Maymont Civic League Meeting
Maymont Garden Hall
Information sent out ahead of the meeting via email:
Maymont Civic League Meeting Today! Monday the 15 at 7pm
We will meet at the Maymont Garden Hall, which is down the walkway from the Hampton gates of Maymont. Please join our Facebook group “Maymont Civic League” or email
firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the email list and stay up to date!
Agenda Items are:
- Fire Department will talk about safety in older homes
- 3rd Precinct police updates – there was some turnover which is why we didn’t have someone at the last meeting
- 5th district updates from Amy Robins
- Speed Limit discussion – option to go down to 20mph
- Loud Concert at Maymont – how to address?
- Sidewalks going in!
- Any other concerns
We hope you will join us!
Minutes taken at the meeting:
Attendees: Joy Rogers (President), Leah Hopper (Vice President), Gayle Goldberg (Treasurer), Jan Hatchard (Membership Coordinator), Kirk Millikan (Secretary), Rebecca Fischer, Michael Glass, Joe Goldberg, Kim Griffin, Tony Halsey, Art Hatchard, Lily Jones, Debbie Ladd, Alexander Lawson, Elisabeth Linka, Stephanie Lynch (5th District Councilmember), Lieutenant Marvin Marsh (Richmond Police Department), Hugo Mendoza, Emily Morris, Parke Richeson (Maymont Executive Director), Ethan Smith, Hannah Stewart, Lee Williams
- Joy opened the meeting with introductions of the board.
- Lt. Marvin Marsh from the 3rd Precinct (which includes our neighborhood) provided updates. Lt. Marsh has been with the Richmond Police since 2000. He graduated from Armstrong High School and Virginia State University.
- For the Maymont neighborhood, there have been no violent crimes year to date; no theft from motor vehicles reported this year; one stolen vehicle this year.
- For the sector as a whole (which also includes the Fan and Randolph), statistics are not as good as our neighborhood, but they are not bad overall. Shoplifting has increased a lot, specifically at the ABC Store on Broad Street. Breaking and entering reports have increased from 5 to 10 year-to-date. There has been an uptick in catalytic converter thefts again. The illegal dumping on Texas Avenue is an on-going investigation; the dumping was identified as a hair product. Fraud alert – starting to see an uptick in fraud phone calls, particularly calling elderly folks with fake “ghosting” numbers.
- Elisabeth Linka introduced herself and provided her contact information (804-646-2905, email@example.com). Elisabeth is an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for Richmond, and she is the 3rd Precinct prosecutor. She provided updates on the illegal towing in Richmond. The substantial investigation is on-going with fraud in addition to property crimes. On-Time Towing and No Limit Towing are the towing companies being investigated. $175/day is the maximum cap for a tow company charging per day, and these companies are charging $400+ per day. If you think you are a victim of illegal towing, you should call the police non-emergency number – the most important thing is to provide pictures of where you parked, any towing signs put up, and any other documentation.
- Can call or email Elisabeth to check on the status of crime cases if you have been the victim of a crime.
- It was asked if the No Parking signs on Westover Road can be removed per current codes and with some Byrd Park streets closing on the weekends. Lt. Marsh said he would look into it.
- Steve Brown, one of the fire marshals in Richmond, provided fire safety updates. He has been a firefighter for 29 years.
- Working smoke detectors are extremely important. On www.rva.gov, there is a fire marshal’s page where you can request free smoke detectors. The smoke detectors will be installed by the Richmond Fire Department in your house, and they now have a battery life of 10 years. After 10 years, the smoke detector needs to be thrown away. Recommend testing smoke detectors once a month.
- Cooking is the number one cause of house fires. Mr. Brown recommends having a mat in front of the stove where only one person is allowed to stand. If you are cooking, he recommends you do not leave the stove mat while the stove is on. If the cook needs to walk away from the stove, the stove should be turned off. Cooking with oil is the most dangerous thing.
