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wrldcoupe4

Richmond's "City of the Future" Plan

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I felt like this was worthy of its own thread.

On Monday, Wilder announced plans for a five-year plan that will help to transform the city of Richmond on so many levels.

The cost? $250-300 million, none of which will come from new or higher taxes and $50 million of which will come from the Richmond business community.

So let's take a look at this bold plan for the city, one that will make the future even brighter.....

Mayor Wilder's City of the Future

I have waited all of my lifetime in politics to have the opportunity to make this happen in my native city.

-Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder

City of the Future Initiatives:

* Rebuild and/or modernize 15 schools, concentrating on the elementary schools that are the anchors to revitalizing our neighborhoods and also several new neighborhood high schools

* Spend upwards of $50 million, with support by the business community, to repair city streets

* Create a citywide "High School for the Arts," patterned after the great institutions in some of our

biggest American cities

* Create a citywide "Science and Math High School," patterned after the legendary school in New York and the successful similar endeavor in Northern Virginia

* Provide the bulk of funding to get a new Carpenter Center of the Performing Arts in operation as quickly as possible

* Modernize the Landmark Theatre

* Modernize the Richmond Vocational Technology Center

* Provide funds in advancing a partnership between the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University to create a downtown legal campus and provide Legal Aid services in the 8th Street Office Building (formerly the Murphy Hotel)

* Contribute toward the relocation of the Aviation Museum from the airport to a site near the Science Museum to create a better venue for teaching aeronautical skills and history

* Retro-fit all City library branches with state-of-the-art internet communication services

* Buy and modernize a permanent home for the City School Board and School Administration

* Purchase a home for the State Probation Department to allow for an expanded GED program to better assist ex-offenders' re-entry to society

So how exactly would all this be paid for?

Wilder hopes to achieve his aims without a tax increase -- a promise history shows he will go out of his way to keep. He would finance his strategy with: (1) debt structured so as not to overwhelm future leaders or necessities, (2) revenue from the end of certain real estate tax abatements, (3) $7 million a year in savings from the budget, and (4) the 1-percent meals tax originally planned for the Performing Arts Center.
-Times Dispatch

The mayor wants City Council to act on the plan by July, with new construction beginning by early 2007. The plan is to have all new school construction/renovation completed within 3 years. The rest will be completed within 5.

Other ideas:

* a new city jail

* a new public safety building

* effective crime fighting

IF the city pulls this off, accomplishing all of the goals set forth in the vision and others goals, the River City will rise to heights never seen, and Wilder will have a statue on Monument Avenue.

The best is yet to come :yahoo:

What do yall think?

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Coupe I meant to post about this. I see this as a Huge improvement for the city if all of this gets done especially the schools being renovated I find that great schools will make families move back into the city.

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The schools are pretty old... and ugly. It'd be nice to have an upgrade. But people complain the system itself is bad. What do we have to do to improve because new buildings with below average performing students won't bring anyone back.

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The schools are improving.

And I agree that the schools built between the 50's and 70's tend to be pretty ugly. There are some fantastic looking schools from before then though.

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I just watched the Mayor's entire speech on this subject (I recommend it to anyone that has the time to do so).

This plan isn't just a wishlist. The mayor, the city, and the business community intend to accomplish everything within 5 years.

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One way I have noticed to get better schools is to pay teachers better, yeah that probably sounds cliche. Of course the city has to have the funds to be able to do so. Like here in VB they probably offer one of the best salaries in the region.

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The schools are improving.

And I agree that the schools built between the 50's and 70's tend to be pretty ugly. There are some fantastic looking schools from before then though.

Thomas Jefferson (Tee Jay), my alma mater, is a wonderful and stylish building. They don't make schools like that anymore.

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Thomas Jefferson (Tee Jay), my alma mater, is a wonderful and stylish building. They don't make schools like that anymore.

BURT, I think my grandfather went to Thomas Jefferson too. He was in the cadet corp. His name was Bernard "Russell" Lee (known as Russell, his brother was Billy). I think he may be about your age (78? - if you're younger than this, I'm not trying to insult you at all...just know that :) ). I just thought I'd try to see if you knew him.

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BURT, I think my grandfather went to Thomas Jefferson too. He was in the cadet corp. His name was Bernard "Russell" Lee (known as Russell, his brother was Billy). I think he may be about your age (78? - if you're younger than this, I'm not trying to insult you at all...just know that :) ). I just thought I'd try to see if you knew him.

I don't think I remember him, Eric.

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One way I have noticed to get better schools is to pay teachers better, yeah that probably sounds cliche. Of course the city has to have the funds to be able to do so. Like here in VB they probably offer one of the best salaries in the region.

RPS does offer one of the best salaries in the region, but that's not the problem. Teachers regularly leave RPS for Henrico, Chesterfield, Private schools, etc, even though they'll make less money. Why? Well, for starters, they actually get to TEACH in those locations. My girlfriend teaches at a Richmond Middle School and these are a few of the things she gets to deal with daily:

All but one of her classes have between 32-35 students (which is especially unfortunate in one class, as there are only 34 desks!). The one exception only has 20...but it's a special ed class; 20 SE kids can seem like 40 "regular" students. An inordinate amount of class time is taken up with classroom/behavior management. Rarely does a day go by that she doesn't toss students out of class for cursing at her or fighting. As for the curriculum itself, it's a joke. RPS is solely concerned with passing SOL tests, so that's what the curriculum teaches. It doesn't matter if you could write a 10-page essay on why the Emancipation Proclamation was important, but you'd better know the year it happened! The kids don't do their homework, or take notes. They don't pay attention during class because the material has no practical application in their lives. Half the kids are convinced they're going to be pro NBA players, some are content to hang out on corners and deal drugs and/or steal, and some just don't care at all. The kids who do try and do make good grades get bored easily because of the rest of the kids are holding them back. And I could go on and on.

