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Diamond District Presentation, RPS Updates, Preservation Fight and More

GPRA General Membership Meeting, Tueday, Feb. 22, 6:30 pm

Meeting ID: 883 1265 4044

Passcode: 850283

Revisit the Weekly Gazette dated February 5 for all details

We invite all to attend our first Membership Meeting of 2022, conveniently arranged via Zoom.  Meet the GPRA Board, and view and listen to a presentation of the City planners’ vision for Diamond District, their selection criteria for development proposals, and facts about the selection process. Maritza Pechin, Deputy Director of Planning and Development for the City of Richmond will present. “Rich” Saunders, Planner, Land Use Administration and Secretary to the City Planning Commission will speak on City trends in planning and land use, and can answer questions regarding the Richmond 300 plan.

There will be time for your questions, for answers, and discussion.

Reason to be engaged with GPRA:  We have a Planning and Zoning Chair on our Board, Stephen Weisensale, AIA, CSI, who attends meetings and reviews Planning and Land Use Summaries and Legislation for our benefit.

District 2 City Council, Councilor Katherine Jordan, and District 3 Councilor, Ann-Frances Lambert, will be in attendance to join the discussion and to provide City Council updates for our districts.

District 3 Civic Associations Meeting with Councilor Ann-Frances Lambert, Thursday, February 24, 6:00 pm

Microsoft Teams meeting

Join on your computer or mobile app

Click here to join the meeting

Or call in (audio only)

+1 804-316-9457,,974727381#   United States, Richmond

Phone Conference ID: 974 727 381#

Join us!  Councilor Lambert is interested in hearing our Association’s and our residents’ priorities for 2022, and she will provide an update on her priorities.  Interested in “having her ear,” and telling her what is most important to you?  Then, join us!

Preservation versus Demolition of the Historic Second Baptist Church

Background:  From Historic Richmnond, “The 1906 Second Baptist Church sanctuary was designed by William C. Noland of Noland and Baskervill, one of Richmond’s prominent architects and founder of the firm that is now known as Baskervill. The historic Second Baptist sanctuary building, a monumental neoclassic temple with a columned portico, is considered the finest design of its kind in Richmond. Second Baptist is part of a Franklin Street City Old & Historic District created in 1977 and expanded in 1987 to protect an eclectic and glamorous array of historic civic and residential architecture. Second Baptist is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which describes the building as “one of the most architecturally correct porticoes in the city. The design is derived directly from a Roman temple. It is the most distinguished progeny of Jefferson’s Capitol in Richmond.” Today, Second Baptist’s classical façade is a striking landmark on Franklin Street. Many consider Franklin Street to be the essence of Richmond with its fine buildings defining the architectural character of Richmond.”

The Issue:  Thirty years ago, the property owner requested a demolition permit, which was initially denied, followed the required review by the City Architectural Review board. City Council approved the permit on appeal.  Demolition never occurred, and generally, permits expire after 1 year. The current property owner, who owns the Historic Jefferson hotel, has requested demolition in order to construct additional parking.

The City Attorney has given the opinion that the thirty-year-old permit remains in effect, and that an updated reveiw is not required. Others disagree, and there is a grass-roots effort to save this historic building.  Please visit the link provided to read the viewpoint from Historic Richmond and to take action, if you wish.

RPS News

The destructive fire at beloved Fox Elementary School in the Fan District and the impact on children, families, teachers and support staff  and, to a lesser extent, any changes in COVID safety measures, has dominated the news this week.  For updates about these and other RPS news, subscribe to Superintendent Jason Kamras’ newsletters, Sign up to receive his future emails.
View his latest email online.

Here are some useful links provided in Sup. Kamras’ recent newsletter:

RPS Links

COVID-19 Links

Crisis Support Links

Financial Navigators (Resource Contacts for Various Needs) – (804) 646-6673

Henderson Middle School Needs

GPRA received a recent outreach from Community in Schools Volunteer Coordinator, Henderson Middle School,  Lorayah Lenore, M. Ed,, stating that the need for support from our community is great, from basic school supplies to more specific supplies.  We hope to have additional contact with her to provide more specific information in the March Newsletter, but you may decide to reach out to her to see how you can help.

Public Safety and a Take-Away from District 2, Councilor Katherine Jordan’s Feb. 16 Community Meeting

  • We are still awaiting the outcome of the Compensation Study, requested by City Council, and the report is due by March 1.
  • According to Commander Don Davenport, 4th Precinct. 22% of RPD positions in this precinct are vacant, and another 9% of positions are not currently on duty due to officers on military duty.
  • The 4th Precinct Lt. Rob Fleming and Lt. Picard are currently working shifts to fill in.
  • In GPRA, the Board is working to develop a Public Safety Team, recogizing your expressed concerns about the impact of crimes occurring in the Chanberlayne and Azalea corrior areas, some brazen daylight B & Es, and traffic issues in some areas. Contact Susan Rebillot, to volunteer.

Brief News from the Board

  • This week, the Board appointed Robyn Houser Bridges as Secretary, and we appointed Randee Humphrey as Vice President.  Please watch for their Bios in the March Newsletter, and do say hello and congratulate them.
  • GPRA remains in need of an Advertising Coordinator-an individual who loves talking to local businesses about good exposure via advertsining in our monthly Newsletter, plus a new package of advertsiing on our website geared toward small, local businesses, such as restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, breweries, retail shops. We have an array of useful tools for the Coordinator.  Interested?  Contact Susan,

We value your comments, so reach out to for comments and suggestions regarding our communications. Thank you!  Enjoy the weekend!