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wrldcoupe4

The Crupi Report 2007

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15 years ago, local leaders asked a Texas consultant, James Crupi, to assess the Richmond region's strengths and shortcomings. His findings and recommendations were hard hitting and caused a stir. The original report can be read at SaveRichmond here: Back to the Future: Richmond at the Crossroads

This year, the Greater Richmond Chamber asked Crupi to return and reassess the region to see how far and how little it has come in the past 15 years. I've read through most of the new report, and I seriously recommend it to anyone who cares about making Richmond a better place. The new report can be found here:

Putting the Future Together [PDF]

As so many have said for years, Richmond has so much potential but hardly comes close to seeing it through. The coming years are critical to the success of our region. We NEED bold, visionary leadership with focused strategic direction and the collective will and action of leaders and citizens alike to make our vision of a better Richmond a reality. It feels as if we're so close, yet so far away.

Thoughts? I'm hoping for a good discussion here :) This is a good opportunity for "lurkers" to contribute as well!

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Well at least we're the 29th most dangerous city now... other than that, good luck finding better leadership.

(I'll have to read the pdf from home... only my computer at work doesn't have Adobe for some reason).

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Yeah Leaders here suck. No one knows how to be a leader here. We all like to criticize and argue with each other. This Metro doesnt know how to get along with one another. I am with this guy Crupi who made points on our region. We have to get race behind us and the city needs to stop acting like five year olds. All the negatives that go on in our metro really make us look bad.

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I agree with the Crupi report on schools 100%!

I especially liked the quotes from Braxton in the T-D regarding the assessment of the city schools. ("although he doesn't agree with everything in the report,"). Wow! The truth does hurt doesn't it? Of course he isn't going to agree with criticism about the RPS. That would mean that his support for a failed superintendent is partially to blame for this crisis.

It's too bad that the schools will be the last thing to change, if in fact, they ever do.

D.C.'s recommendations for schools:

1. Get rid of the current school superintendent. (And her driver) - She strives to accomplish just over what is required to get her a big fat bonus every year and nothing more.

2. Eliminate about half of the "fat" that has entrenched themselves on the top half of city hall. Administrative costs are killing the school budget. With all of the advances in technology, we should be able to operate the schools with half of the wasted salaries that exist.

3. Further trim down the transportation costs. Richmond schools eliminated out of zone bussing last year as well as for students who live close to schools and immediately people complained. "My kids can't walk 3 blocks to school. It's not safe." My suggestion is to get your butts out there with your kids and make sure they get to school safe and quit whining. If it isn't safe, then call the police or somebody. Stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution.

4. Full-court press to remove Braxton from power and any other school board member who is a do-nothing. What a nimrod. If we continue to bury our heads in the sand, we will never get this school system where it needs to be.

5. Figure out how to trim the 51% dropout rate. Can we put at-risk students in a training program to at least get them ready to work on a manufacturing line or something?

Anyway, I read the report and it was a blunt, true assessment of the state of the region.

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Speaking of schools, it seems that changes were underway mere hours after the Crupi report was presented. I'm sure the changes were on the way before the speech but the timing was interesting.

Tom Sheeran, the superintendent for finance and operations will resign in March 2008. This follows Jewell-Sherman's announcement yesterday that the school administration will be reorganized to "accelerate gains in student achievement and operational efficiencies."

Changes coming to schools

As we move forward on improving aspects of the city from schools to downtown revitalization, can't do attitudes won't cut it. While we as "mere citizens" have little influence on changing out poor civic leaders from the business community, we can control and change ineffective elected officials. If the school board is failing the children of Richmond, citizens must vote for change. Residents of Chesterfield, finally fed up with a board of supervisors who were seemingly in bed with developers, have voted into place a very different looking board. We as citizens cannot afford to sit idly by and wait for change to come from inactive and disengaged leaders.

One of the issues Crupi brought forth which resonated most with me was the necessity of bringing the region's younger citizens/leaders to the table. While we (myself included :) ) may lack the experience and wisdom that comes with age, we can bring to the table the drive, energy, and creativity of youth and actively contribute to the discussion and implementation of solutions to regional problems. The status quo is frustrating at best.

I'll contribute more later :)

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I have spent some time on this Thanksgiving Day reading the first 20 pages of The Crupi Report.

Crupi comments "If the Greater Richmond Area was a corporate client, I would note that it has fallen behind its competitors but doesn't quite believe it."

He's a very astute man.

