Good morning, RVA! It's 41 °F and rainy. You can expect the rain to clear and temperatures to warm up a little by lunchtime.
It’s Presidents Day which means some people have the day off—but not Richmond Public Schools students, who have to make up for those endless snow days they had earlier this year. If you’re looking to increase the number of president facts contained within your brain today, maybe check out the Washington Post’s Presidential podcast, which has an episode devoted to each and every president. I hear the Chester A. Arthur one is definitely worth your time.
Responses to the City’s RFP to redevelop the area around the Coliseum were due on February 9th, and Mark Robinson at the Richmond Times-Dispatch says, drumroll...only one group submitted a proposal. And—surprise, surprise—it was the Tom Farrell-led group who has been putting together a plan to redevelop that part of town for a while now. So what does this mean? Is it that the original RFP was too dang intense with too many disparate requirements? Is it that the project, as defined in the RFP, can only be pulled off with public money—something the mayor has said is an impossibility? Can this process be called competitive if there’s only one competitor? I don’t know! I do know that out of all the requirements in the RFP, the ones folks I know seemed most excited about were basically everything but the Coliseum: Affordable housing, reconnecting the street grid, an appropriately-sized GRTC transfer center. I wonder if the lack of developer interest in this particular RFP is a good excuse to go back to the drawing board and see if we can come up with something less expansive and more focused on rebuilding a neighborhood for people in that part of town. City Council has many, many months to decide whether or not to move forward with this proposal, and I full expect them to wait until after budget season to start kicking the tires.
Coleen Curran at the RTD talks with everyone’s favorite James River Park Superintendent, Nathan Burrell, about the Park’s future. They’re in the midst of raising a bunch of money for a master planning process, which sounds rad and needed. I do wonder, though, how this park-specific process will incorporate with Richmond 300, the City’s ongoing and official master planning process. Also, while it sounds terrible, I would love to get my hands on a copy of the original park master plan that included a “space needle, revolving restaurants and a monorail” on Belle Isle.
Bonnie Newman Davis, writing for Richmond Magazine, has a profile of Dr. William Ferguson Reid, one of the co-founders of the Richmond Crusade for Voters. After living through Jim Crow and Massive Resistance, Reid says “Things haven’t changed that much.” Augh.
Also, Richmond Magazine hosted their annual restaurant awards last night, and you’ll surely recognize a lot of the names among the list of winners.
Black Panther had the fifth best opening weekend of all time!
- Rams got crushed by George Washington, 80-56.
- Spiders couldn’t hang with Saint Louis, losing 66-72.
- Hokies handled George Tech, 76-56.
This morning's longread
From Patron Valerie, comes this piece in Wired about the comfortableness and courage the survivors of the Parkland school shooting have in digital advocacy.
It takes uncommon courage and clarity to set celebrities like Lahren straight, not to mention the president of the United States. Maybe the kind of courage and clarity that only an adolescent aware of her power online, her mind sharpened by tragedy, can lay claim to. So the students are making their incontrovertible record. They are distributing it in social media and mainstream media, giving interviews, publishing editorials and saturating the airwaves with the truth. In the meantime, they are crowding out lies and dismantling them: calling bullshit on gibberish from the GOP and the president.
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