City News

The Mayor's Office

Relief, investment, and opportunity creation in the City of Richmond

City officials are poised to put forth a new resolution to bring the One Casino + Resort to Richmond.  Empowered with the knowledge that residents want to know how the casino revenue will be spent, city staff proposes a two-cent tax rate reduction and uses the additional revenue for one-time capital improvement projects for Richmond City Public Schools and the City of Richmond.

The infusion of 1500 jobs and millions of dollars in economic growth and development that will help Richmond grow is exactly what many leaders and community members desire.

But it is much more than dollars and cents, it is also about closing gaps and providing relief.  Equity and community wealth gaps can be narrowed with this one project.  As the city continues to work on diversity, equity, and inclusion, the casino project can assist with leveling the playing field for many Richmonders who continue to struggle during these uncertain and unprecedented times.  This resolution doubles down on the city’s commitment to creating “One Richmond”.

"Our city needs to explore opportunities that create new jobs, generate new revenues, and create new tourism destinations,” said Councilman Andreas Addison. “This is more than a casino, it’s a new privately funded entertainment district for music, arts, and other amenities in the heart of southside where more investment opportunities are needed. I support the democratic process to explore this project."

While the proposed ideas center around tax rate reduction and capital improvement projects, which are both areas that provide relief for Richmond residents, the main relief can be found in providing jobs for those hardest hit by COVID.  Relief can be found in the revenue being used to address transit mobility issues.  Relief can also be found in the revenue being used to address diversifying the city’s economic engines that can bring sustainable change to Richmond.

"I strongly believe that the revenue from the resort casino project can purposefully be used to provide property tax relief for residents across the city,” said Councilwoman Ann-Frances Lambert.  Richmond is one of the hottest real estate markets in the country.  In fact, in the 3rd district, there are working families, seniors, and other residents on fixed incomes who are unable to pay for their increased property taxes.  They are at risk of losing their homes.  At the end of the day, I think that this project will help mitigate one of our city’s top issues."

Introducing new economic engines into the city is extremely important as the community looks strategically at moving away from being dependent on the government.

“Economic development is a top priority for 2022. A lack of diversity in revenue sources makes the cost of living in Richmond too high,” states Councilwoman Ellen Robertson. “As such, in 2022, we should focus on economic development to include: the Boulevard, Downtown/Central City Small Area Plan, $20M investment in affordable housing, South Richmond 1-95 Gateway and Urban One Hotel Casino Resort - which will create thousands of jobs, reduce real-estate taxes tremendously, and assist with completing facilities and infrastructure development throughout the city.  When we increase employment, increase tax revenue and retail sales, and put community benefits in place that will drastically impact the lives of citizens, we are certainly putting the community first.”

As Richmonders look towards the future of their city, officials have heard the need for more jobs, bringing the right development that benefits all of Richmond, and growing through sustainable economic development.

“The One Casino + Resort opportunity makes sense for our entire community.  Our residents should have the chance to change the narrative of their city and One Casino + Resort helps us do that,” stated Councilwoman Reva Trammell.  “Providing jobs and access is paramount to what we believe in doing in Richmond.  With the One Casino + Resort, we can jumpstart careers, provide access and wealth-building opportunities for those who need them, create spaces for creativity, and provide new educational outlets.  This is what inclusive development looks like – something for everyone.”

While the proposals have to be vetted, it is important to highlight some of the community benefits if One Casino + Resort calls Richmond home –

  • No city funding required
  • Capital Investment over $560M which can be spent on improvement projects in Richmond City Schools and the City of Richmond
  • Influx of 1500 jobs for those who need them most
  • $16M to support local community organizations which assists with decreasing the wealth gap
  • $325K to support transit mobility solutions which creates more access

Councilmember Michael Jones echoes the sentiments of his colleagues.  “Investment in our community and our people is the key to the casino project.  There is no time like the present to ensure that our residents know we are committed to creating a better Richmond for everyone,” said Councilmember Michael Jones. “While the casino may be housed on the Southside, its benefits will be felt citywide.”

The community benefits encompass all of Richmond therefore all Richmonders win.

“Our residents deserve tax relief and access to good jobs,” said Mayor Levar M. Stoney. “They want public infrastructure improvements and more funding for school capital projects. This project provides a unique opportunity to do just that. I know City Council is committed to creating opportunities that uplift and support ALL Richmond residents, and I’m hopeful tonight’s vote affirms this shared commitment.”

