Good morning, RVA! It's 64 °F, and we’ve got another day in front of us with temperatures in the 70s. The later part of the week looks a lot warmer, so if you want to enjoy this quick taste of fall, do it while you can!
Richmond Magazine’s Katja Timm was at yesterday’s VAratifyERA event down at the Capitol. Both First Lady Pam Northam and First Lady Anne Holton (one of my fave First Ladies) gave remarks. If getting the Commonwealth to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment is important to you—or, honestly, if any of a raft of progressive issues are important to you—remember that 100% of the General Assembly seats are up for reelection this November. That means: Check your voter registration status, and if you are not registered to vote, you can do so here until the middle of October!
C.T. Hill and Pamela Royal, both Navy Hill board members and the former a resident of Manakin-Sabot, have an editorial in today’s paper (obviously) in support of the North of Broad project. Here’s the thing, I think their argument—that the project “is rooted in private investment from investors who see the promise in revitalizing Richmond’s downtown”—is disingenuous. Private investment in Downtown is certainly a massive part of the project, but the whole thing is “rooted” in the public financing of a downtown arena. That’s the reason for the BigTIF and for capping revenue from downtown at 2018 levels. I’d have a whole different take on this project if it were just a bunch of private developers buying a bunch of land and building a bunch of towers as the market dictated. It’s not that, and I know I am repeating myself, but: I don’t think a downtown arena is the highest and best use for that land, and it would have been nice to have that discussion before making an arena the centerpiece of an RFP. Additionally, I don’t buy the false dichotomy that should we not replace the Coliseum that “tourism will slip away” and “we won’t create new money for schools.” In fact, we had an amazing opportunity last budget season—which still exists, by the way—to create more money for schools, housing, transit, and everything else by rolling back the Recession-era real estate tax cuts. Council couldn’t get behind that plan, but it certainly didn’t involve a downtown arena. So while I don’t think that this project, or any downtown arena, is the best or only way to make Richmond a place where everyone can thrive, you are welcome to disagree with me! Just don’t pitch me that it’s strictly a choice between the North of Broad project as presented or some horrible austerity Mad Max future dystopia.
Colleen Curran at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a quick update on the 17th Street Market. While they’re still searching for the right combination of events to host at the market—they’ve ditched the Grower’s Market and added a Taco Festival—the natural vibe of the space is much improved from when it opened as an empty brick rectangle. Now, with plenty of seating and tables, I see folks hanging out in the plaza on the regular, just living life. The Market still lacks significant shade, though, at least until the trees grow a bunch, but once the weather cools down permanently I bet we see more and more folks headed there to hang.
Are you old enough to remember living through the Chicken Sandwich Wars? Nomad Deli, on Brookland Park Boulevard, has their own take on a chicken sandwich that you should try. As an added and apropos bonus, the Richmond Democrats will be out there registering folks to vote this week while they wait on their local chicken sandwiches. I think that Nomad’s use of garlic toast for sandwich bread seems 😘👌. Speaking of sandwiches, it’s Sandwich Week over at Style Weekly.
Richmond Magazine’s annual Best & Worst issue is out, and the cover image is really neat this year. I had to laugh at the classic NIMBY responses to the “worst aspect of the proposed Navy Hill project”: Traffic congestion that would result from the additional housing. Thumbs up to the magazine’s editors for pointing out that the reason folks choose to live in an urban neighborhood is so you don’t have to drive all over creation to get at what you need.
A+ graffiti upgrade here, via r/rva.
This morning's longread
We’ve got an ultra cricket in our house at the moment, and it’s chirp is so loud that I’m wearing headphone as this very moment to try and dampen the sound. Anyway, I found this link via Richmond’s Climate Scientist and am looking forward to doing an at-home science experiment right before squashing this ultra cricket with a boot.
Do you love to hear the pulsing chirp of crickets as you fall asleep? It is an unmistakable sound. Some people find the sound pleasing and peaceful whereas others find it loud and annoying, especially if a cricket happens to find refuge from the cold inside a home. However you feel about crickets, their chirps hold a surprising message—they can report the temperature! In this activity, you'll investigate how the chirps of these tiny creatures can be used as a kind of thermometer
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