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James River Park System Update from Bryce Wilk, Superintendent

Through June 30, 2020: 1,076,873 James River Park has had visitors. The same date in 2019: 975,433 visitors. The current staff devoted to James River Park is 5.

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The James River Park is getting heavy use but that’s not all that’s going on in the park. Here’s what Bryce Wilk, Superintendent has to say.

  • The JRPS is seeing visitors at a higher rate than any other year ever! Through June 30, 2020: 1,076,873 visitors. Same date in 2019: 975,433 visitors. This despite all the restrictions in place during the stay at home orders due to Covid 19 this past spring and early summer. Close to a quarter million visitors in the month of June alone.
  • JRPS staff and local paddling groups installed new Dam Hazard Signs and Buoys between Huguenot Flatwater and Z-Dam to better warn people of the dangers of Z-Dam and the river.
  • JRPS hired parking attendants to ticket all illegally parked vehicles at Pony Pasture Rapids Park on weekends and holidays.
  • During the closure of public facilities, JRPS took the opportunity to upgrade the bathroom at Pony Pasture with new flooring and paint.
  • JRPS added parking lines in the parking lot to help guide and organize vehicle parking.
  • Currently we only have 5 full time staff members dedicated solely to the James River Park System, James River Park System relies on volunteers to keep this park beautiful.
  • JRPS is providing volunteer opportunities for river clean ups at Pony Pasture specifically through https://www.handsonrva.org/.
  • If people are interested in volunteering on their own or have any questions, Volunteer Coordinator, Matthew Mason can provide resources and equipment. His email is [email protected]
  • Please visit https://jamesriverpark.org/ and http://www.richmondgov.com/parks/ for the latest updates and safety information about the James River Park System and Richmond’s Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Westover Hills United Methodist Church’s Bell Will Toll Tonight in Honor of those Lost to Covid-19

VDH reports 785 new cases in and around Richmond (Chesterfield: 314, Henrico: 286, and Richmond: 185). Since this pandemic began, 627 people have died in the Richmond region.

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Ross Catrow in his daily Good Morning RVA had this summary of where we stand with Covid-19.

As of this morning, the Virginia Department of Health reports 7,245 new positive cases of the coronavirus in the Commonwealth and 10 new deaths as a result of the virus. VDH reports 785 new cases in and around Richmond (Chesterfield: 314, Henrico: 286, and Richmond: 185). Since this pandemic began, 627 people have died in the Richmond region. This is a shocking number of new cases—both statewide and locally. On Sunday, VDH reported 9,914 new cases, clearly an all-time high, and almost twice the previous high. In fact, the daily average of new cases over the last three days is 7,972 with no mention of a classic VDH data reporting issue in sight. In fact, the Richmond Times Dispatch’s Sabrina Moreno reports the opposite, that “Health department officials have said that it’s not a data error and is likely due to exposure during the holidays.” The number of new cases, number of people ending up in the hospital, and number of people dying each day is quantitatively worse than this spring, and yet, collectively, we act like we’re living back in June or July. I don’t get it, and I feel gaslit by the folks with the authority to impose restrictions—just like they did last spring—to help save lives.

 

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Results from “Lost Cause” Studio Project Survey Reveal a Richmond Eager to Confront its Past

The survey asked Richmond region residents to share their knowledge about and ongoing impact of the Lost Cause myth, their desire to learn about this complex history and how a transformed Valentine Studio can address community needs.

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From the Valentine.

Today the Valentine released the results of a community survey, conducted in October and November of 2020.

The survey asked Richmond region residents to share their knowledge about and ongoing impact of the Lost Cause myth, their desire to learn about this complex history and how a transformed Valentine Studio (the location on the museum’s campus where sculptor Edward Valentine created many Lost Cause works) can address community needs. More than 1,000 participants, representing a wide variety of perspectives and backgrounds, completed the survey.

A diverse team of historians, activists, local leaders, Valentine family members and community members developed the survey. The Valentine also held focus groups to gain a deeper understanding of the variety of opinions about the Lost Cause, the role of cultural institutions in sharing this history and the potential installation of the damaged, paint-covered Jefferson Davis statue, until recently displayed on Monument Avenue, in the space. The results of the survey and the focus groups will inform and guide the project development.

Results included:

A majority of respondents stated that they would like to see the Valentine use the reinterpreted studio to explore the history of power and policies in Jim Crow Richmond, the art and artistic processes that created Lost Cause sculptures and the history of racial oppression in Richmond.

Additionally, 65% of respondents from the Richmond region agreed that museums should acquire the monuments from Monument Avenue and display them with context. For the Valentine specifically, this reinforced our request to the City of Richmond to acquire and display the graffiti-covered Jefferson Davis statue on his back as he fell.

Additionally, focus group participants, moderated by project partner Josh Epperson, felt that using the studio to explore Lost Cause history and connect it to the present would be a valuable use of the space. Focus group participants also affirmed the Valentine’s commitment to continuing its high level of community engagement, which they expected to be critical to the success of the reimagined studio.

You can find additional survey results HERE.

“Based on the survey feedback we received from our fellow Richmonders, we are confident that this is the best next step for this space and for this institution,” said Director Bill Martin. “We look forward to providing a location where Richmonders can learn about the Lost Cause, consider Richmond and the Valentine’s early role in disseminating the damaging Lost Cause myth and ultimately gain a deeper, more nuanced, more empathetic understanding of the region we call home.”

The Valentine will continue to solicit and address community questions, comments or concerns as the Studio Project develops.

On December 31st the Washington Post had an article on the museum taking a closer look at the role that founder of Edward V. Valentine had in the lost cause.

Today, the artist’s studio is closed to visitors at the Richmond museum that bears his family name — the Valentine. But museum director Martin and others see the workshop as the center of what could be a public reckoning with the racist mythology that Valentine’s sculptures helped bring to life.

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Virtual Carter Jones/Fonticello Playground Meeting – Kids Encouraged to Attend

Parks, Recreations, and Community Facilities (PRCF) Department will be meeting virtually with community members to discuss possible replacement designs of the playground equipment in Carter Jones/Fonticello Park.

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Chris Schwartz from the City of Richmond’s Parks, Recreations, and Community Facilities (PRCF) Department will be meeting virtually with community members to discuss and review possible replacement designs of the playground equipment in Carter Jones/Fonticello Park.

The equipment was removed due safety concerns after being vandalized late last year. The replacement equipment once selected and funded will be moved to the New Master plan location to start the Markiya Simone Dickson Imagination Zone. The park master plans will be posted in the comments of the event link.

We are encouraging KIDS ages 5-12 to attend this meeting. Chris says he always gets the best playground feedback from them.

When: Saturday, January 23, 2021 – 10am
Topic: Carter Jones / Fonticello Playground Meeting

Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81796890700…
Passcode: 318020

Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +16465588656,,81796890700#,,,,*318020#
Or Telephone:
US: +1 646 558 8656
Webinar ID: 817 9689 0700
Passcode: 318020

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