City News

Press Releases and Announcements

City names Roscoe Burnems first Richmond Poet Laureate

The City of Richmond has selected its first poet laureate, Douglas Powell, known in the community by his stage name, Roscoe Burnems. Burnems is a poet, published author, spoken-word artist, comedian and teacher. 

 

Burnems has donated his time to the St. Joseph’s Villa Alternative Education Program, University of Richmond’s Partners in the Arts and ART 180, in addition to regularly leading poetry workshops at multiple middle and high schools in the City of Richmond.  He is a National Poetry Slam Champion, a former TEDx speaker and the founder of the Writer’s Den Art Collective.

 

“It is the diversity of the city and the adversities that we are able to overcome as a community that cultivate our resilience as people,” said Burnems. “This is the soil for change and progression to sprout and expand into a tree that blooms the fruit of our tenacity. We decide if that fruit is sweetened with peace or embittered with division.”

 

Evidence of an interest in and capacity for community engagement was part of the poet laureate selection criteria and a top priority of the mayor’s.

 

“The Richmond Poet Laureate should relish showing kids, teens and adults the healing, restorative power of the written word,” said Mayor Stoney. “Roscoe has exhibited time and again his interest in bringing poetry to the people, and his list of ideas for engagement projects tells me he’s the Richmonder for the job.”

 

The first ever Richmond Poet Laureate has proposed interweaving poetry into public visual art projects, hosting spoken-word competitions and showcases for youth, and partnering with Richmond Public Library system to organize a series of accessible workshops.

 

Said Burnems of his new post: “I can’t wait to get started.”

 

The Richmond Poet Laureate will make his public debut at the Poe Museum’s Birthday Bash, a virtual celebration of Edgar Allan Poe’s 212th birthday. Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Human Services Reggie Gordon and Burnems will discuss the role of the poet laureate, how Richmond shaped his poetry and upcoming ways the laureate will engage with the community. Click here to learn more about the free festivities.

 

To learn more about Roscoe Burnems, click here.

 

To learn more about the Richmond Poet Laureate program, click here.

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City of Richmond launches Financial Navigators program to guide residents through financial challenges

The City of Richmond Office of Financial Empowerment, led by City Treasurer Nichole R. Armstead, has launched Richmond’s Financial Navigators program to help residents navigate personal financial challenges, especially those related to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Financial Navigators provide over the phone guidance to residents to triage personal financial issues, identify immediate action steps to manage expenses and maximize income and make referrals to other services such as eviction relief, food scarcity and employment. The City of Richmond will offer these Financial Navigator services in partnership with HumanKind nonprofit agency.
 
The official kickoff will be held outdoors on Wednesday, Jan. 6, at 1:30 p.m. at the Financial Navigator’s site 908 N. Thompson Street. The launch is made possible in part by support from the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, a national nonprofit organization that provided grant funding along with significant technical assistance and training to city staff. The Financial Navigators initiative is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Citi Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the Wells Fargo Foundation.
 
“The Financial Navigators public service brings a human element in connecting residents to resources and solutions,” said City Treasurer Nichole Armstead. “They will provide guidance to individuals facing financial challenges and other crises who may be unfamiliar with what resources and options are available.”
 
“This program helps remove the barriers to economic stability and generational wealth building that hold Richmonders back from fulfilling their true potential,” said Mayor Stoney. “The Office of Financial Empowerment is putting the right tools in the hands of residents, providing the support and education they need to thrive.”
 
“HumanKind is pleased to partner with the City of Richmond Treasurer’s Office to support families needing access to financial resources.  Thanks to this collaboration, we are able to provide individuals and working families guidance and direction regarding area providers and services at no cost,” said Bob Dendy, President and CEO of HumanKind.
 
Richmond residents interested in being connected to a Financial Navigator can visit this online registration portal or call the City Treasurer’s Office of Financial Empowerment at 804-646-MORE (6673). Organizations that provide client services can also refer clients directly to a financial navigator. 
 
Quotes from Partners:

“Financial distress is a primary part of the COVID-19 crisis, and we’re pleased City Treasurer Nichole R. Armstead and her team are making this a priority for Richmond residents,” said Jonathan Mintz, President and CEO of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “The Financial Navigators program will help Richmond residents assess and prioritize their financial concerns and get connected with the right resources.”
 
