been recently superseded by such a radical departure.
The approval of a 30 year lease to the the private Monroe Park Conservancy has turned out to be a tragic mistake and has served the city of Richmond poorly.
In closing, may I remind you all that the taxpayers of Richmond have invested well over 4.53 million dollars on this “renovation” and yet are denied legitimate representation on the MPC executive board, even though VCU has three seats and a seat was recently added for Dominion Energy. This lack of community representation violates the spirit of council approved resolution 2014-R64-64. It is notable, councilperson Gray, that both you and the Mayor’s chief of staff are sitting board members of the Monroe Park Conservancy.
It is in the best interest of the city of Richmond to consider dissolving the lease agreement and for city council to appoint a community based board to advise the city on Monroe Park matters.

Sincerely,

Charles Todd Woodson

(Editor’s note- The Sierra Club Falls of the James previously called for termination of the lease)

Reminder To Vote Tomorrow

This is yet another reminder for Oregon Hill residents to vote tomorrow.

Poll Location:

CLARK SPRINGS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
1101 DANCE STREET
RICHMOND, VA 23220-6112

(Ed. note: just a short walk to the other side of Hollywood Cemetery from Oregon Hill)

Polling Hours:
6:00 AM – 7:00 PM

The City of Richmond has new optical scan voting equipment. To use this equipment, you will vote on a paper ballot and insert the completed paper ballot in the scanning machine. (Note: Please be sure to flip over the page and vote on ‘Proposition A’ in addition to candidates).

For more information, contact the City of Richmond Registrar. The League of Women Voters also has a voter education site called Vote411.org

OHNA Meeting Tomorrow Night

From announcement:

Good evening

OHNA (Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association ed.) will be holding its monthly meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, October 23rd, at 7 pm at St. Andrew’s Parish House.

One of the neighbors is attempting to revive the OHNA pre-meeting potluck. If you wish to participate, email me. I will be opening the door to the Parish House at 6:30 pm for the potluck.

I’ve had some interest from political candidates about attending, but no solid confirmations.

Thanks
Jennifer

Enjoy The Folk Festival But Don’t Park In Oregon Hill

There will be restricted parking in Oregon Hill this year for the this year’s 13th Annual Richmond Folk Festival.

Councilperson Parker Agelasto announced this at last night’s City Council meeting and OHNA President Jennifer Hancock confirmed that they are going over plans now.
Some portions of the neighborhood will be password protected for residents and some barricaded streets will be in effect.

While many neighbors are thankful and relieved to hear this, it is somewhat curious. With the roundabout construction, the route through or into the neighborhood is going to be congested anyway. There have been a few complaints from Southside residents about the lack of a Folk Festival bus shuttle to/from Southside. While the schedule is definitely rich in fantastic talent that should not be missed, there are no huge, blockbuster, headliner names. The Tredegar Civil War Center construction will also take up a lot of space that was previously used for the Festival.

In other words, while folks should look forward to attending the Richmond Folk Festival and expect to hear some great music, and certainly encourage others do so also, it seems like it will be purposely smaller this year. It’s a good year to use mass transit or ride bicycles to the Festival.