This project is about the people of Richmond.  It is about providing security, relief, jobs, and investment which leads to a brighter future for the entire city.

Patrons for the resolution include President Newbille, Vice President Robertson, Councilman Jones, Councilwoman Trammell, Councilwoman Lambert, Councilman Addison, and Mayor Stoney.

The proposed resolution will be introduced at today’s City Council Meeting at 6 PM.

City, Venture Richmond to cut ribbon on new parklet, plaza, and community-painted mural at gateway to Arts District in Historic Jackson Ward

The city and Venture Richmond are prepared to cut the ribbon on a new, vibrant public space connecting the Historic Jackson Ward neighborhood and City Center. The intersection of Brook Road and W Marshall Street now hosts a three-part placemaking project consisting of a custom-designed parklet, pedestrian plaza, and intersection mural designed to provide space for community gatherings and art appreciation.

Designed by local firm Walter Parks Architects, this is the first custom-designed public parklet built in the City of Richmond. Located outside of ART 180, it will provide safe space for participants in the nonprofit’s youth programming to gather before and after class, and is open to the general public as well. 

Local artist Chris Visions designed the mural, which references the rich history of Jackson Ward and the neighborhood’s enduring mission to carry on a legacy of Black excellence. The design is based on the Sankofa, an Andikra symbol from Ghana meaning “to go back and retrieve/get,” and the colors echo the red, black and green of the Pan-African flag. ART 180 youth painted the mural as part of  the culmination of their Community Program earlier this fall.

The plaza is a result of reclaiming unused public space in front of Gallery 5 and restoring the historic bricks that existed beneath the asphalt. Artist Chris Visions created an artistic extension of the intersection mural into the plaza space and Venture Richmond provided bike racks for people visiting Gallery 5, ART 180, and neighboring businesses and residents.

The Broad Street Task Force, a group of proponents of Richmond’s Downtown convened by the mayor, shared that residents want more vibrant spaces to gather in the area. This, alongside an Asphalt Art Initiative placemaking grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the advocacy of community partners, acted as a catalyst for this new public space placemaking project at the intersection of Brook and Marshall.

City of Richmond staff from Planning and Development Review, the Department of Public Works, the Department of Public Utilities and the Public Art Commission worked alongside Venture Richmond to make the project possible. Additional project partners include ART 180, Big Secret, CB Chandler Construction, Cite Design, Gallery 5, Richmond Toolbank, Vanderbilt Properties, and Walter Parks Architects.

A ribbon cutting for the placemaking project will take place on site in front of Gallery 5 (200 W Marshall St) on Wednesday, November 17 at 2:00 p.m. All are welcome.

Quotes from partners:

Mayor Levar Stoney: “The pandemic has taught us that safe and welcoming outdoor space is more important than ever. I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the many people who dedicated their time and talents to make this possible. It will be an enduring community asset and a model for future endeavors.”

Max Hepp-Buchanan, Director of Riverfront and Downtown Placemaking, Venture Richmond: “It has been so rewarding to see this shared vision take shape over two years of work with the ever-growing team of businesses, nonprofit organizations, residents, and artists in the area immediately surrounding the intersection of Brook and Marshall. By working together and bringing everything we have to offer to the table, we have created a sense of place through lasting infrastructure change that everyone in the neighborhood can enjoy.”

Prabir Mehta, Chair of the Board of Directors, Gallery 5: “Having a place for the Jackson Ward community to gather, enjoy art, and interact with one another is vital for our neighborhood's general health. Gallery5 is excited too as we will now be able to create unique programing that we would have never been able to do in the past. We're very excited to see how this new plaza will become a home for engaging communities through the arts!”

Sean Wheeler, Project Manager and Registered Architect, Walter Parks Architects:WPA collaborated on the design and provided drawings for the project. When we entered the Park(ing) Day competition [hosted by Venture Richmond] back in 2019, we were excited to try and create an engaging but temporary public space. And although all of the installations only lasted a day, the transformations and interactions within those creative spaces sparked hope for a more permanent placemaking. That is why our office and I think the immediate neighborhood were willing to pursue a more durable site specific design in our shared public way.”

Marlene Paul, Cofounder and Executive Director of ART 180: “I love the ‘intersection’ of public art, placemaking, and community building that this intersection promotes. As a nine-year resident of Marshall Street, ART 180 welcomes this new way to connect our young people and our teaching artists to our neighborhood, honor its history, and positively participate in its future. We hope the parklet and plaza will be active spaces that invite the community beyond our block to gather and connect. The mural is intended to slow cars, just as the parklet and plaza will seek to slow human beings—to gather, connect, intersect.” 