- EDITH: Exit Drills In The Home. The most important thing is having an evacuation plan to exit your house. You should have two paths out and a designated location outside to meet. Everyone leaves the house once. Get out and stay out, never go back in (especially never go back in for pets). Call 911 as soon as possible, and the fire department will arrive quickly.
- Parke Richeson provided an update about Maymont.
- Year to date, Maymont has served 10,000 students, including teaching the Jim Crow and Gilded Age history of the estate. Year to date, the nature center has seen 32,000 visitors, and the mansion has seen 15,000 visitors. Overall Maymont is on track to see 750,000 visitors in 2023. This is down from a record 876,000 visitors in 2021 when more people visited local outdoor parks due to covid.
- The mansion’s audio tours have recently been recorded in Spanish, and Maymont is working on making signs in the park dual language (Spanish and English).
- In September, Maymont’s curator will be speaking about the park’s 100 year anniversary in 2025. Maymont would love to hear stories of folks growing up in our neighborhood over the years.
- Recent loud music at Maymont was from a fundraising event that had a DJ playing music. Parke apologized for the noise and has noted it for future events. The fundraising event raised over $400,000 for Maymont.
- Maymont’s Summer Kick-Off Concerts are June 16th and 17th. Maymont provides some concert tickets to neighborhood residents. You must be a member of the civic league to apply for tickets, and you can apply by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Stephanie Lynch provided updates about the 5th District and city council.
- The city budget was recently passed. Money towards affordable housing and homeless services were highlights of the budget. There are currently 91 families living on the street in Richmond. $1.75 million was allocated for homeless services. $50 million was allocated for affordable housing. $12 million was allocated for park maintenance, but there is $35 million in deferred maintenance. $21 million was allocated for Vision Zero traffic calming. There is a Family Crisis Fund now available that can provide $2,500 per family to avoid evictions. Negotiations on the budget started before the mayor’s budget was released, and that helped to keep the budget process on schedule.
- Paving is resuming in the neighborhood next week.
- There is a “20 is Plenty” campaign for 20 mph speed limits. The locations and timeframe for implementing 20 mph speed limits is to be determined.
- Regarding repairing the pedestrian bridge to Texas Beach, the Request for Proposal (RFP) for contractors to repair the bridge is going out this week. CSX negotiation is on-going. Hopefully, the project to fix the bridge will finish in one year.
- Joy mentioned there is an increase in trash and spray painting down at Texas Beach. Stephanie said that the city may be able to put cameras in the Texas Beach parking lot to help deter crime.
- The city was able to hire two park rangers. One will be stationed at Belle Isle, and the other will be stationed at Shiplock Park.
- A neighbor asked why it seems like more people are working in city hall now with fewer police and park staff. Stephanie said that allocation is done by the mayor, his administration, and his budget.
- You can break up your property tax bill into quarterly payments if desired.
- A neighbor asked about striping Maymont’s parking lot to fit in more cars. Parke and Stephanie said they would look into it.
- A neighbor asked about replacing trees that have recently been cut down. Stephanie said there is an “adopt a tree” program if folks are interested in that. With the current sidewalk project, the neighborhood should get new trees planted.
- Regarding the potential neighborhood playground next to the skate park, Stephanie said that Lincoln Saunders (the city’s Chief Administrative Officer) is willing to do a walking tour of the proposed site. Currently, there is an issue with an easement on the property. There is potential funding for the playground in the budget.
- Joy said there is approval for the playground but no funding has been secured. Grant funding may also be available.
- Joy mentioned that neighborhood kids cannot safely cross Colorado Avenue by themselves to reach playgrounds behind Amelia Street School or Maymont Preschool.
- Neighborhood resident Ida Cheatham recently turned 103, and an honorary street sign will be placed for her on her 1800 block of South Meadow Street this summer. Ida is one of the original residents of the neighborhood, and she used to work in real estate. She negotiated the real estate lots in Byrd Park.
- Joy mentioned that the civic league will vote on whether or not to request 20 mph speed limits in our neighborhood at our September meeting.
- Joy said that weekly walks are on-going, meeting on Wednesdays at 7pm at the corner of Greenville Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue.
Meeting adjourned at 8:30pm