January 20, 2014  Vol. 6 Issue 1

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"

Monday, January 20, 2014 marks the 28th anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal holiday which is celebrated as a National Day of Service. It is my hope that all city residents will participate in this Day of Service by taking a "Day On, Not A Day Off" and commit to volunteer through the City's Neighbor-to-Neighbor initiative or on your own as volunteering has a positive impact on our city. Volunteering and helping others through service is a perfect way to honor the life, teachings and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Please contact the Neighbor-to-Neighbor office at (804) 646-6528 or at to find volunteer opportunities near your neighborhood.

New $40 Million Middle School Opening

On January 6, I was pleased to be joined by Councilwoman Ellen Robertson, then School Board Chairman Jeffery Bourne, School Board member Shonda Harris-Muhammed and the new Schools Superintendent, Dr. Dana Bedden, as well as many smiling 6th, 7th and 8th graders for the opening of the new beautiful 152,435 square foot state-of-the-art Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School.
Educating our children is a clear priority for me and for our city. And what we are working toward with this new building, and the City's investment into this structure and into this neighborhood, is a new beginning.

We simply owe it to our children to equip them to be ready for the world they will face. And while bricks and mortar cannot solve all of the very real challenges we face with performance in our schools, I do want all to know that we are raising expectations for what we want to come out of these schools. We expect better teaching and we expect better learning. And I believe that our responsibility is to try to provide the best environment that we can to generate those outcomes. When we complete the MLK construction, we will have invested more than $40 million in this new school.

Mayor Jones talks to students, teachers, parents, public officials and media during the MLK opening on Jan. 6. All of the things my administration is doing, such as creating more jobs, creating more opportunities, and expanding the city's tax base, are all done with an eye towards creating a better Richmond where all youth can achieve and obtain their greatest potential.

Although construction of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School is complete, all construction on the school's campus is not quite complete. Starting a little later this year, what remains of the old school building will be demolished to make way for a new parking lot and an auxiliary gymnasium. During the summer of 2014, construction of a new Pre-K facility and a Dental Clinic on the southern end of the campus will begin.

As I've said before, the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School is the beginning of what our city's new East End will look like when we de-concentrate poverty with mixed income housing. Students of Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School now have a new learning environment that is second to none and I hope it serves as a signal to them, that we value everyone who resides in Virginia's capital city.
Redskins Summer Camp Economic Impact Totals $10.5 Million

In early January, we released the results of a study conducted by the Center for Sport Leadership at VCU and Richmond Region Tourism regarding the economic impact of the 2013 Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Camp as well as an analysis of tax data for the area surrounding the camp. In all, the Training Camp had a total estimated economic impact of $10.5 million on the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Training camp was held over three weeks in July and August 2013 and attracted a total of 165,571 visits to the facility with attendees from all 50 states over the course of the three weeks. The tax data that we've collected along with survey information shows that the Training Camp's impact on the city and surrounding area surpassed our early estimates. Coupled with the tremendous earned media exposure for the city's brand - valued at greater than $33 million - we had a tremendous first year that we believe can only continue to get better.
Mayor Jones is interviewed during the Washington Redskins Summer Training Camp.
The predictions that the City measured tax performance against were generated in an August, 2012 analysis by Chmura Economics. The training camp was predicted to attract attendees from a geographic footprint covering several hundred miles and pre-camp estimates of 100,000 visitors were anticipated. The 2012 Chmura study estimated City tax revenue from the football training camp to total $190,985. Preliminary tax analysis of revenue received by the City for likely related expenditures in the vicinity and in categories related to the football experience has already risen to $230,979.29, representing a net positive tax impact for the City.

The Center for Sport Leadership and Richmond Region Tourism report went beyond the tax data available to the City to measure impact by surveying training camp attendees about their direct expenditures while in the Richmond area. Information was collected for lodging, restaurants, groceries, entertainment, training camp merchandise, shopping, gasoline and other anticipated expenditures. The study also sought to isolate expenditures from non-local attendees in order to calculate only new dollars being added to the local economy.

In conclusion, fans attending the 2013 Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Camp provided a tremendous boost to the local economy. Overnight visitors attending the Training Camp were responsible for significant economic impact, with average total spending of $887.89 during their stay. Washington Redskins fans came from every state in the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii, and they became Richmond region fans who shopped at our stores, dined in our restaurants and stayed in our hotels. We look forward to welcoming Redskins fans back to Richmond this summer.
City's Juvenile Justice Center
On January 7, our Department of Justice Services received notification that the City's Juvenile Detention Center achieved certification for a period of three years that concludes on June 12, 2016. The Director of the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice, Mark Gooch issued the certification following two 2013 State audits that found the City's Juvenile Detention Center to be 100% compliant. This certification also follows the Virginia Board of Juvenile Justice's six-month certification that was issued on June 12, 2013.

This is a significant achievement and one we've been working toward since making the decision to close the facility in April of 2012. Since that time, we have been busy putting in place key personnel and performing the needed upgrades that have moved us in the direction of having a facility that is properly run and well-managed. The State's three year certification speaks highly of the steps taken by the City as a one year certification was expected at this time. My primary focus for this facility has and always will be that we provide for what is in the best interest of the youth we have been charged to serve. We want the young people who are residents of this facility to know that there are people who care for them, people who want the best for them and people who have an unwavering desire to see them succeed in life.

I would like to thank David Hicks, my senior policy advisor and interim director for the City's Department of Justice Services, for overseeing efforts needed to resolve the issues that have plagued this facility for quite some time. I would also like to recognize the facility's new superintendent Rodney Baskerville and the staffing he has put in place, as they too have been on the front line of implementing not only the needed changes, but the change in culture that was so desperately needed for this facility. 



2014 State of the City Address

Invitation to Mayor Dwight C. Jones' 2014 State of the City Address Our great city has made tremendous strides forward within the past year. There are cranes signaling new construction dotting our skyline, new businesses and jobs coming online, crime continues to decrease, and the city's population is growing. Richmond is "cool" again! So what does the upcoming year have in store?

I invite all Richmond residents and businesses to my 2014 State of the City Address that will be held on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. in the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School auditorium, 1000 Mosby Street. During this address, I will detail the focus points of my administration for the future, to include the upcoming City budget, improving our city's aging infrastructure, efforts to revitalize neighborhoods, and reducing poverty.

All About Town    
I encourage all residents to get more involved with their community and city by attending monthly MPACT meetings. During these meetings, residents are able to discuss concerns they have in their community, hear from City Departments and administration about events that affect their community and the city, as well as become an active member in helping improve the aesthetic qualities of their neighborhood through volunteer opportunities. I challenge you to make an MPACT in your community. Please click here for a detail of upcoming meetings.

The City's Department of Planning and Development Review invites the public to attend a Richmond Riverfront Plan public forum on Tuesday, January 21 at 7 p.m. at the Virginia War Memorial, 621 South Belvidere. The meeting will detail two of the Richmond Riverfront Plan projects: Brown's Island Dam Walk and Chapel Island Trail. The Brown's Island Dam Walk will re-purpose an existing historical dam structure into a pedestrian and bicycle route that will connect Brown's Island on the north bank to the Floodwall and Manchester neighborhood on the south bank. The Chapel Island Trail will build a universally accessible route along the north bank of the river from 14th Street to Great Shiplock Park. Contact the project manager Tyler Potterfield at or call (804) 646-6364 for more information. 

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this newsletter and that you forward it to family and friends.

For more information on the City of Richmond, please visit and "Like" Richmond,VA - Mayors Office on Facebook. 


Thank you.


Dwight C. Jones
Mayor, City of Richmond