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Robertson: Expand downtown Richmond service district to Manchester

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Those orange-jacketed “Clean and Safe” workers who regularly patrol the streets of downtown Richmond — cleaning sidewalks, pulling weeds and being a reassuring presence on some 440 blocks — could be headed south of the James River to Manchester.

Councilwoman Ellen Robertson is proposing to expand the area of the Downtown General Special Service and Assessment District — the special district where a 5 cent per $100 of assessed value surcharge on real estate taxes helps pay for a range of services from Clean and Safe to maintaining Brown’s Island and the Canal Walk to producing festivals and events to woo visitors and businesses downtown.

A proposed expansion of the downtown service and assessment district

The expansion would extend the district to an area centered on Hull Street, from the river to Cowardin Avenue and Commerce Road from the James down to where East 10th and Marx streets intersect it.

Richmond set up the downtown district in 1990, and Clean and Safe and the other downtown district programs are the work of a partnership between the city and the group Venture Richmond.

20220524_MET_MAYOR

Mayor Levar Stoney shares a moment with Ellen F. Robertson, Council Vice President, after announcing a new strategic economic development plan on Monday, May 23, 2022 at City Hall in Richmond, Virginia.

The city has been contributing $900,000 a year for its share of the downtown work, while this year’s budget reserved $300,000 for Venture Richmond to work in Manchester.

The real estate tax surcharge is what businesses kick in — the Manchester district does not include any single-family homes.

“Venture Richmond has done all the background research, held meetings with businesses and supports this request,” Robertson said.

For downtown, in addition to the Clean and Safe team, which last year picked up 26,133 bags or 1,045,320 gallons of trash; collected 312 cubic yards of leaves; removed 171 handbills and steam-cleaned homeless waste spots, Venture Richmond’s efforts including marketing downtown, installing bike racks, commissioning murals and setting up mini-parks.

Venture Richmond also hosts the Richmond Folk Festival, which this year drew 230,000 visitors to Brown’s Island and the banks of the James.

The City Council’s land-use committee is slated to consider Robertson’s proposal at its Nov. 22 meeting.

dress@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6948

Twitter: @daveress1

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