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INFRASTRUCTURE

Mayor Jones

Jones, it would appear, can’t handle the truth. Instead, he comes off looking stingy on school maintenance, lavish on spending for private-sector sports teams and indifferent about the safety and comfort of the city’s school children. Link

No matter the efforts of the school system’s maintenance staff — and they’re struggling against leaky roofs, damp basements and broken air conditioning systems, among other problems — the city’s four dozen schools still need hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency, short- and long-term repairs and renovations and, in some cases, replacement. Link

Just when Richmond school leaders thought things couldn’t get worse, an unexpected discovery at one of the district’s largest high schools has left them scrambling to get repairs done. Link

Mayor Dwight C. Jones took issue with a report that Richmond Public Schools needs tens of millions of dollars for maintenance issues, saying the city has bigger school needs than leaky roofs and faulty air conditioners. Link

The Ashe Center does not have a functioning AC system and is available only when weather permits. Replacing four rooftop AC units is included on a new priority list from Richmond Public Schools, but several School Board members said the project would not be considered before work is complete in buildings that serve students. Link

Richmond Public Schools needs $35 million to address immediate operational and safety issues at 44 schools and other educational buildings across the city, according to a report prepared by the school system’s new chief of operations. Link

Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones still doesn’t have a firm lease commitment from the Flying Squirrels for a new baseball stadium proposed in Shockoe Bottom, but the team’s owners say they are making progress toward an agreement. Link

In a 2008 data review by University of Maryland and University of Alberta, researchers found that “sports subsidies cannot be justified on the grounds of local economic development.” In addition, a 2012 Bloomberg News analysis found that taxpayers have lost $4 billion on such subsidies since the mid-1980s. Link

For my money, Kanawha Plaza is in worse condition than Monroe Park, which has garnered far more attention amid a plan by the city to lease it to a nonprofit conservancy. A city shouldn’t have to relinquish control of its parks to maintain them. Link

Will it even be a market?

Like many city projects being planned, the proposal to turn the market site into a more versatile, open plaza was originally timed to be completed before Richmond hosts the UCI Road World Championships. Link