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Press Releases and Announcements

Mayor announces city child care and preschool grants

Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced the recipients of Child Care and Preschool Stabilization and Expansion grants awarded by the City of Richmond.

The more than $619,000 in grants awarded yesterday follow previously announced grants of $500,000 to Smart Beginnings of Greater Richmond for child care and preschool expansion, and $200,000 to Family Lifeline to expand home visiting services to eligible families.

The mayor also announced a $50,000 grant to the Children’s Museum of Richmond to expand access for low-income families.  A $50,000 grant was also awarded to the Children’s Funding Project to study costs and financing strategies for universal preschool in the city. Additionally, the Mayor announced the hiring of early childhood specialist Daphne Bolotas in the city’s Office of Children and Families to support the coordination of efforts to provide universal preschool.


“High-quality, affordable and accessible child care and preschool continue to be vital to the overall health of our community and our economy,” said the mayor, who called on the Virginia General Assembly to increase investments in these areas.

“I am honored to stand alongside these heroes who have committed their professional – and often personal – lives to supporting the youngest Richmonders and their families,” the mayor said, surrounded by childcare advocates at the Children’s Museum of Richmond. “Together, we will accomplish so much for so many families across our city as we lay work together to ensure that all children across our city have the opportunity to thrive.”

The following organizations received grants:

  • FRIENDS Association for Children has been serving children in Richmond for over 150 years. Following the Civil War, FRIENDS began as an orphanage in Jackson Ward dedicated to caring for formerly enslaved Black children who had been abandoned by their former slavers. FRIENDS will receive $100,000, which they will use to increase their capacity by 50 percent – effectively returning to their pre-pandemic level of service – across their two sites in Gilpin Court and Church Hill.

  • Fulton Montessori is a grassroots organization that began serving children out of the Neighborhood Resource Center in 2018, after the NRC closed its preschool program, in order to meet the urgent need for affordable early education in the East End. Their $64,500 grant will allow them to immediately open an additional classroom as well as invest in capital improvements so that they can ultimately grow to serve 75 children total.

  • SCAN is a longtime partner of the city in its effort to support survivors of child abuse and neglect. SCAN’s Circle Preschool Program provides intensive, year-round, trauma-focused mental health treatment both for young children who have experienced trauma and their caregivers through a preschool setting at its location in Blackwell. The $20,000 grant will allow them to serve two additional students and maximize their capacity, while ensuring that every child and their family benefits from a suite of intensive wraparound services.

  • St. James’s Children’s Center has been serving Richmond families for over 30 years. For decades, they have remained committed to ensuring that all children, regardless of their families’ ability to pay, deserve access to the very best early childhood education experiences. The $50,000 grant will allow them to return to their pre-pandemic enrollment level of 75 students.

  • Woodville Day Nursery has operated in the East End for over 60 years as part of the mission of Woodville Church of the Nazarene. Woodville provides low-cost child care and camps for community members who rely on them for safe, affordable care. They have been a Head Start and Early Head Start partner for going on six years. The $10,000 grant will provide retention bonuses to 10 staff members, and they will also receive technical assistance to support their operational success.

  • The YMCA of Greater Richmond has served our region for 167 years, constantly adapting to meet community needs. The Y has been a particularly vital partner to the city over the past few years, in the effort to universalize access to elementary afterschool programs and to stand up emergency child care centers when the pandemic closed down schools. The $75,000 grant will support the YMCA to open two new preschools on the Southside, serving 100 3- and 4-year olds.

  • YWCA Richmond has been leading efforts to empower women and children in Richmond for the last 134 years. Its child care journey dates back to 1891 when they opened a nursery to care for children while their mothers worked in local factories. In 1989, the YWCA opened the first and only preschool program in the city to care for homeless children.

Today, the YWCA operates the Sprout School, which provides a mixed income, full-year, all-day early education program in two locations: their Bainbridge Street school in Blackwell and two classrooms within the Children’s Museum. The organization is receiving $300,000 both to maximize the capacity of its existing program in Blackwell and to open a brand-new school in 2nd Presbyterian Church, which was forced to close its long-running early childhood program during the pandemic. All told, YWCA will grow its capacity by almost 100 children with this grant.