Susan Glasser, Secretary of the Richmond Public Art Commission: “This mural embodies public art in every sense: created by a local artist, painted by local young people and marking space for local gatherings. The Public Art Commission is proud to have supported this effort and looks forward to continuing our work to empower the making of art for all.”

Final American Rescue Plan Act budget amendment introduced to Richmond City Council

The city’s American Rescue Plan Act budget amendment was introduced at last night’s formal meeting of Richmond City Council. The amendment outlines the proposed allocation of $77.5 million from the federal government, the first half of the total amount of funding ($155 million) allotted to the city.

The final spending plan is a product of consensus reached between the administration and Council. Because the plan is a budget amendment, it cannot be amended.

“This final plan represents a blueprint for building back better and stronger through strategic, intentional and equitable investments that deliver on the promise of a quality of life our residents want, need and deserve,” said Mayor Levar M. Stoney.

“I’d like to thank the members of Richmond City Council for their insight and collaboration to use this funding to make significant advances in affordable housing, health and the well-being of our children and families.”

The overall spending proposal includes:

  • $32 million to build back affordable and healthy homes, including $20 million for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, meeting the goal established in the Equity Agenda and supported by City Council four years ahead of schedule.

  • $5 million for a Health Equity fund, managed by the Richmond City Health District through an MOU with the city. The fund would support ongoing COVID-19 response, maternal and infant health, food access, mental and behavioral health, and more.

  • $81 million invested in children and families, residents’ top priority in the first round of public engagement, with $2 million for childcare and $78 million for funding community centers including: T.B. Smith Community Center, Southside Community Center, Calhoun Center and a new center on the current site of Lucks Field.

The plan also includes $19 million to plan for and address climate and environmental challenges in the city, an $8.5 million investment in public safety, and $5.9 million in economic supports.

Changes implemented in the month since the Mayor’s announcement of the draft plan include:

The city gathered feedback on the draft plan from September 21 to October 4 and reached 1,300 individuals - 51.4% through digital engagement and 48.6% through in-person or phone conversations. When given the chance to add or remove something from the plan, an average of 75% of responses per category elected not to; 25% of responses proposed changes.

To read the full plan and find details on the public engagement period, please visit



El alcalde presenta el borrador del plan de inversiones “Plan de Rescate Estadounidense”

Para leer una copia de las declaraciones del alcalde, oprima aquí. Para conocer más detalles del plan, visite la página

Richmond, Virginia — Hoy, durante la reunión informal del Concejo de la ciudad de Richmond, fue presentado el borrador del plan de inversiones para unos $155 millones otorgados por el gobierno federal.

El borrador incorpora las opiniones de unas dos mil personas que llenaron la encuesta, además de las perspectivas particulares de los miembros del Concejo de la ciudad, quienes compartieron las prioridades y preocupaciones principales de cada uno de sus distritos.

El alcalde llamó al plan “un plano para una mejor y más poderosa reconstrucción, a través de inversiones estratégicas, intencionales y equitativas que satisfacen la promesa de una calidad de vida que nuestros residentes quieren, necesitan y merecen”.

Los siguientes son algunos puntos llamativos del plan. Puede encontrar los detalles completos en la página

Incluye $32 millones para volver a construir hogares asequibles y saludables. Esto incluye $20 millones para el Fideicomiso para Vivienda Asequible, lo que permitiría cumplir con la meta establecida en la Agenda de Equidad apoyada por el Concejo cuatro años antes de lo programado.

El plan propone la creación de un Fondo para Equidad en Salud de $5 millones, que sería administrado por el Distrito de Salud de la Ciudad de Richmond mediante un memorando de acuerdo (MOU, por sus siglas en inglés) con la ciudad. Este fondo apoyaría una respuesta continua contra el COVID-19, además de salud materno-infantil, acceso a alimentación, salud mental y del comportamiento, entre otros.

Dijo la directora de Equidad en la Salud del Distrito de Salud de la Ciudad de Richmond, Jackie Lawrence: “Sabemos que el acceso individual y familiar a la alimentación, a los servicios preventivos y de salud mental tienen un impacto enorme en su salud… hemos visto cómo esto ha ocurrido durante la pandemia, pero esto no es exclusivo del COVID-19. Una inversión financiera en servicios de salud pública que sea incluyente y que tenga en cuenta los determinantes sociales de la salud, tendrá beneficios de larga duración para la comunidad”.