“Communities across the country continue to face significant economic challenges as a result of COVID-19,” said Brandee McHale, Head of Citi Community Investing and Development and President of the Citi Foundation. “To provide residents in the City of Richmond with the vital financial tools and support necessary to navigate the financial impacts of the pandemic, the Citi Foundation is proud to partner once again with the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund to launch the Financial Navigators program.”
 
“The pandemic has clearly heightened awareness around the financial hardships that so many people were already facing here in Richmond and deep disparities that exist in society,” said Darlene Goins, head of financial health philanthropy with the Wells Fargo Foundation.  “We applaud the CFE Fund for bringing together the City of Richmond, philanthropists, and financial services and other industries to reimagine solutions that can help improve financial stability and resiliency for individuals and families, particularly during this economic crisis.”

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Richmond Mayor Levar M. Stoney sworn in for second term

Following four years of significant accomplishments and improvements in education, neighborhoods, infrastructure and equity, Levar M. Stoney today was sworn in for a second term as mayor of the City of Richmond.
 
Reflecting on a year of racial reckoning in the midst of a global health pandemic, Mayor Stoney pledged to lead by engaging the community in the hard work of reconciliation and breaking down barriers to put the city on a path toward social and economic justice.
 
“Richmonders want, moreover they deserve, more than the status quo,” the mayor said this afternoon, in remarks following his swearing in at Henry Marsh Elementary School – one of three new schools built in communities of color during his first term in office.
 
“We have a lot of work ahead of us if we want to build a city that meaningfully reflects the lessons learned not only in 2020, but also throughout centuries of our unique, tumultuous history,” he continued. “We must fill the potholes, pave the streets, pick up the trash and issue the permits on time. But my priority will always be serving as a champion of Richmonders burdened by generational poverty.”
 
The mayor said that despite the challenges of the last year and facing the city in 2021, he is confident of the city’s path forward, having witnessed the strength, resilience and hope embedded in its residents.
 
“Over the last four years, I have witnessed that same hope with my own eyes,” he said. “I’ve talked to the mother, bone-tired after working multiple jobs, still concerned about the quality of education her children will receive. That’s hope.
 
“I’ve spoken to the returning citizen, crippled by a felony conviction, shedding tears of joy and gratitude for an opportunity to work again,” he continued. “That’s hope.”
 
“On my visits to each and every school in our city, I have met beautiful boys and girls who proudly share their big dreams with me. That’s hope.”
 
Professing his love for the city and gratitude for the opportunity to serve, the mayor said he would fight for families, listen to communities, double down on unity and gear city hall even more toward service in the next four years, completing the transformation of Richmond from the former capital of the confederacy into a “capital of compassion.”
 
The mayor concluded his remarks with a call for residents to unify and meet the challenges of 2021 by working together.
 
“Richmond, we must meet our moment,” the mayor said. “It won’t come easy. It will require a Herculean effort from each and every one of us. But I know we will get there. Yes, 2020 may have been a dark year, but dawn is on the horizon.”
 
The swearing in was conducted by Judge Kevin Duffan, a friend of the mayor’s and the first African American judge appointed to the Circuit Court in the City of Virginia Beach.
 
It was attended by 7th District City Councilmember Dr. Cynthia I. Newbille and witnessed by Richmond Electoral Board Chairman James Nachman. 
 
Pastor Yvonne Jones Bibbs of the Sixth Baptist Church of Richmond provided the invocation. Acting Chief Administrative Officer Lincoln Saunders was also in attendance.

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Richmond Recovers II otorga subvenciones para los pequeños comerciantes

La ciudad de Richmond anunció el lanzamiento del programa de subvenciones “Richmond Recovers II” para los pequeños empresarios. El programa es financiado con $2 millones de los fondos del Acta CARES otorgados a la ciudad y será administrado por la Agencia de Desarrollo Económico de la Ciudad de Richmond. Este nuevo programa de subvenciones expandirá el esfuerzo hecho por el programa de subvenciones “Richmond Recovers”, el cual en su primera etapa aprobó 260 subvenciones por un total de $2.79 millones.

