Once upon a time I ran a news site, now I just have opinions on the news. 

Good morning, RVA: Bathroom blitz, two murals, and juice-tasting beers

Good morning, RVA! It's 77 °F, and today’s high is a toasty 94 °F. If we play our cards right, some rain tomorrow should cool things down a bit for the rest of the week.

Water cooler

Richmond Police are reporting a murder that occurred on Friday. At 2:07 AM, officers arrived at 1400 Roseneath Road and found Terrance C. Peters, 46, shot to death. This murder was part of an incident in Scott’s Addition where three other people were also shot.

In his Friday email, RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras announced a Bathroom Blitz—his commitment to “fixing and beautifying every single bathroom in RPS by the start of the school year.” I love this idea! I love even more that the idea came from students: Kamras says that better bathrooms are the number one thing students have told him would improve their school buildings. And, because he can already hear you revving up your “fixing bathrooms is just a tiny bandaid stuck on top of an almost billion dollar facilities need” arguments, he ends the email with “These efforts, while critical, won't address our long-term facilities needs. Over the coming months, I look forward to working with the Mayor, the Council, and the Assembly to craft a long-term, sustainable funding plan that addresses our brick-and-mortar needs once-and-for-all. Let's get this done, Richmond. Our students are watching us.”

If you’ve been over the Leigh Street Bridge recently, you’ve seen the amazing mural going up on one of the stark concrete walls at the eastern end of the span. Michael Paul Williams at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has the word on who’s behind the work and how its more than just paint on a wall 💸 (although, dang, that wall needed some paint).

Alert the media, somehow folks in Scott’s Addition got approval to paint a mural on the street! How they did this, I do not know, but it’s a huge step toward my personal mission of making our streets safer (and more interesting) using cheap materials like paint and posts.

Perhaps, over the weekend, you read this story in the RTD by Michael Phillips about Richmond making a list of cities that are good markets for pro sports team expansions. First, Richmond is not getting—and as far as I know, is not looking for—an NBA team. Second, you’ve got to mention that the same firm that made the aforelinked list is the firm evaluating Tom Farrell’s Coliseum redevelopment plan 💸. However, I don’t (yet) think this particular bit of information is a strand in a vast conspiratorial web spun by Farrell to dupe the City into building a new sports arena, but it is something to keep in mind if you hear someone mention that bit of info in support of the redevelopment project...

Beer nerds, Annie Tobey in Style Weekly has an explainer and history of the juicy ales that are flooding our breweries at the moment. Honestly, juice-tasting beers are delicious but do go down maybe a bit too quick?


Ram Nation won both of their games in The Basketball Tournament and advance to the Sweet 16. Games continue this coming Friday.

And, of course, France beat Croatia, 4-2, to win the World Cup.

  • Squirrels picked up a couple of games against Akron.
  • Nats split a series with the Mets over the weekend.

This morning's longread

Sports, Jobs, & Taxes: Are New Stadiums Worth the Cost?

Patron Alexander pointed me to this 1997 piece from the folks at Brookings about how stadiums are almost always bad news for cities. Keep in mind this is mostly focused on massive pro stadiums (stadia?) and from 20 years ago, but I think the context is still important for our ongoing Coliseum redevelopment conversations.

In our forthcoming Brookings book, Sports, Jobs, and Taxes, we and 15 collaborators examine the local economic development argument from all angles: case studies of the effect of specific facilities, as well as comparisons among cities and even neighborhoods that have and have not sunk hundreds of millions of dollars into sports development. In every case, the conclusions are the same. A new sports facility has an extremely small (perhaps even negative) effect on overall economic activity and employment. No recent facility appears to have earned anything approaching a reasonable return on investment. No recent facility has been self-financing in terms of its impact on net tax revenues. Regardless of whether the unit of analysis is a local neighborhood, a city, or an entire metropolitan area, the economic benefits of sports facilities are de minimus.

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Good morning, RVA: Evictions, Obama shirts, and new media

Good morning, RVA: TIF talk, parental leave, and The Basketball Tournament