Se dirigirán $2 millones hacia el cuidado infantil (guarderías, etc.) y otros $78 millones hacia los parques y centros comunitarios, para un total de $80 millones de inversión en los niños y sus familias, la cual fue señalada como la prioridad número uno de los richmondeses durante la primera ronda de participación pública. Los centros comunitarios que recibirían la inversión incluyen a los siguientes:

  • T.B. Smith
  • Southside
  • Calhoun
  • y un nuevo centro comunitario en el actual Lucks Field.

Con los fondos provistos por el plan, los centros comunitarios se convertirán en centros de oportunidades – ejes de los vecindarios, que pueden brindarles a sus residentes ayuda y acceso a asistencia y beneficios financieros y de vivienda, además de servicios para la tercera edad, acceso a la alimentación, cuidado en salud, educación para el bienestar y programación para jóvenes, así como capacitación y desarrollo de la fuerza laboral. 

El director de Parques, Recreación e Instalaciones Comunitarias, Chris Frelke, dijo acerca de esta inversión: “Esta es la más grande inversión en Parques y Recreación que se haya hecho en varias generaciones y es un acto monumental para darle prioridad a las comunidades de Richmond que han sido ignoradas con más frecuencia”.

El plan también incluye un total de $23.3 millones para planear y enfrentar los desafíos ambientales y climáticos de la ciudad, $8.5 millones de inversión en seguridad pública y $5.9 millones en apoyo financiero. Si desea conocer más detalles, visite la página

Mañana lanzaremos la segunda fase de la participación en el plan propuesto, lo que incluye tanto oportunidades digitales como en persona para que el público dé su opinión.

El alcalde ha puesto la meta de aprobar el plan antes de que finalice octubre, haciendo hincapié en la necesidad de “ponernos a trabajar para continuar mejorando las vidas de nuestros residentes”.



Mayor presents draft American Rescue Plan spending plan

To view a copy of the mayor’s remarks, click here. For plan details, visit

At today’s informal meeting of Richmond City Council, the draft spending plan for roughly $155 million from the federal government was presented.

The draft plan incorporates the feedback of roughly 2,000 survey respondents and the unique insights of Richmond City Council members, who shared the core priorities and concerns of each of their districts.

The mayor called the plan, “a blueprint for building back better and stronger through strategic, intentional and equitable investments that deliver on the promise of a quality of life our residents want, need and deserve.”

The following are some highlights from the plan. Full plan details can be found at

It includes $32 million to build back affordable and healthy homes. This includes $20 million for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, meeting the goal established in the Equity Agenda and supported by City Council four years ahead of schedule.

The plan proposes the creation of a $5 million Health Equity fund, managed by the Richmond City Health District through an MOU with the city. The fund would support ongoing COVID-19 response, maternal and infant health, food access, mental and behavioral health, and more.

Says Jackie Lawrence, Director of Health Equity for the Richmond City Health District, “"We know that an individual's and a family's access to food, mental health services, and preventative services has a massive impact on their health... we've seen this play out during the pandemic, but this is not unique COVID-19. A financial investment for public health services that is inclusive of those that address the social determinants of health will have long lasting benefits to our community."

$2 million is directed toward childcare and $78 million in parks and community centers, totaling $80 million invested in children and families, residents’ top priority in the first round of public engagement. The funded community centers include:

  • TB Smith Community Center
  • Southside Community Center
  • Calhoun Center
  • A new center on the current site of Lucks Field.

With funding in the plan, the community centers will become opportunity centers - neighborhood hubs that can provide residents with assistance and access to financial and housing assistance and benefits, senior services, food access, healthcare, wellness education, youth programming and workforce development and training.

Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Chris Frelke says of the investment, “This is the largest investment in Parks and Recreation in generations and a monumental movement to prioritize Richmond’s most often overlooked communities.”

The plan also includes $23.3 million in total to plan for and address climate and environmental challenges in the city, an $8.5 million investment in public safety, and $5.9 million in economic supports. For full details, visit

Tomorrow, the city will launch the second phase of our engagement on the proposed plan, which will include both digital and in-person opportunities to provide feedback.

The mayor set a goal to approve the plan before the end of October, emphasizing the need to, “get to work and continue to improve the lives of our residents.”


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