“Los pequeños negocios son el pilar de nuestra economía local, y el COVID-19 sigue afectándolos desproporcionadamente”, dijo el alcalde Stoney. “Estos fondos no son ni remotamente suficientes para resolver el problema en su totalidad, pero ayudarán. Continuaremos trabajando para obtener más apoyo del gobierno federal hasta que Richmond se haya recuperado completamente”, añadió.

Los pequeños negocios podrán recibir subvenciones de hasta $15 000. Estos fondos pueden ser utilizados para reembolsar los costos del pago de nómina a los empleados, incluyendo los beneficios laborales; para el pago del alquiler y los servicios públicos de los locales comerciales; para cubrir los costos de equipos de protección personal (PPE) y artículos de limpieza; para gastos de comercio electrónico; y como capital de trabajo.

Las instrucciones completas y los requisitos de elegibilidad están disponibles en www.RVAStrong.org/richmondrecoversii. Las solicitudes se pueden enviar por Internet a partir de las 12:00pm (hora del Este) del 7 de diciembre de 2020 y hasta las 11:59pm (hora del Este) del 16 de diciembre de 2020.

En su totalidad, incluyendo los fondos del programa de subvenciones “Richmond Recovers II”, la ciudad ha destinado más de $6.3 millones para apoyar a los empresarios durante la pandemia de COVID-19.

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La administración del alcalde Stoney abre una encuesta pública para informar acerca de la propuesta sobre la construcción de un resort con casino

Se anima a los habitantes de Richmond para que den su opinión sobre esta oportunidad de desarrollo turístico y económico 

A partir de hoy, los richmondeses pueden llenar una encuesta en internet aquí en la que se les pregunta si creen que la administración debería considerar la propuesta sobre la construcción de un resort con casino en Richmond. La encuesta estará abierta hasta el 14 de diciembre a las 11:59 p.m.
 
Los resultados de esta encuesta alimentarán el documento de Solicitud de Calificaciones y/o Propuestas (RFQ/P), el cual dará inicio al proceso competitivo para seleccionar un operador y una ubicación para el resort y casino. Esta RFQ/P delineará las expectativas que la administración de la ciudad y sus residentes tienen hacia el desarrollo de propuestas completas y competitivas.
 
Esta encuesta es sólo el comienzo de la participación comunitaria en el desarrollo potencial de un resort y casino. El proceso de selección tendrá en cuenta las opiniones de la comunidad y un referendo de votantes de toda la ciudad determinará si Richmond sigue adelante en este proyecto. 
 
“Un proceso competitivo de selección nos permitirá evaluar la mejor oportunidad para Richmond”, dijo el alcalde Stoney. “Esta encuesta es la oportunidad que tienen ustedes para asegurase que las propuestas de desarrollo reflejen sus prioridades, tales como trabajo que paguen un salario digno, practicas sostenibles de construcción, además de inversión en la comunidad”, agregó. 
 
“Nuestro objetivo principal es identificar una propuesta exitosa que tenga oportunidades económicas y beneficios comunitarios sobresalientes para Richmond”, dijo Leonard Sledge, director de Desarrollo Económico. “Anticipamos que vamos a recibir múltiples solicitudes, es por eso que queremos poner en funcionamiento un proceso que identifique un operador y una ubicación que resulten en una verdadera ganancia para Richmond”, concluyó.
 

Antecedentes:
 
La legislación aprobada por la Asamblea General de Virginia y convertida en ley por el gobernador Northam a comienzos de este año, autoriza a la ciudad para que albergue un establecimiento de apuestas, tal como un casino, siempre y cuando los residentes de Richmond aprueben la medida mediante un referendo. Se anticipa que este referendo sea efectuado en noviembre de 2021.
 
La ley requiere que la ciudad escoja un operador y una ubicación preferidos para el casino antes de solicitar que la corte ordene un referendo para ese casino. En lugar de preseleccionar un operador, la administración decidió participar en un proceso competitivo. 
 
Las otras cuatro localidades a las que el estado les dio permiso de solicitar propuestas para el desarrollo de un casino hicieron sus referendos en el día de elecciones del 2020. Puede leer más sobre este tema aquí.

Puede encontrar más información acerca de la construcción de un resort y casino para Richmond, incluyendo una lista extensa de preguntas frecuentes, haciendo clic aquí.

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