Last Updated: 2011-11-10

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September 15, 2011 Vol. 3 Issue 9


Welcome to the September 2011 edition of the "Building a Better Richmond" newsletter. Last weekend was very exciting in the City of Richmond. We started off last Thursday with an event with the Central Virginia Food Bank and Nascar Champion Jeff Gordon where we encouraged people from all across the region to donate to the Central Virginia Food Bank.

President Barack Obama speaks at University of Richmond

Last Friday started with a visit from President Barack Obama as he spoke at the University of Richmond about his American Jobs Act, which could help residents, businesses and schools in the City of Richmond. We finished up Friday night with a Richmond Unite fund raising event, featuring Sir Richard Branson, where funds were raised for youth oriented non-profits. And, the weekend wrapped up with a moving ceremony at the Carillion in remembrance of September 11, 2001, which was follow by thousands of people volunteering their time to help others.

September means back to school for youth in our area and I encourage all drivers to remain on high alert and to obey the speed limit around our schools as youngsters are not always paying attention to oncoming traffic. To help ensure that our young people had a safe first day back to school, several officers of the Richmond Police Department joined Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Yvonne Brandon and myself in visiting several Richmond Public Schools to greet our youth. Richmond Public Schools has made tremendous strides in educating our youth, strides I am certain will improve upon this school year. But I believe education is a team effort that expands past the traditional school hours. That is why the City Neighbor-to-Neighbor initiative is working with Higher Achievement to provide after-school programs at Boushall and Henderson middle schools. To volunteer for this effort, please visit

This is one of my favorite times of the year in the River City as festivals are plentiful. One of the many upcoming festivals includes the 4th Annual Shockoe-on-the-Half Shell on September 24 at the 17th Street Farmers' Market. Vendors will prepare oysters almost every way imaginable; raw, steamed, frittered, fried, stewed or even on pizza.

During the 2nd Street Festival on October 1 & 2, the hands of time will be turned back once again to when the City's 2nd Street was the heart and soul of Richmond's African-American community. Each year thousands of people come to Richmond's historic Jackson Ward to hear live music on four stages, enjoy children's activities, taste delicious food, shop in the marketplace, dance in the streets and renew old friendships.

Richmond Folk Festival.

From 2nd to 7th streets to include Brown's Island and historic Tredegar, Downtown Richmond's Riverfront comes alive from October 14 - 16 for the Richmond Folk Festival. The Richmond Folk Festival embraces the heritage and traditions of all Americans as legendary masters and the next generation of dynamic young artists celebrate the musical soul and cultural roots of America on six stages of continuous music and dance. World-class artisans, countless varieties of ethnic foods and a family area ensure there's something for every taste and every age!

I hope you are able to enjoy all and the many other fantastic events that occur during this time of year in our City. For more festival dates and information, please visit Please enjoy reading the remainder of this newsletter and forward it to your friends and family.

Hurricane Irene Update

Our City has experienced the wrath of mother nature over the past several weeks, but we have persevered. Thank you for being so patient during this very stressful time. Thank you for stepping forward to help your neighbor. And, thank you for bonding together and continuing to make Richmond a great place to live.

Due to the extensive amount of storm debris throughout the City, crews are continuing to work to remove fallen trees and debris. If you leave items curbside, do not place them on sidewalks, in drainage ditches or in parking lanes. Debris may be placed in alleys, but must not block the alleyway. Due to the magnitude of the clean-up effort, it may take anywhere from several days to several weeks for all debris to be collected.

City crews cleanup after Hurricane Irene.

The City understands in this extreme situation, some branches and limbs may be very large. If you are cutting limbs, please exercise extreme caution and wear the proper protective equipment. If possible, please try to cut the pieces so they are no longer than 4 feet long, not larger than 2-4 inches in diameter and do not weigh more than 40 pounds, as this size is easier for curbside or alley removal.

Hurricane Irene is a learning experience as we should all take steps to ensure our families are prepared for natural disasters. After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own until help arrives. Emergency standards recommend having your own food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least three days. City officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately, so you could get help within hours, or it might even take days. As most of us experienced with Hurricane Irene, basic services such as electricity may be cut off for days, or even a week or longer. I encourage everyone to visit for a detailed list of what should be included in your family's emergency preparedness kit, how to develop a family emergency plan and other pertinent emergency information.

Library Renovations

Tuesday, we reopened the newly renovated Belmont library and just last month we cut the ribbon on the renovated Hull Street library. This reopening is the forth library renovation as we renovated two other libraries in the last year, including North Avenue and Westover Hills. Broad Rock library will begin renovations this winter. More than $9 million has been set aside to complete renovations to all City libraries, as part of the "Building a Better Richmond" fund of the City Capital Improvement Plan. I am excited about the new additions and features of the libraries and I want to you to go and visit your local neighborhood library. The month of September is a great time for you to visit since children have returned to school, and this month is also "Library Card Sign-Up" Month.

The newly renovated libraries have new furniture, carpet, paint and lighting, enlarged meeting areas, and spaces specifically for teens to meet. Our educational system does not only lie within our City schools, so we must continue to ensure our libraries are cared for as well. Also, support the reopening of your neighborhood library by supporting the Richmond Public Library Foundation's Buy-A-Book Fund. With a donation of $25 or $50, a bookplate with your name will be placed in a book at the Belmont Library.

On September 6th, Richmond Public Library (RPL) started their new Nook Simple Touch Readers. You are able to check out 1 of 36 Nooks, so you can eRead your favorite books and magazines on the go. In keeping with the trend of using technology to enhance the Library experience for its patrons, RPL will also begin offering downloadable books and audio books in mid-October.

To celebrate the reopening, overdue fines on books and materials returned to the Belmont Library from September 13-17, will be forgiven.

In Closing

I would like to thank all of those who joined me in remembering the tragic September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks this past weekend and especially those who participated in the Day of Service. Your participation is a show of respect and honors those who perished on that fateful day. Your efforts rekindle the spirit of unity and compassion that swept our nation after 9/11 and better enables us to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Chip Decker, RAA; Paul Manning, Chief Service Officer - City of Richmond; Chief Bryan Norwood, RPD; Chief Robert Creecy, RFD; Mayor Jones; Senator Henry Marsh; Delegate Betsy Carr; Rev. Ben Campbell; Marla Graff Decker, Virginia Secretary of Public Safety; Dr. Norman Merrifield, Director of PRCF - City of Richmond; Heather Markel, HandsOn Greater Richmond, plant a tree at the 9/11 Day of Service

Thank you for taking the time to view this newsletter. I hope you found it informative and insightful and that you will share it with others in your family and community.

For more information on the city of Richmond, please visit

Thank you.

Dwight C. Jones

Mayor, City of Richmond

Contact Information:

Mayor's Office
City of Richmond
900 E. Broad St., Suite 201
Richmond, VA
23219 USA
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Fax: 804-646-7987
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