To view video of today’s announcement please visit:


Three additional road closures at Byrd Park to begin this weekend. Limiting vehicular traffic protects safety of park users during high volume season

During the height of the pandemic in April 2020, the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities (PRCF) limited traffic in Byrd Park on the weekends, using road closures to ensure the safety of individuals visiting the park. Gates were put in place on Stollers Lane, Westover Road, and Trafford Road to limit vehicular traffic and allow visitors to walk or bike safely.

Effective Saturday, May 14, 2022, PRCF will implement the additional following road closures in Byrd Park:
- S. Arthur Ashe Jr. Blvd. at Paddle Boat Lane;
- S. Robinson Street at Boat Lake Drive; and
- Lakeview Avenue at S. Robinson Street.

These new closures will be in effect through the summer. Parking is available at Rueger Field, located at Grant and S. Sheppard Streets.

For more information about the department, follow PRCF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Environmental Literacy in Richmond Gets a $149,437 Boost from NOAA B-WET

The City of Richmond Department of Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities (PRCF) has received funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program. These funds will support a two-year project called The Richmond Environment: Students as Teachers in Their Watershed (REST) whose primary objective is to give Richmond Public School (RPS) students a greater understanding and sense of ownership of their local watershed. The project’s key partners, James River Park System, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and RPS, will engage our community as a whole to develop an Environmental Literacy Plan (ELP) for RPS that is rooted in environmental justice and is specific to this unique urban landscape, fraught with historic inequity and gifted with wild land.   

 “We’re thrilled that this funding will continue the work of making environmental literacy part of every public school student’s education in Richmond,” says Chris Frelke, Director of PRCF. “This project aligns with Richmond’s existing initiatives to improve the health of each City resident through access to green spaces.”

Working closely with students, teachers, and community members, the key partners on this project will create an ELP for the entire RPS school district rooted at the hyper-local level that centers black and brown voices that have historically been suppressed throughout Richmond. This kind of comprehensive planning document will positively impact science education for all 24,000 RPS students in the years to come, seeking to determine what environmental literacy and justice mean for our community.

"We are excited at the scale and depth of work proposed by the REST Planning Team and specifically their commitment to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice through the development of their Environmental Literacy Plan," said Elise Trelegan, B-WET Program Coordinator from the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office. "Environmental Literacy Plans are an important strategy for documenting and codifying where environmental education experiences and teacher professional development occur as well as how partners support those efforts."

This project foregrounds the City of Richmond as a regional leader in 21st century environmental education. We are excited about the work ahead, and look forward not just to the next two years, but to a long future continuing our support of RPS as they give students knowledge and skills to spur them to civic action.

For more information about the department, follow PRCF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

City invites three finalists to respond to Request for Offers in Diamond District project

Teams made the competitive cut because their design, program strength, community benefits and financing approaches meet high city expectations, align with vision for area

Three finalists in the Diamond District redevelopment project will be asked to respond to a Request for Offers (RFO). The RFO will be issued the week of May 30, 2022, and responses will be due June 28, 2022.

The city anticipates announcing the preferred team and terms of the agreement in July. The city reserves the right to alter the process and timeline as needed to ensure the greatest benefit is derived for the city and its residents in the creation of this new mixed-use neighborhood.


After carefully considering the responses to the Request for Interest (RFI) and Request for Additional Information (RFAI), the Evaluation Panel has selected three finalist teams based on their design, program strength, community benefits and financing approaches (listed alphabetically):

  • Richmond Community Development Partners
  • RVA Diamond Partners
  • Vision300 Partners, LLC


The finalist teams prepared one-page summaries of their team, concept, and design. Those summaries are available to the public here.

In early June, the city will host a public meeting to update Richmonders on the process. Information on that meeting will be available here.


About the Diamond District project

The Diamond District project is just one aspect of Richmond 300: A Plan for Growth, which has been awarded the 2021 Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan for the American Planning Association. The plan provides a detailed roadmap to ensure “Richmond is a welcoming, inclusive, diverse, innovative, sustainable, and equitable city of thriving neighborhoods, ensuring a high quality of life for all.”

