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Highlights from 7th District Meeting

03/28/2018 10:17 AM by

While we tried to live-tweet some of the highlights of yesterday’s meeting, we now do our best to capture some of the best parts of last night’s packed meeting at the Sarah Garland Jones center for Healthy Living.

– The replacement for Farm Fresh is not an Aldi or Kroger or Lidl. Two independent grocers are interested. No details yet. Farm Fresh commits to finding a replacement as read by a letter to Dr. Newbille from the administration of the office of Economic and Community Development. The lease requires the property to be a grocery store. While the store can choose to stay open until a replacement is found, Farm Fresh can also close the store and leave it unoccupied.

– The RVA East End Festival will be at the 17th St Farmers Market which ‘will be completed and ready to go by May 25’. “It will be ready and it will be the first event in that space in the 17th St Farmer’s Market. We are phenomenally pumped!” said Rev. Marylyn Heckstall. This was met with some surprise but excitement by the audience as visually it still looks like there’s a lot of work left to be done on the site. All money is going to be directed to music education in Richmond Public Schools. They need volunteers!

– There was a big uptick in thefts of and from motor vehicles in Sector 111 in the last 28 days versus the preceding 28 days. However, violent crime was down 50% from last month. You should also expect to see more officers on foot in 111 and 113.

– An arrest was made on the homicide on Q St that happened this past weekend. This arrest is not related to the shooting that happened last Thursday. The police allege that these are isolated incidents. No concerns for retaliation.

– Last week’s 23rd St hit and run accident caused a man to be ejected from his vehicle. Thanks to the quick work of our local firefighters, they saved him from dying!

East End grocery:

  • If it’s not obvious to the community, it’s happening! With the addition of the culinary school, the involvement of VCU and the 40 attached apartments and a confirmed 80 parking spaces for the combined complex, this will be “the coolest roundabout in the city of Richmond in less than a year”.
  • The opening of the grocery store is set for December 2018.
  • In the next few weeks, quite a few banners will be placed around the roundabout to inform the community of what’s happening: graphics, sitemaps, messages from the store and from VCU.
  • There was a high commitment to have minority employment in the stores. Hiring will start in August. Professional development starts 6 to 8 weeks before they open the store.
  • There will be a bank (“can’t say the name yet”) and they’re working on a pharmacy
  • They are also looking for local entrepreneurs to display their products in the store
  • The store is fully funded by Steve and Kathy Markel. Initially, the store will not make any money in order to provide all the services they need. Whenever it does start making money, the Markels are dedicated to putting the money back into the community.
  • While there’s a commitment to hire minority workers for the operations of the store, no contracts were allegedly given to the construction of the grocery store. Leadership has been encouraged to put the bids out in public with enough advance notice so that the inside contracts (wiring, refrigeration, and others)
  • What’s in a name? The store is working with the VCU Brand Center and with leadership in the community to tell them what they want the name to portray. The name needs to “mean something”.
  • Parking is going to be tight! The current layout doesn’t allow for a lot of growth. The spaces include those for the apartment complex.

In regards to the cigarette tax, I’m quoting neighbor Havis W (since we had to leave a little early):

Exact number unknown but projected rev 3-5 mil. This won’t be used as the basis for borrowing. Dr. Newbille soliciting estimate of public health costs associated with tobacco use


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