Good morning, RVA! It's 61 °F, and highs today aren’t quite as steaming hot as yesterday. Expect temperatures to stick somewhere in the mid 70s. Warmer weather returns later in the week.
Thank you to everyone who came out to Max and Ross Bike Things last night! We had about 40 people on bikes cruising through the city, checking out transportation infrastructure, riding in (and adjacent to) bike lanes, and listening to me and Max talk out what the City’s getting right and complain about how things could be better. I had a blast and hope y’all did, too! We should do more real-life hangs!
With the downtown arena discussion interminably on pause, we can turn our attention to discussion of the other giant stadium project over on Arthur Ashe Boulevard. Michael Martz at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has an update on VCU’s plans to buy the ABC property from the state 💸, plus additional property nearby, and build an athletic village (Ned Oliver has a paywall-free take on the Virginia Mercury). Two of VCU’s plans include a baseball stadium, one does not—and that third one would severely bum out the Squirrels, I imagine. Here’s draft drawings of the three plans (PDF) with Robin Hood Road on the right and Hermitage at the top. I feel compelled to mention that while the City does not collect real estate tax on the existing ABC property since it’s owned by the State, any other property bought up by VCU would fall off the tax rolls and into the University’s ever-growing pot of untaxable land. With this project, however, you hope that building a new baseball diamond nearby frees up the Diamond’s existing space on Arthur Ashe Boulevard for incredibly dense, valuable, and supremely taxable development. You hope, at least. The Hanover Board of Supervisors first needs to approves moving the ABC warehouse into that County, which Martz says could happen as soon as tomorrow, at which point VCU has first dibs on the property in the City. Stay tuned!
Richmond Public Schools rezoning is real and happening! PREPARE THYSELF. The School District has an overview page up with an interactive map that’ll let you see where the existing zones sit, plus a meeting schedule and timeline (PDF). I imagine the former will be updated once the new proposed maps exist later this summer. You can also check out the list of folks—regular people like you and me (mostly)—that make up the Rezoning Advisory Committee (PDF).
J. Elias O’Neal says there’s lots of new housing coming to Manchester in the nearish future. Is any of it affordable? I don’t know! With hundreds of new humans moving into the neighborhood, will anything be done to make Semmes and Cowardin less terrifying to pedestrians? I also don’t know!
Mel Leonor at the RTD has the details on the next chapter in the Republicans’ chaotic attempts to pick a nominee for Virginia’s 97th House District 💸. I wish I could explain it to you, but the situation has really devolved and, honestly, seems headed to the courts. I think this is now the second time Hanover County Supervisor Scott Wyatt has claimed victory over Delegate Chris Peace?
The City has many, many boards and commissions that are staffed by citizens just like you. Some boards have more power than others (City Planing Commission versus, say, the Sister Cities Commission), but all are just an application away for regular ol’ Richmonders like you and me. Currently there are about 35 boards and commissions with open spots and you, yes you, should definitely consider applying to one of them. Important to my life and work: the Citizen Transportation Advisory Committee has a spot open for a progressive and transportation-friendly human. Maybe that’s you or one of your pals?
The RTD rewrite of this headline is way better than the Daily Progress’s more boring and straight forward take: “Process revealed for UVA’s implosion of University Hall on Saturday. It will involve dynamite.”
This morning's longread
Here’s a good look at what Salt Lake City did and did not do to impact homelessness. The piece ends with some suggestions on what cities can do—when federal and state government refuses to provide the necessary funding for housing.
But all the challenges of funding their response to homelessness doesn’t mean cities are entirely powerless. For a start, municipal leaders could remove the zoning codes that make low-income housing and homeless shelters illegal in their residential neighborhoods. They could replace encampment sweeps and anti-panhandling laws with municipally sanctioned tent cities. They could update their eviction regulations to keep people in the housing they already have. Cities can also, crucially, address the huge diversity of the homeless population. Rankin points out that for young mothers, the most frequent cause of homelessness is domestic abuse. For young men, it is often a recent discharge from foster care or prison. The young homeless population is disproportionately gay and trans.
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