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GPRA News-First, for the lighter stuff!

Membership Makes a Difference! GPRA Membership Campaign 2022!  JOIN!

 Let’s see some friendly, neighborly competition. Bellevue Civic Association has 500 members, heading toward 600.  Help us get to 500 Members and support your civic association.  JOIN or renew before April 30, and your dues wil renew Jun 1 2023.  Dues renew annually on June 1. There are perks for joining or renewing now.

  • We will soon be assisting with Adopt a Tree Applications for 2022-23, and Members Only pay just half of the city fee for a street tree, and GPRA pays the other half.  You pay $25, GPRA pays $25.  And, volunteers assist you with your Application and tracking planting.
  • GPRA will host a festive, fabulous, Members Only Cinco de Mayo Party, beverages and food provided, hosted by Julie O’Kelly, Treasurer of our Board, lover of music and entertaining.  So, join now, or attend the party and pay your dues there.  Stay tuned for the date, time, location. Come get to know your neighbors,enjoy their company, laugh, and celebrate Spring!
  • GPRA will host a 2022 Holiday Gala, Members Only.
    A festive and elegant evening event to make memories!
  • With your Membership, we will be able to continue our beautification projects with attractive plantings along our Brook Road and Chamberlayne corridors. Watch for our hundreds of Daffodils and Tulips coming soon.
  • GPRA provides a myriad of services to residents within our service boundaries, all volunteer hours, but the website and communications tools have costs.  Your Membership helps pay for those costs.
  • Watch for colorful posterboards in our medians soon to track our Membership Campaign progress.

On this website, go to Membership on the Menu and JOIN.  Pay conveniently with your credit card.  Our Membership-Works progrm saves your data, and automatically sends an email to you when it is time to renew, so no confusion about renewal dates.

  • Yes, there will be a Neighborhood-wide Yard Sale in Spring 2022!  Stay tuned for announcements. Thank you to Margaret Barre for volunteering to help organize this for GPRA.
  • Yes, GPRA will coordinate with the Clean City Commission to schedule the solid waste truck for a Saturday to pick up your large items. Stay tuned for the announcement of the date.

City Council Districts 2 and 3 News

District 2 Councilor, Katherine Jordan, hosted a Community Meeting last week, and Councilor Ann-Frances Lamber hosted the District 3 meeting Feb. 24.  Here are some of the take-aways.

District 2

  • The RPD Compensation Study Report, which was requeted by City Council, will be available March 1.  In the meantime, RPD has continued to suffer losses, and 120 positions are vacant. Precinct Commander, Capt. Don Davenport, reported that 22% of positions serving our districts are vacant, and another 9% are vacant due to officers in military service.
  • Jason May, City of Richmond Diretor of Budget Planning, presented a slideshow about the budget process.  The Mayor will present his budget on March 4., and then City Council will go into Budget Work Sessions and Public Hearings.  Deadline for the 2022 budget is may 31.
  • The key points are that sales tax revenes are up 60% over 2021; restaurant tax revenues inclreased over 30% over 2021, but are 15 % less than 2020.  Large increases in real estate activities are being seen and are projected, but high demand and low inventory, low interest rates. There are increases in City staff pay (cost of living adjustments), contributions to retirement accounts, health insurance coverage costs. “Increases in revenues hide issues lurking in the background with regards to expenditures.” Where does the money go?
  • https://www.rva.gov/budget-and-strategic-planning/budget-home  for more information.