I look forward to a continued read of the report, but now it's time to head uptown for Thanksgiving dinner with friends.

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He sure uses the word "overarching" a lot. On another board, there are a lot of Chester residents that are dead-set against any regional efforts to address any problem. I don't think that the regional approach will be a problem with those of us living in the city so much as it will be for the residents of the counties. The general consensus is that the city only wants to "lean" on the counties and that is the only basis for regional cooperation. They point out crime and poverty. What they don't realize though is that they will need our help as crime continues to rise in the counties and gangs become more and more of a problem. Our police are very familiar and have a lot to offer in the way of knowledge and experience. Transportation is another issue where the counties will benefit from a regional approach. How much longer can Chesterfield residents rely on those old "cart paths" that they drive on?

There is a very progressive momentum growing within the city limits and I fear that it will take years for the counties to come on board with this report.

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Well if the counties choose not to cooperate in the regional vision then we will have to move on without them. There is enough creative drive and money in the city now to make it something special. Let them continue to become Northern Virginia's ugly cousin with sprawl and ersatz retail/restaurant offerings and suffer the consequences later.

I for one will be contacting my council representative soon to see if she has read the report and has been closely involved with the Downtown Master Plan. It's time to come up with an ambitious game plan and start executing!

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People who are opposed to the report are also the most vocal.

One interesting proposal is the establishment of a huge office park in what is now Scott's Addition. Such an idea would have never occurred to me. I suppose there are those who would call it desecration of an old Richmond industrial area. Architecturally, it is a barren wasteland of undistinguished mid-20th Century low-rises that are mostly distribution centers. Its boundaries are I-64 to the north, Boulevard to the east, Broad Street to the south and I-195 to the west. It's a possibility worth tossing around, IMO, though I'd much prefer a vertical office park downtown. Meanwhile, we'll have INFUZION to keep us cool. :)

Another plan pushed by Crupi is a sports/entertainment complex on the south shores of The James in Manchester. He said nary a word about expansion of The Diamond.

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People who are opposed to the report are also the most vocal.

One interesting proposal is the establishment of a huge office park in what is now Scott's Addition. Such an idea would have never occurred to me. I suppose there are those who would call it desecration of an old Richmond industrial area. Architecturally, it is a barren wasteland of undistinguished mid-20th Century low-rises that are mostly distribution centers. Its boundaries are I-64 to the north, Boulevard to the east, Broad Street to the south and I-195 to the west. It's a possibility worth tossing around, IMO, though I'd much prefer a vertical office park downtown. Meanwhile, we'll have INFUZION to keep us cool. :)

Another plan pushed by Crupi is a sports/entertainment complex on the south shores of The James in Manchester. He said nary a word about expansion of The Diamond.

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Innsbrook style office park there = yuck. We should be focused on creating a diverse, dense, walkable neighborhood not a car dependent office park.

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This report left me with many questions.

1. What is our identity?

I've always though of us as THE most historic city in Va if not the US.

2. If our architecture creates a sense of community, then would that be an identity?

3. What major artery needs to be developed?

We already have major arteries, don't we? Does he mean enhanced or create a new road somewhere?

4. If our character is to be preserved, how can we also be bold with it, given how being "bold" means destroying the very things that created that character by so-called "progressives."

5. How is the James underutilized and underdeveloped?

I thought I read that the river draws about a half a million people yearly at least through the James River Park System. We Richmonders love our river and a lot of us spend a lot of time there. It is already one of the most popular spots in the city.

I understand making it more accessible, although I have walked nearly the entire north bank of it from Tredegar to Rocketts Landing. Perhaps we can get rid of those ancient retention walls and let the bank slope to the river again.

6. What is edgy?

7. When did Henrico get a black majority?

It doesn't.

8. How does Dillon's Rule affect other Virginia cities?

9. How does the Commonwealth form of government affect those cities in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky?

Maybe it's not the Commonwealth, but the independent city law that needs to be changed. The state really needs to change to help Richmond at least.

I agree we need better leadership and the counties need to be willing to work with the city. Virgil Hazelett summed it all up when he didn't bother to read the report. He doesn't care about the region, only himself and Henrico. It's about time Henrico got rid of Hazelett and found someone who'd get things done. They should consolidate our government service, transportation, and all.