About the Diamond District Evaluation Panel

The Evaluation Panel is comprised of 10 members, including City Council members, city administrative staff, and VCU administrative staff.

Communication with the Panel

Members of the public can send comments/questions to the Diamond District Evaluation Panel by using this form. This form is publicly posted on the project page. Do not email the Evaluation Panel members, facilitator, or advisors about the Diamond District project, as emails sent directly to the Evaluation Panel about this project will not be read. Comments and questions will be reviewed every other week and distributed to the Evaluation Panel during the evaluation process.

Evaluation Panel Members

  1. James P. Duval – Investment and Debt Portfolio Manager, Finance Department
  2. Sharon L. Ebert – Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Planning and Economic Development
  3. Karol Kain Gray – Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer, Virginia Commonwealth University
  4. Katherine Jordan – Council Member, Second District
  5. Ann-Frances Lambert – Council Member, Third District
  6. J.E. Lincoln Saunders – Chief Administrative Officer
  7. Leonard L. Sledge – Director, Department of Economic Development
  8. Caprichia Smith Spellman – Interim Director, Office of Community Wealth Building
  9. Robert C. Steidel – Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Operations
  10. Stephen M. Willoughby – Director of Emergency Communications

Evaluation Panel Facilitator

Maritza Mercado Pechin, Deputy Director, Department of Planning and Development Review, is the Project Manager for the Diamond District redevelopment process. She runs the evaluation panel meetings, coordinate logistics, and serve as the official point of contact between the evaluation panel and the respondents.

Evaluation Panel Advisors

These individuals will attend evaluation panel meetings and offer expertise as needed.

  • Lynne S. Lancaster – Deputy Director, Department of Public Works
  • Matthew A. Welch – Policy Advisor, Planning and Economic Development Portfolio

Richmond E-Cycle Day Saturday, May 21 ~ Paper shredding and the collection of electronics, household hazardous waste items and oil-based paint ~

WHO:   Department of Public Works, Clean City Commission & the Department of Public Utilities (Stormwater Division)

WHAT: Richmond E-Cycle Day for City of Richmond Residents | Drive-thru Recycling Event for Richmond Residents

  • All residents must:
    • Wear a face covering
    • Stay in their car during the event and roll the windows down
    • Note: volunteers will take items out of your car
  • Paper Document Shredding
    • Up to five (5) boxes of paper documents. Be sure to remove all binders, staples and clips
  • Electronics (various fees apply)
    • Computer systems (hard drive or CPU) and accessories (cables, wires, keyboards, mice, speakers, etc.) VCRs, camcorders, stereos and all phones
    • Televisions, computer monitors and printers
  • Household Hazardous Waste Items and Oil-based Paint
    • Bug spray, rodent poison and herbicides (Roundup, Weed B Gon etc.)
    • Note: Latex and water based paints will not be collected. These items can be left in open paint cans until they have dried out and then put in with regular curbside trash pick-up.

WHEN:  Saturday, May 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHERE: Broad Rock Sports Complex, 4825 Old Warwick Road (23224) | next to/behind the Broad Rock Library

BACKGROUND:  The City of Richmond’s E-Cycle Day offers City residents an efficient option to recycle paper and to help keep hazardous waste materials out of city waterways, streams and rivers. This event is available to city residents – proof of residency is required.

For more information on this event, please visit us online at or email questions to

We’re Social! For updates on DPW-related projects, activities and events visit us on Twitter @DPW_RichmondVA

The City of Richmond Department of Public Works (DPW) is one of only 178 currently accredited public works agencies in the United States. DPW’s portfolio comprises a wide array of services to include leaf collection; street, sidewalk and alley maintenance; trash collection; recycling; grass cutting;  graffiti removal; parking enforcement; urban forestry; street signs; traffic signals and pavement markings and civil engineering. In addition, DPW maintains upkeep on most city buildings; issues permits for working in the city’s right-of-way; manages the RVA Bike Share program and maintains the fleet of city vehicles. DPW’s operating budget comes from the general fund of the City of Richmond.  For more information about DPW services, click here or call 3-1-1.

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