Delores McQuinn hosted a 7th District Town Hall Meeting this morning at the historic Mt.Sinai Baptist Church on 25th Street. The agenda included presentations by M.Khara on the 25th Street Traffic Control Circle, representatives from the Department of Public Utilities on Senior Heating Bills/Payment Plans, a preview on 2008 Assessment Updates, and the petition for traffic-slowing measures on Venable Street.
25th Street Traffic Control Circle
First up was M.Khara of the Department of Public Works, speaking on the ongoing process of getting the 25th street traffic circle (or “roundabout”) actually constructed. Khara says that statistically, traffic circles have less accidents and are more efficient than traditional signalled intersections. The circle should increase pedestrian safety, slow traffic speed, and offer a gateway feature to the neighborhood. Budgeted at $550,000, the project will include installation of the landscaped traffic circle, new sidewalks, divider medians approaching the circle, and new signage and pavement markings. Delayed for some time by budgetting issues, construction is slated to begin in April 2008 and should be completed by August 2008.
In the Q&A session after Khara’s presentation, a wide-ranging discussion erupted on the specific needs of other areas in the neighborhood (missing sidewalks, potholes in the roads), and of the other recent improvements made to 25th Street corridor including the decorative lights and sidewalk improvements.
Senior Heating Bills/Payment Plan
Joyce Brent and Michelle Tarry from the Department of Public Utilities were next up and shared information about Senior Heating Bills/Payment Plans. They made available registration forms for Senior Care and gave out free weatherization kits to folks 65 or older. Senior Care is a program that puts in place protections for senior citizens so that no late fees are added and utilities will not be cut off during the winter months.
2008 Assessment Updates
James Hester, City of Richmond Assessor, gave a presentation on how the annual assessment process works. The assessment is an annual determination of the value of property if it were to be sold on the open market. He pointed out that as they are getting ready to mail out the 2008 reassessments, it is important that the Assessors Office have on file the correct mailing address for the current owner. He noted that the average increase city-wide for the year has been about 4 1/2%. He cited an un-named commercial neighborhood in the west end where value has jumped 78%. To dispute or request a review of an assessment value, follow the directions on the assessment notice that will be mailed to you.
The audience shared with us…
- Lerry Schaftlein shared information about a petition to slow traffic speed on Venable Street, calling for more speed limit signs, and 4-way stops at Venable&21st, Venable&Jasmine, and Venable&Tulip. Copies of the petition are up at Jumpin’J’s and Captian Buzzy’s.
- McQuinn: How can we raise participation in these meetings?
- Why is water so expensive? McQuinn: We are in the process of looking into this as a council.
- Next time: The future of the development at Nine Mile, 25th, and Fairmount.
- Are there incentives to bring businesses into the area? CARE & Enterprise Zones
- The post office is so pitiful…
- $.99 store is in the works for 22nd and Fairmount.
- There is a rumor that VCU want to buy and demolish Mosby Court, that they’ve already bought Fair Hills apartments. (john_m: Fair Hills and Jefferson Townhomes are owned by Genesis Properties)