In today's newsletter, we reflect on the one year anniversary of the Fox fire and share info for a Fox community event tonight at 5pm, announce a Second and Fifth District zoning community meeting, and provide a look ahead to this upcoming week's City meetings. As always, be sure to check out the bulletin board for upcoming events, City resources, and engagement opportunities including supporting Thomas Jefferson's robotics team.
Fox Fire Anniversary
The Fox PTA is hosting a community get together today at 5pm at the recently reopened playground to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Fox Fire. School Board member White and I look forward to being with our Fox family, and providing an update on the reconstruction timeline and funding options, which we also provided in an interview with NBC 12 today. You can read the article here. We will also be calling on our Governor and State elected leaders to help address the more than $1 billion in capital project needs across Richmond Public Schools, as well as other vital staff and student resource needs.
As a reminder, you can also support Fox by attending the PTA’s annual fundraiser February 24th at Hardywood Brewery. More info below the bulletin, and remember everyone is welcome to attend! The event is not just for current or former Fox staff or families.
Zoning Changes Meeting
Mark your calendars! Myself and Councilor Lynch will be hosting a joint 2nd and 5th District zoning changes community meeting on March 7th at 6pm at Binford Middle School. Join us, neighbors, and Planning Department staff for a presentation and Q+A on the three proposed zoning changes that will be coming before City Council for a vote this Spring. View more meeting info and RSVP via the Facebook event.
Not familiar with this process? You can learn more about the three zoning policies (eliminating parking minimums, allowing accessory dwelling units, and amending short term rental regulations) and the process to date, on the City's zoning changes site. You can view the draft recommendations submitted for public feedback last Fall here. Please note, Planning Department staff are working through legal review of the current proposals, as well as incorporating community feedback, and changes are expected prior to formal introduction of legislation to City Council.
You can take the pre-meeting survey to let us know your thoughts and questions ahead of time here (survey closes Feb. 26th).
Upcoming City Meetings
I want to highlight a number of important City meetings coming up next week, including:
City Council's Informal Meeting will be held at 4pm on Monday, and the agenda includes discussion of shared Council priorities in this year's budget.
The COVID-19 Community Level in Richmond is MEDIUM
For more information on testing options, the latest CDC guidance, and vaccinations, check out the RCHD's latest weekly update here.
Early Voting: today is the last day to request your absentee mail ballot for the February 21st election to succeed Congressman McEachin, and in-person early voting starts tomorrow! You can find more information on early voting options here. For more information on the candidates, Democratic nominee Jennifer McClellan, and Republican nominee Leon Benjamin, click here.
City Black History Month Event: come outon Wednesday February 15th at 6pm. The event will take place in the lower level of the train shed at Main Street Station and will feature a series of speakers and distinguished guests. The panel discussion will cover Richmond’s complex history, highlight the city’s recently announced $11 million grant from the Mellon Foundation. More info below the bulletin.
Jackson Ward Community Plan: there will be a workshop to review and provide feedback on the draft Jackson Ward Community Plan tomorrow, February 11th, at 10AM, 1PM, and 4PM at the Calhoun Community Center. More info here.
TJ Robotics Team: The Thomas Jefferson HS robotics team promotes STEM learning in a fun and supportive environment. The Vikingbots would be very grateful for donations of water, afterschool snacks and also lunches from area restaurants for Saturday work sessions and competitions. People who can support the team through monetary donations can do so here. Adult mentors/volunteers with building, engineering, mechanical or coding skills are still needed. If you can help with your time or skill, please email the Vikingbots at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
DPU Financial Assistance: Richmond DPU is now participating in the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), which helps Virginia residents pay their water and wastewater bills. The program will run through December 31, 2023, or until all funds have been distributed. More info here, and below the bulletin board.
Historic Façade Grant Program: do you live in Jackson Ward? Historic Richmond has launched a grant program to provide up to $10,000 for eligible property owners to improve their facades, and you may be eligible. More info here.
City & Community Resources
Call 804-205-3501 to register for free community testing. Events are subject to change or cancellation. Locations are accessible for wheelchairs and other mobility support devices. Click here for non-community testing options.