Connect with us

Business

Henrico County reflects on “bold action” at State of the County address

By building two high schools simultaneously, acquiring 1,200 acres on the James River and pursuing an indoor sports complex, Henrico County shows it’s willing to make bold moves to ensure the community’s success, County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said during his State of the County address for 2019.

RVAHub Staff

Published

on

By building two high schools simultaneously, acquiring 1,200 acres on the James River and pursuing an indoor sports complex, Henrico County shows it’s willing to make bold moves to ensure the community’s success, County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said during his State of the County address for 2019.

Speaking Wednesday to about 300 business and community leaders at the Short Pump Hilton, Vithoulkas highlighted a series of “moon shots” — projects, initiatives, and other accomplishments — from the past year.

He recalled President John F. Kennedy’s 1962 challenge to the nation to put a man on the moon — “not because it was easy — but because it was hard.”

“What President Kennedy said — and what our Board [of Supervisors] has focused on — is the simple notion of a moment in time,” Vithoulkas said. “What will we do with our moment in time? That is all we have and all that matters. What will we do?

“The thought can be exhilarating or terrifying,” he added. “In Henrico, we choose to be unafraid. In a figurative sense, we choose to go to the moon.”

With that mindset and a commitment to collaboration and engagement that extends from elected officials and employees to the community, anything is possible, Vithoulkas said. Accomplishments cited from the past year include:

  • The start of construction on a new J.R. Tucker High School and a new Highland Springs High School and a plan to expand Holladay Elementary School;
  • The acquisition of 1,200 acres at Wilton Farm for future uses, such as recreation, schools, economic development and a history museum;
  • A thriving tourism program, with sports tourism at county facilities generating more than $66 million in visitor spending during the year — a 23% increase from 2018;
  • Development of an indoor sports and convocation center at Virginia Center Commons for tournaments and other events, including high school graduations;
  • A commitment to fiscal discipline that has allowed the county to maintain its triple AAA bond ratings and healthy cash reserves and to reduce — but not increase — the real estate tax rate for 41 consecutive years;
  • The installation of solar panels atop the Henrico Area Mental Health & Development Services East Center and the Libbie Mill Library at no cost to taxpayers — an effort being extended to four additional buildings;
  • A strategy to promote growth and investment by reducing BPOL (business, professional and occupational license) taxes. As a result, 14,000 businesses — 75% of all licensable businesses — will be exempt from BPOL taxes, beginning next year;
  • Private investment at White Oak Technology Park, where Facebook is building a $1.5 billion data center and QTS has submitted plans for a project on a similar scale;
  • Development and redevelopment throughout the county, including at Westwood, Libbie Mill, Regency, Rocketts Landing, Fulton Yard and Innsbrook;
  • Partnerships with community groups to develop two swimming facilities, on North Laburnum Avenue and at Regency;
  • Economic development announcements representing capital investments of more than $131 million and about 500,000 square feet of space as well as more than 1,800 jobs with annual wages of $115 million;
  • Strong public support for education, including for school operations and facilities as well as teachers and staff;
  • A focus on housing and neighborhood revitalization that has secured improvements to about 1,000 subsidized apartment units at no cost to county taxpayers; and
  • A thriving Richmond International Airport with nearly 4.3 million passengers — an all-time high.

Vithoulkas credited the Board of Supervisors for being able to advocate for their districts and the county overall and for unifying “behind a goal of absolute excellence and service for our residents and businesses.”

He cited the county’s diversity as a strength and noted how officials joined the Henrico branch of the NAACP in condemning KKK flyers that were distributed to homes in late summer.

“A welcoming community is a thriving community,” he said. “It attracts a great workforce and great companies. It teaches a love of our fellow man that can guide everything we do — if we open our hearts to it. Our employees are in public service for a reason. They are wired to be givers.”

He highlighted Police Officer Brendan Kelly, who noticed a Sandston resident and stroke survivor was struggling to maintain her property. After working an overnight shift, Kelly “took it upon himself to cut down small trees, pull weeds and mow overgrown grass,” Vithoulkas said. “He’s still doing it.”

As a community, Henrico has plenty of work ahead of it, Vithoulkas said, “but knowing the human capital — the heart — that we have at our disposal, we could not be in a stronger position to succeed.”

Comments

comments

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Business

Venture Richmond teams up with city for “Picnic in a Parklet” program to assist businesses during reopening phases

“We acknowledge the difficulty Richmond businesses face when trying to safely reopen and want to do what we can to make that easier on them,” said Max Hepp-Buchanan, Director of Riverfront and Downtown Placemaking for Venture Richmond. “Parklets have the potential to offer an attractive, comfortable space for customers to physically-distance adjacent to the business, which may be needed for a smoother reopening. We look forward to working with any business in the city that submits a request.”