District 3

  • Councilor Lambert’s stated priorities for District 3 are reducing gun violence; reducing crime; and addressing speeding and unsafe driving on residential streets. Those three priorities mirror ours.  She briefly highlighted the Mayor’s gun buyback program and her initiative for a youth jobs program. She forecast a $15 million price tag to increase RPD and RFD compensation to competitive levels.
  • Brookland Park Blvd. Parking Issues:  there is a budget request for a parking study to look at mixed use development, including a parking garagge on Broookland Park Blvd.
  • Traffic Calming, Laburnum Avenue:  City Traffic Engineering will be placing speed trailers, gathering data.  RPD reports issuing summonses, tickets and making 9 arrests related to speeding on Laburnum Avenue recently. There are approved speed tables within neighborhoods, including Ginter Park, budgeted and to be installed in 2022.
  • Senate Bill 354, which accelerates the date by which the City must be in compliance with regulations to renovate combined sewer overflow systems to prevent sewage spills into the James River, has passed the Senate.  Councilor Lambert is opposed to the Bill, because the cost to the City is $1.3 billion, and there is no confirmed alternative source of funding. https://richmond.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/senate-panel-votes-to-speed-deadline-for-richmo
  • DPW Director, Bobby Vincent, reported on paving plans for 2022. In our District, Gilpin Court, Bellevue and the Chamberlayne Industrial area will be paved.On sidewalks, he reported a $2 million budget for sidewalks city-wide, with $493, 000 earmarked for District 3 in 2022, and $500,000 earmarked for 2023.  He reports that there are now 8 crews working on sidewalk repairs, up from 5, but that there is still a 5-6 year backlog of repairs past due.
  • AP Hill Update:  still in conversations with the family of relocating the remains and the statue. There is traffic study funding requested to determine the new configuration for that intersection.

Inclement Weather Shelter Issues Arise

GPRA received concerns from residents regarding several incidents involving persons staying at the shelter at the Quality Inn on Arthur Ashe Jr. Blvd.  This winter season shelter is managed by Catholic Charities under a contract with the City, and has been in operation for 4 months..  It will close on April 15. two incidents included attempts by homeless persons to enter cars sgtopped in traffic on Arthur Ashe Jr. Blvd. near the hotel. One incident involved a person who, after leaving the shelter in the morning, walked quite a distance to a Ginter Park resident’s home and began banging on the door.  This man appeared to be mentally ill and unstable and was distruaght and shouting delusions.  The homeowner called an ambulance, and the man was evaluated and provided care.

Here are some key points from a conversation with Jay Brown, CEO of CC, on Feb. 24.

  • CC recommended a 24 hour shelter service to the City, but the City elected to contact for a 7:00 am to 7:00 pm operation.  So, those in need of shelter are permitted to begin to gther at 6:00 pm for admission, and must leave the shelter at 7:00 am each morning.
  • The sleeping qurters are in the ballroom and are dormitory-style, with space divided by gender for privcy.
  • Adults 18 to 64 are served by this shelter, and families are directed to other shelter.
  • Those in shelter are provided with a hot dinner and a bagged take-away breakfast.
  • On an average night, 138 persons shelter here.
  • During the day, many take GRTC, which is still free, to their jobs or to other locatons where services providers are lovcated. CC has a Housing and Honmelessness Resource Center and Youth Hum at 809 Oliver Hill Way, where homeless persons can shower, charge cell phones, receive crisis case management services, and linkages to housing and other services.
  • CC Outreach staff are avilable 3 -4 days weekly at the shelter for needs assessment and linkages to mental health, addiction, and healthcare services, to trnaistional housing, and to other services.
  • Among the homeless population in every city are a percentage of persons who decline services, and these may be the individuals who continue to stay in the area of the shelter, panhandling, walking into traffic, or wandering.  Shelter and other services are voluntary.
  • Nearby residents are encouraged not to bring food or donations to the homeless who are in the area of the overpass, no matter how tempting it may be.  They are provided information on how to travel byh GRTC to service providers to get their needs met. If you encounter a person who appears to ne mentally ill, psychiatrically unstable, do call 911 for assistance.
  • CC hopes to complete renovations on the property on Oliver Hill Way to expand services and to provide shelter there in the future, if they secure a contract with the City for funding.
  • https://www.cccofva.org/homeless-services

Enjoy the weekend, and do send comments or questions about this edition of the Gazette, or about GPRA communications to communications@ginerpark.org