I never understood the criticism from the black community's leaders who seem to find all kinds of stuff to whine about other than getting their own culture and community straight. We truly don't help our own as one leader said. Why would anyone seriously include your community or ask your poor for input when they generally don't care? It's all about living day to day, money, sex, and drugs. If they were asked, their main objective would not be education or anything of substance. They'd rally around keeping the divisions and public housing. Their real issues were addressed and there were good ideas.

There does need to be more to the black business community than there is already. I don't hear too much about the Asian or Hispanic communities getting involved in city or regional affairs.

The whole region needs to see itself as one big community and every level of it needs to help each other face the problems that affect us directly and indirectly. Having churches and the business community helping more to combat poverty and help the city schools improve themselves would be great. As I had said many times on this board, community needs to take the risks to boost downtown.

I pretty much agree with a lot in the report. Although I would be one of those who admires the past and doesn't want to see all our historic treasures shipped to Field Day of the Past for being "bold" and "edgy." We have destroyed so much, but a balance can always be reached. I agree that we always tend to go for cost over quality. We need to go for the bold designs. We do need to fix up and boost Jackson Ward... and I agree with this guy's suggestion of fountains. I like the idea of a Broad St plan; as I said, it is our grand architectural avenue (although we lost several gems). When it comes to historic architecture, I agree we need to build in homage, but I have always said, not just Italianate. Richmond's history did not just have Italianate and we need to build using other styles in our history, like Colonial, Federal, and Greek Revival.

I'm not sure what else can be done with our gateways. The map called for a major gatewat at 64 and Nine Mile. Great, get off the highway and there's Creighton Court and Oakwood Cemetery! I say demolish Creighton to make that gateway more attractive. I do like 5th St's entry into the city, but I guess it can use more umph. The Boulevard and Hermitage Rd exits off 95/64 scream for better days.

The idea to paint or eliminate the elevated trestle downtown wouldn't help connect us with the river. We've always had buildings that blocked the view of the river. So everyone may not know Richmond sits on a river, most places are on rivers and it's not going to be visible from everywhere. However, Libby Hill's river view has to remain as one of those few places one can go without being in a highrise or in a building to see the river.

I do not favor the idea of a SUBURBAN-styled office park near downtown. What a smack in the face! Downtown IS our office park and if anything, we should add more offices to it than looking for other areas to basically relocate downtown. If you must, then I suggest between Lombardy and Chamberlayne, between School St and the railroad tracks or Upper Shockoe Valley with a daylighted Shockoe Creek and recreated mill ponds and millraces.

I wonder how much of what's been suggested would seriously be considered? Or should we really toss out all the old leaders and find the new?

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Well I am happy with the way our city is going towards crime. Take a look at Wilmington Deleware. I saw some pictures on skyscraperpage of Wilmington Delewares ghettos and I am thankful that our ghettos arent in the shape that other cities ghettos are in. I saw a guy from California take pictures in wilmington and showed all the drug dealers and the prostitutes and people with guns and knifes and the money for drugs. It even showed pictures of the cops taking in people. I read at the end they have had 98 homicides so far this year. Shows me how much more I appreciate Richmonds bad side than having other cities bad sides here in Richmond. I am happy for the developers to clean up the ghettos and renovate old houses and putting up infill to get rid of the old ugly grass lots where who knows at once point and time there was a house sitting on that grass lot. I think our leaders and even the suburban leaders should be thankful that our city is not as dirty and as awful looking as a lot of cities are. I wish I could show the pictures to every leader so that they can be thankful for our city not looking like the ghettos of Wilmington DE,Pittsburgh PA or even Detroit MI. I am proud the way our city has cleaned up since the 90's and before. I remember going into the city when I was just a young kid and seeing how filthy and ugly our city looked at the time. But now going back to the city more and more I am happy with the way we have cleaned up our streets. Now its time for the government to be cleaned up because I dont think a city of our size should have such a corrupted government. Like I have told people before including my dad that it makes me so angry and ticked off when someone like one of my friends say "I wouldnt go near the city of Richmond if they paid me 1 Million Dollars." I told my friend I would. He asked me why. I told him believe it or not but the city is coming back to life. Its not as bad as it once was. He said how. I said the streets have been cleaned up and the sidewalks are being redone but most of all the investment of new and renovated structures that are making this city a wonderful place to be yet again. He said nothing more cause he knew that he couldnt say anything to me about it. I just wish more people wouldnt have such a bad point of view of the city like it once was. I mean me myself will joke around saying im going to get shot cause im a well off west end kid with some money. But I dont mean that in a serious way. I just joke around about it and I tell people to not take that seriously because thats not the way the city is.

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