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Free Covid-19 Testing Today at Regency Square

As of this morning, the Virginia Department of Health reports 4,515 new positive cases of the coronavirus in the Commonwealth and 63 new deaths as a result of the virus. VDH reports 496 new cases in and around Richmond (Chesterfield: 200, Henrico: 189, and Richmond: 107).

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Today’s the day – if you have symptoms of #COVID19 or have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and want to get tested, come out to Regency Square and drive through the parking deck from 10am to 12pm. Learn more: vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/co

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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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Downtown

City Council unanimously approves sale of the Public Safety Building

The city is selling the three-acre property to Capital City Partners, LLC for $3,520,456 who will then redevelop the site into a $325 million mixed-use project anchored by VCU Health System, The Doorways, and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

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Richmond City Council approved three Ordinances introduced by the Stoney Administration for the sale and redevelopment of the site of the of the existing Public Safety Building. The city is selling the three-acre property to Capital City Partners, LLC for $3,520,456 who will then redevelop the site into a $325 million mixed-use project anchored by VCU Health System, The Doorways, and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

The negotiated sales price takes into account the developer’s responsibility to demolish the existing building and build public infrastructure that includes reconstructing Clay Street between 9th and 10th Streets.

“The sale and redevelopment of the Public Safety Building site is a critical first step to improving downtown,” said Mayor Levar Stoney.  “My Administration was glad to work with City Council and Capital City Partners, LLC to create this great win for Richmond.

The project will aid minority businesses, create child care slots for Richmond families, fund scholarships for graduates of Richmond Public Schools, and generate nearly $56 million in new revenue for the city’s General Fund over the first 25 years. We can, and we will, continue to grow Richmond by redeveloping underutilized city-owned property.”

“For many years the city has needed to find a better use for the Public Safety Building site.  I am glad that City Council has approved this important project that moves the city forward in redeveloping our Downtown, benefits our community, and strengthens healthcare in the city and region,” said Councilmember Ellen Robertson.

“We want to thank Mayor Stoney and Richmond City Council for supporting the sale of this property and allowing this important development to go forward.  Too often real estate transactions are thought of only in terms of investment and economics, but not in the lives they improve.  This project will help improve the lives of thousands of families in crises and will further Richmond’s reputation as an important healthcare capital,” said Capital City Partners’ Susan Eastridge and Michael Hallmark.

“VCU and VCU Health are strongly committed to the redevelopment of this area.  The Public Safety Building Project, along with the current construction of our new children’s inpatient hospital and Adult Outpatient Pavilion, will play a critical role in supporting a thriving urban center,” said Michael Rao, president of VCU and VCU Health System.

“We are pleased that the City has chosen to move forward with the sale of the Public Safety Building to Capital City Partners, LLC.  This announcement marks the beginning of a long-awaited initiative to breathe fresh life into this section of the city, while providing a much needed new home for The Doorways to lodge the thousands of families who depend on our services to access their medical care.  This announcement is truly a win-win for the Doorways and the entire Richmond community,” said Stacy Brinkley, President and CEO of The Doorways.

“As specialty pediatric care grows in the Richmond region, so does the need to support the whole family.  A new, fully-accessible Ronald McDonald House provides more capacity to help families whose sick and injured children are receiving care at all pediatric hospitals throughout the Richmond region as well as families whose children are the most vulnerable and medically complex being cared for at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.  This project is a game changer for pediatric healthcare,” said Kerry Blumberg, executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Richmond.

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Education

Survey: Workforce training graduates report higher wages, better work-life balance

Since launching FastForward in 2016, Virginia’s Community Colleges’ grant-funded career training program has prepared more than 24,500 Virginians to earn industry-recognized workforce credentials in a wide range of high-demand fields, including healthcare, information technology, logistics and transportation, education and skilled trades.

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Graduates of FastForward workforce training programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges see an average of $8,000 in wage increases, plus more satisfaction with work schedules and employer benefits, according to an annual survey of students who completed FastForward training and attained industry-recognized workforce credentials.

Since launching FastForward in 2016, Virginia’s Community Colleges’ grant-funded career training program has prepared more than 24,500 Virginians to earn industry-recognized workforce credentials in a wide range of high-demand fields, including healthcare, information technology, logistics and transportation, education, and skilled trades.

“FastForward has been serving Virginia’s workforce and employers for almost five years now,” said Dr. Corey McCray, associate vice chancellor for programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges. “With the pandemic driving the need for a skilled workforce, now more than ever, short-term, affordable training is critically important, and we’re thankful that FastForward can be that resource for Virginians in need of a leg up.”

The survey reports experiences from 289 respondents who earned workforce credentials between July 2019 and March 2020, and found that, in addition to wage increases, students reported quality-of-life enhancements:

  • 83% of graduates have work that offers paid-vacation time
  • 81% reported employer-paid medical insurance
  • 87% reported satisfaction with their work schedule

On average, FastForward students are older than a traditional college student, averaging 35 years old, and three out of four are new to community college. Additionally, more than 40% of FastForward students are minorities. The survey also found that more than 60% have dependents.

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Education

Great Depression brought to life through interactive photo collection now available through UR’s Digital Scholarship Lab

Photogrammar is an open-access, web-based tool that allows users to easily navigate and engage with 170,000 photographs taken between 1935-1943.

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The University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab and Distant Viewing Lab has released a new project that gives its users the ability to explore what life was like in America during the Great Depression and World War II.

Photogrammar is an open-access, web-based tool that allows users to easily navigate and engage with 170,000 photographs taken between 1935-1943.

Photos can be browsed by categories that were assigned in the 1940s, from expansive themes like “Work” to far more targeted slices of life, society, and the economy during the Depression era like “Dancing,” “Strikes,” and “Abandoned Mines.” Users can also zero in on photos of their own communities from 80 years ago through an interactive map.

“This project allows anyone to experience some of the most iconic images of the era by photographers like Dorothea Langea and Walker Evans as well as others rarely seen before,” said Lauren Tilton, assistant professor of digital humanities and project director.

“What began as an initiative to support and justify government programs put into place to foster the country’s recovery from the Great Depression, these photographers quickly expanded their vision and set out to document America,” she added.

The image collection was originally digitized in the 1990s by the Library of Congress, and in 2010, Tilton and University of Richmond statistics professor Taylor Arnold began the Photogrammar project with a team at Yale University. Tilton and Arnold joined UR in 2016, and the project has continued to evolve with their guidance, being supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and American Council for Learned Societies.

Photogrammar is the latest installation in UR’s Digital Scholarship Lab’s award-winning American Panaroma: An Atlas of United States History. From immigration and federal urban policy to slavery and electoral politics, American Panorama features data-rich, interactive mapping projects that are a go-to resource for journalists, policymakers, educators, and citizens alike.

“From the moment it launched a decade ago, Photogrammar has been a groundbreaking project,” said Rob Nelson, director of UR’s Digital Scholarship Lab. “The photographic archive behind it offers an incredible window into all aspects of life in Depression-era America. We are very excited to have this new version as part of American Panorama. ”

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