So, in short, pay the teachers $75000 a year if you want, but that's not going to help but so much.

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all the money in the world couldn't fix some of the problems you discuss. Wilder's plan is more of an outline for spending/capital projects in the city, not necessarily how to improve student attitude and performance.

The difficult issues you describe require much more than $$$, and they need to be addressed.

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I say, turn all of Richmond school's into military schools with good ol' military discipline.

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The Mayor will appoint a city Housing Czar soon, and has established a Taskforce on Community Infrastructure.

These are the first steps in tearing down the city's various housing projects, which are plagued with poverty and crime.

Mayor L. Douglas Wilder today announced his intention to appoint a

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VCU to discuss joint projects with City and University of Richmond

some excerpts:

Eugene P. Trani, the president of Virginia Commonwealth University, liked what he heard about education in Mayor L. Douglas Wilder's "city of the future" speech.

Trani said VCU stands ready to enter into serious discussions with Richmond about collaborating on a proposed citywide high school for the arts as well as a science and math high school.

In an interview, the VCU president also said he and the dean of the university's School of Medicine would meet Feb. 17 with University of Richmond President William E. Cooper and the dean of UR's law school to discuss a possible downtown institute for law and medicine.......

He said that many of the city's major law firms have big health-care practices, and the firms' initial reaction to the creation of an institute of law and medicine has been positive.

"They've said, 'It's a great idea, let's see the details,' " Trani said......

Wilder has called for renovating the old Murphy Hotel, a decaying landmark on Eighth Street, for a law campus involving various programs, including a student dormitory."

Under Trani, VCU has become an impressive partner with the City of Richmond. Their commitment to the city and involvement in the community are phenomenal.

I really like this part fo Wilder's plan. I'm glad to hear that the city's major law firms are also fans of the plan.

Trani said that while he would like to see the law campus at the old Murphy Hotel, the building has deteriorated severely and fears that the cost of renovation may be pretty high. Perhaps those excited law firms could help with the costs?

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There are two blank empty lots on Broad, and there may be a third if poor old Murphy's collapses on itself. I say build the new law/medical school on broad between 4th and 5th and house the students in Mr. Jemal's CNB.

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:lol: If you're trying to cover up the rear of that Grace St Apartment building, I'd support it!

Although, part of me would like to see that block hold some sort of retail...

Is the second empty lot you referred to the site of the never built Lottery HQ? If Murphy's is preserved, the state may want that land to build the new building they want. Or maybe if we squeeze the state and get the old Richmond Hotel too, they'll just have to be forced to build a new highrise next to the Monroe tower :)

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:lol: If you're trying to cover up the rear of that Grace St Apartment building, I'd support it!

Although, part of me would like to see that block hold some sort of retail...

Is the second empty lot you referred to the site of the never built Lottery HQ? If Murphy's is preserved, the state may want that land to build the new building they want. Or maybe if we squeeze the state and get the old Richmond Hotel too, they'll just have to be forced to build a new highrise next to the Monroe tower :)

:lol: Yea. Anything to cover up the backside of the Grace Street Apartments!

But my Law School buildng on that sight would have retail on the ground floor, several tiers of parking and class rooms and offices above.

The second empty lot to which I referred is, sadly, the VAPAF hole. If they would give up the idea of a too-small music hall there in favor of a grandiose one carved out of Blues Armory, then go ahead and build the law school there! Just leave room for CC expansion. :)

I'm not one of those madly in love with Murphy's Hotel, tho it certainly has merit. But we've all seen pictures of buckling walls and that "forever" covered walkway around it. That building is not long for this World. Ah! But the Richmond Hotel! That old building has SUPER merit, though the State will never give it (or its site) up. I do hope it is preserved. The State has a lock on that entire block (except St. Peter's Church), so the UR/VCU collaboration might have to move slightly west, IMO.

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I think that many of the Mayor's directives are admirable; however, i feel he is seriously ignoring several key issues that are of great import to the city of richmond:

first of all, regionalism. Not one mention of it. Above all things regionalism should be a major land and financial use issue b/c without affordable, sustainable ways to bring people downtown (ie the fact that the majority of people in richmond live in the suburbs), all of the things to which he speaks will be rendered useless.

secondly, tourism. Tourism provides SERIOUS money for cities and should be a directive of any "city of the future." A new house bill was just passed allowing the creation of a tourism financing development board and this should really be a MAJOR reason to bring life to both sides of the river. Main St. station as new visitors center perhaps?

thirdly, sustaining the "young and restless."

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Looks like there is a large portion of tonight's city council agenda devoted to the City of the Future Plan:

some excerpts worth noting:

11. Ord. No. 2006-65 (Patron: Mayor Wilder)

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