Springhill Residents Speak Out Against Crosland Development Plans

This is footage from the City Council meeting on January 11, 2010, found on the Richmond City Council Reporter and Telegraph blog. Springhill residents and other neighbors were protesting including the Manchester on the James development in the set of projects being considered for Recovery Zone Facility bonds (Federal stimulus funds, essentially). Unfortunately, Crosland won the vote 8-1. We will have more commentary on the issue soon.

Urgent: Development Rears Ugly Head Again

I’ve just been informed that the ill conceived Manchester on the James project is once again on the City Council agenda (Consent Agenda item 17). Although the project was approved last year, the slump in real estate made the developer change their mind. Now the city is trying to divert stimulus funds to offset the developer’s taxes on the project. All to build units that will send Richmond money to North Carolina.

Please come out to the City Council meeting tonight at 6pm to protest this corporatist scheme! Also, share this story with others – we need to get the word out about this. Finally, you can call the councilman for the Springhill neighborhood, Marty Jewell, at (804) 646-6050 and urge him to oppose the measure.

Springhill is a small neighborhood and particularly vulnerable right now. Don’t let your tax dollars be used to put money in private developers’ pockets, all to fund damage to a historic neighborhood!

UPDATE: More info from Hills and Heights, Richmond Times-Dispatch, and a government site on Recovery Zone Facility bonds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Thanks to Richard H. for following this issue and providing all these great information sources!

New Fire Station Coming

Sherri Johnson shares some intelligence on a new firehouse that will be displacing a portion of Canoe Run Park. This comes via Lee Shewmake on the Woodland Heights Yahoo! Group:

We are about to get a new Firehouse #17.  I just received some additional details today and they are as follows:

Stimulus grant funds of approximately 3.2 million was awarded to replace station # 17 with occupancy to be complete by 2012.

Dewberry & Davis charged with examining potential sites of the Old Johnny Johnson Safeway between Bainbridge & Midlothian, a portion of Carter Jones Park plus the existing site, or a portion of Canoe Run Park on Semmes Ave between W 24th St and the old 7-11 building.  The latter was selected as the most viable. (Not enough funds allocated for the purchase of the old 7-11 building at its present price.)

The front of the station would face Semmes Ave.  No renderings currently available, but efforts to fit the structure in architecturally with the surrounding neighborhoods is a priority.

The architectural procurement process was just posted this week on the city website and EVA(?).  This is an excellent opportunity for resident Architects to bid on a “home turf” project!

In exchange for taking park property, the city is looking at improvements to the park such as lighting.  A portion of the existing trail will be consumed, so they are also looking at how to re-route the trail to maintain the total distance it now has.

There is no definitive statement with regards to the future of the old firehouse, which is listed as a contributing structure within our historic district.  It WILL NOT be retained for use by the Fire Dept.  The city may opt to reuse the building for another purpose or place it on the surplus property list for sale.

I have requested updates at regular intervals as the process moves forward, a presentation for the neighborhood once an architect has been selected, and an open process that involves the citizenry in the project.  I reminded Mr. Taylor (oops, did not write down his rank) that people who live by and/or frequent the park would appreciate the rear elevation having as attractive characteristics as the front and sides.  This was all the info I could get right now as the project is literally just beginning.  The Association will stay on top of this and distribute info as we get it.

The Stray Cat Problem

This comes via Sherri Johnson:

Up here on W. 19th, we’ve noticed quite a few new stray cats making the rounds. We’ve seen a black one, a brown and black male tabby, a white and orange one, and a yellowish tabby long hair. I understand that there was a colony of strays living in a garage between 20th and 21st on Stonewall this summer and my guess is that the kitties we’re now seeing might have been born there, and are now growing up and expanding their territory.

I would like to propose a neighborhood effort to get this colony under control as soon as possible.

Over the years, some neighbors and I have conducted “spay and release” missions around the neighborhood, and for a little while, had the local cats at zero population growth. Hopefully we can do this again. There are a number of vets and programs in the area that will spay or neuter stray cats for free or for very little cost.

In order to get the cats to the vet to be spayed/neutered we first have to catch them. In the past, we have accomplished this a couple of ways. 1) If the kitty can be befriended and trusts you, and if you are able to pet it, it’s often easy to pick it up and put it into a carrier for a trip to the vet. 2) More often with feral cats, a kind-trap is needed. The trap is baited with food, and when the cat goes into the trap for the food, the door shuts behind it and the cat is trapped, unharmed. Some programs and vets will loan out these traps to folks trying to capture ferals.

We need volunteers to help with a number of tasks, including:

  • placing and monitoring kind-traps,
  • donating $ to help cover spay/neuter fees,
  • taking cats to thier spay/neuter appointment, and
  • housing a cat overnight after its surgery.

If you can help with this effort, or would like more information, please let me know!

If you’d like to help, leave a comment and somebody will get back to you.