Good morning, RVA! It's 70 °F, and highs will creep up a bit to the mid 80s today. There’s a chance of rain throughout the day, but we might could skate by without needing to dodge a downpour.
So a bunch of months ago at this point, City Council passed an ordinance (ORD. 2019-119) creating the Richmond City Council Navy Hill Development Advisory Commission. Ostensibly, this commission will ask a bunch of questions, do a bunch of research, hold some public hearings, and then present Council with “advice” about the proposed North of Broad development. As specified by the ordinance their duties are “to validate the assumptions, projections, costs, and benefits of the development contemplated by the [North of Broad] Ordinances and the likely impact of that development on the City.” The committee’s chair and vice chair, Pierce Homer and John Gerner, already chosen by Council, are required to hold a meeting to nominate seven remaining members to the commission. I think that’s what’s going down on this Friday, August 30th, from 11:00–1:00 PM in the Second Floor Conference Room of City Hall. First, never should we ever have a commission chaired by two White dudes—especially one tasked with advising on a proposal to build a bunch of stuff on top of where Urban Renewal destroyed a thriving Black neighborhood. Second, a meeting on Friday afternoon, announced with just a couple days of notice, is not great. One of the complaints about the North of Broad process thus far, from councilmembers and Richmonders alike, has been the lack of transparency and public engagement. Now that it’s their turn in the spotlight, City Council has an opportunity to do better and has not. Huge bummer!
Justin Mattingly at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a long profile of Richmonder Dallas Dance 💸 that is definitely worth your time. Dance is a fascinating person who grew up in the East End, went to Virginia Union University, and wound up as Superintendent of Baltimore County Schools. Lying about and not reporting outside consulting work would ultimately send him to jail for a couple months last year. He now lives in the Richmond region, and, personal opinion here, would be a viable candidate in almost any local or state election. Incumbents beware!
It’s impossible not to think about Marcus-David Peters while reading this story in the Danville Register & Bee about a White man who killed three people but, with the help of “as many as 100 officers,” was ultimately apprehended alive.
Style Weekly’s Innovation Issue is out, and you can read a bunch of stories about the folks in town doing cool and innovative things. One thing I want to specifically highlight is Duron Chavis’s Racial Equity Dialogue Dinner. The pricing for this event is incredible with tiers based on gender and race. White men, of course, pay the most at $80 per ticket, women of color pay $47.75, and farmers & food workers pay $32.75. The event, unsurprisingly because it looks rad, is sold out!
Saahil Pawar at Richmond Magazine says Blanchard’s Coffee will host the 2019 U.S. Coffee Championships preliminaries from September 6th through 8th. I had only a vague idea that such a thing existed but am totally unsurprised. We are humans, we must compete at everything! Pawar also says that Blanchard’s will open their coffee shop on Broad Street in early September, which is something I’ve been looking forward to for a while now.
I always forget to mention these until it’s too late, but HA! not this month! Breakaway RVA’s August ride will take place tomorrow, August 29th, and you can still register over on their website. Meet up with a bunch of fun bikefolks in your neighborhood and end up at Basic City Beer Co. in Manchester for a good, clean hang. These things are a ton of fun, and, if a pot hole on Main Street hadn’t broke my bike, I’d see you there!
This morning's longread
This, of course, makes me think of the Belmont Golf Course. Henrico County just released an RFP looking for folks to lease and run the course for a minimum of 20 years. Something to note from this longread: A private operator of a municipal course in Maryland walked away from a similar agreement after profits—and interests—tanked.
The story in Rockville is being repeated across the country as municipal golf courses are struggling amid a national decline in the sport. Golf courses were part of a nationwide building boom in the 1990s and early 2000s as municipalities and developers invested in the sport, often linking them to new housing developments. But over the past 15 years, golfing participation has fallen by 20 percent, from 30 million in 2005 to 24 million today. Now, according to the National Golf Foundation, there are more municipal courses than ever—some 2,800 across the country—but they are serving far fewer golfers than they once did. As a result, course costs are cutting into city budgets. One-third of public golf courses don’t make enough to cover annual operations. That number goes up when taking into account other expenses, such as debt and employee retirement benefits.
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