RVAHub Staff

Published

on

Venture Richmond has announced a new initiative, “Picnic in a Parklet,” a program designed to assist Richmond restaurants and other businesses with Phase 2 and 3 of Forward Virginia. Through this new partnership with the City of Richmond, business owners can receive design and permitting assistance for their requests for more outdoor space, particularly parklets.

Parklets are outdoor patio spaces constructed in the on-street parking lane of the street in front of a business that can function as an area for customers to gather and/or take to-go orders and eat outside in a physically-distanced environment. Parklets are, by definition, public space; but, restaurants can offer lightly packaged to-go orders for people who simply want to dine in the parklet in front of the restaurant.

“Transforming our use of public space innovatively and sustainably requires partnerships just like this one,” said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. “By linking the business and design communities, this program will expand the city’s growing network of creatively designed public spaces.”

Business-owners who are interested in temporarily converting an on-street parking space adjacent to their storefront into a parklet will be connected with Venture Richmond to better assess their needs. If a parklet will be helpful and appropriate, Venture Richmond will work with the American Institute of Architects Richmond Chapter (AIA Richmond) to connect businesses with a certified architect for pro-bono parklet design services. Venture Richmond will assist the applicant through the steps needed to obtain a permit from the City of Richmond.

“We acknowledge the difficulty Richmond businesses face when trying to safely reopen and want to do what we can to make that easier on them,” said Max Hepp-Buchanan, Director of Riverfront and Downtown Placemaking for Venture Richmond. “Parklets have the potential to offer an attractive, comfortable space for customers to physically-distance adjacent to the business, which may be needed for a smoother reopening. We look forward to working with any business in the city that submits a request.”

Unless otherwise specified or revoked, parklet permits are valid for three years. All requests within Richmond City limits will be considered.

Requests for parklets can be submitted through the RVA Strong website. General information about parklets can be found here, and more information about the City of Richmond’s Parklet Program can be found here.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Business

Former staff from Julep’s, Pasture, Comfort launch Richmond’s first “ghost kitchen”

Their business, Dunharrow Concepts, launched its first restaurant concept on Thursday, June 25th with a limited menu. Garden Party is a strictly vegetarian and vegan concept featuring indulgent snacks, sandwiches, and salads. 

Avatar

Published

on

Jon Martin, formerly of Julep’s and Pasture, and Liz Clifford, formerly of Comfort, have opened Richmond’s first ghost kitchen.

A ghost kitchen is a delivery-only restaurant that allows the parent business to operate multiple concepts from one commercial kitchen.

Their business, Dunharrow Concepts, launched its first restaurant concept on Thursday, June 25th with a limited menu. Garden Party is a strictly vegetarian and vegan concept featuring indulgent snacks, sandwiches, and salads.

With no brick and mortar, Clifford and Martin can keep the focus on the food.

“We’ve spent our entire professional careers feeding people,” Clifford said. “The ghost kitchen concept allows us to keep overhead low. We don’t have to worry about the expenses that come with running a traditional restaurant including designing, maintaining, and staffing a physical space.”

Dunharrow Concepts operates out of Hatch Kitchen RVA, a food and beverage incubator and commercial kitchen located at Clopton Siteworks in Manchester. They have partnered with UberEats with plans to add other delivery services in the coming weeks.

The husband-wife duo, who moved from DC two years ago, is passionate about ensuring those with food restrictions don’t have to miss out on experiencing a good meal.

“Cooking for vegans with a nut allergy makes you push boundaries,” says Clifford. “With all ordering online, items can be easily customized to accommodate most dietary restrictions and food preferences.”

Menu items range from a BBQ Tofu Bahn Mi, crispy green beans, a Tex Mex Salad to homemade fudgy brownies.

Next month, Clifford and Martin plan to launch two additional concepts, Fat Kid Sandwiches which will feature overstuffed subs and clubs, and Victory Garden which focuses on made-to-order salads.

For more information on Dunharrow Concepts and Garden Party, visit gardenpartyrva.com or follow @gardenpartyrva on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Business

Carytown Panera closes permanently, joins Stony Point location’s announced closure last week

The Carytown Panera has shuttered permanently, according to Richmond BizSense. The announcement follows another last week indicating the Stony Point location will be shut down for good, too.

RVAHub Staff

Published

on

The Carytown Panera has shuttered permanently, according to Richmond BizSense. The announcement follows another last week indicating the Stony Point location will be shut down for good, too.

From Richmond BizSense:

Another local outpost of Panera Bread has hit the chopping block, this time in Carytown.

The restaurant chain’s location at 10 N. Nansemond St. in the Carytown Place shopping center is permanently closed. The closure follows that of the Panera outpost in Stony Point Fashion Park.

It’s unclear when or why the Carytown Panera permanently closed. The restaurant didn’t alert Maryland Financial Investors, which manages the center, about the closing, property manager Scott Cherry said.

“We found out about it the same way the community did,” Cherry said.

Continue reading here.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Richmond Weather