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October 2021 Issue

Message from President of GPRA

By Prudence Justis

Happy fall y’all!

I hope this message finds you well and enjoying the first few days of autumn. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve as president of the Ginter Park Residents Association for 2021.

This has been a challenging year for many. Through the difficult challenges of 2021 I’ve learned the importance of self-care and a solid support system. Taking care of oneself is as simple as getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, and having someone to talk to. We all face challenges and struggles but being able to talk about them and ask for help is crucial to survival.

I am blessed to be surrounded by such an amazing community. I live in the S2 district and have neighbors I know I can count on. We have two blocks of neighbors who are particularly close and stay connected. If someone needs something, we ask for it. Whether it’s an egg for a recipe or a call for prayers, we can count on one another.

The most important lesson I learned this year is to ask for what I need. My wish for each of you is the strength to ask for what you need. We are not just a resident’s association; we are a diverse community where we have more in common than not.

Yours in service,
Prudence Justis
GPRA president, 2021

Hear Your Delegate

Thursday, October 14, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

The GPRA will present a forum between the candidates for the 71st district in the House of Delegates via Zoom on Thursday, October 14 between 7:00 and 8:00 pm. The candidates are Jeff Bourne, incumbent, and Nancye Hunter. Secretary Margee Smither will send the link nearer to the event.

Northside Mural Coming

The Northside Mural, which was sparked by a conversation between a few Bellevue neighbors, will be created at the southwest corner of Bellevue Avenue and Brook Road, possibly by Thanksgiving. At the mural kickoff event, September 11, selected artist Ed Trask was introduced to the crowd and painted his first brush strokes on the brick wall.

The intention of the project is to create a narrative in mural form that represents the diverse and progressive Northside neighborhoods. Trask’s final design will be presented later.

The budget for the mural is $10,000; BCA has contributed $1,500; and there is a Go Fund Me site, https://www.gofundme.com/f/Brook-Rd-Mural

Beautification Team Plans Fall Projects

By Steve Welton and Susan Rebillot

The Beautification Committee, co-chaired by Steve Welton and Susan Rebillot, have announced their fall projects and work days:

  • Month of September: Weeding landscaped beds on Brook Road and Chamberlayne  and weeding and preparing targeted new beds on Brook,  individualized schedules.
  • October 16, 9:00 am-12:00 pm: Sprucing up Ginter Park Elementary School container gardens, weeding and preparing select new beds on Brook.   
  • October 23, 9:00 am-12:00 pm: Planting new shrubs and perennials in targeted Brook beds. 
  • November 6, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm:  Planting, mulching.
  • November 16, 9:00 am -12:00 pm:  Planting spring bulbs and mulching.
  • November 20, 9:00 am -12:00 pm:  Planting spring bulbs and mulching.

The committee was allotted $1,420 for fall planting. Their proposed expenses include mulch, daffodil and tulip bulbs, shrubs for the southern median marker on Chamberlayne, and perennials for Ginter Park Elementary School.

Would you like to join this fun-loving, hard-working team or volunteer for a work day? Would you like to adopt a Brook Road bed? Make a contribution to our spring bulb fund? Contact Steve and Susan at beautification@ginterpark.org.

District in Detail

Ginter Place, N-1

By Sally Brown

Life in North Ginter Park in the 1950’s through ’80’s was much like the life advertised in 1926. Residents tended to be professors, government employees and other white or blue collar workers. A few original owners were still in residence and told stories about the “old days” when one of the neighbors rented a horse-drawn hay wagon to give the neighborhood kids a tour of the area.

It was a friendly mix of people of all ages and at different stages in life. Some blocks were very sociable and had regular block parties. The 4500 block of both Seminaries joined together monthly around “burn barrels” in their shared alley.

By the late ‘70’s the properties around the exterior of the district had changed as traffic had increased. Grand houses on Chamberlayne had been sub-divided or razed as original owners moved. Developers jumped in and built the current multi-unit buildings we see today. The 5000 block of Brook Road changed from residential to commercial businesses.

There was a surge of families with children in the ‘80’s, but as they grew up, they were replaced by fewer and fewer families with children. Crime in Northside increased, and Chamberlayne Avenue became a major prostitution venue for the city.

In the mid-‘90’s, a group of residents, including Lois Sisk and Kim Lavach, led a dedicated campaign to increase the lighting on Chamberlayne Avenue and install lights in the alleys. After much effort, lighting was erected, and “Chamberlayne was so bright at night that you could read a book. “ This helped cut down on illegal night-time activity. The alley lights were, and still are, an effective crime deterrent. As crime decreased the neighborhood began to flourish again.

Today, the area is once again a magnet for families with children, as well as a diverse group of residents of all ages and backgrounds who appreciate the shaded streets, unique appearance of the houses and the friendly neighbors.

The traffic diverters on East and West Seminary Avenues at Watkins Road are a distinctive feature of the area. The diverters were added 25 years ago at the request of the N-1 residents and the GPRA. North-bound traffic used East Seminary as a direct cut-through to the Crestar bank on Azalea. Along with south-bound speeders on West Seminary, there were plans for a 24-hour hamburger chain on the Brook/Azalea corner, which promised heavy traffic down West Seminary. The diverters were installed by the city and planted by neighbors who raised the money for the bushes and trees. While the diverters may make navigation confusing, they provide protection from non-local traffic.

Today, the N1 district is a wonderful place to live. Neighbors walk their dogs, exercise, and work on their front gardens and lawns. Many have chairs out front to watch the world go by. One thing you can bet on—almost everyone you pass will call out a greeting.

Leaf Pick-up

Some Ginter Park trees are dropping their leaves already, some not until November or even December. Starting October 4 the city will pick up bagged leaves on normal trash collection days. For those who want vacuuming service for $30, requests to 3-1-1 will be filled starting November 1. See complete details online. Download Leaf Collection Flyer.

Three Farms Dot Area Landscape

Views of urban farms now punctuate the landscape of Laburnum Park and Ginter Park, often described as having the best of suburban and urban residential characteristics.

The most recent arrival is Brook Road Youth Farm, the creation of Duron Chavis, a nationally recognized leader in urban agriculture. The farm is located at the southeast corner of Brook and Walton on land leased by Ginter Park Presbyterian Church for this project.

Chavis, a Richmond native and graduate of Virginia State University, served on the Citizens’ Advisory Board to the Maggie L. Walker Initiative for Expanding Opportunity and Fighting Poverty and the Richmond Food Policy Task Force.

Duron hopes to instill in urban youth the love of gardening and what it can provide for their families and community.

Take a walk by to see the progress on this garden, which includes raised beds and an orchard. Drop by Thursday evenings at 5:00 pm to say “hello” and to volunteer. Bring tools for gardening and fence construction.

Although actually in Sherwood Park on the Westwood property, Shalom Farm Northside raises produce for Feedmore and food-insecure Richmond neighborhoods on land leased to them by Union Presbyterian Seminary. GPRA has supported Shalom Farms with donations, and nearby neighbors volunteer in the garden.

Bow Tide Farm is on the lot at Wilmington and Brook, which is owned by Eternity Church. Gardener Joe Jenkins raises produce for sale to restaurants and to neighbors via Community Supported Agriculture boxes. Jenkins hopes to demonstrate how many people can be fed the best quality produce from a small-space garden.

Hermitage Richmond Hosts Harvest Festival

Saturday, October 23, 1:00 to 5:00 pm

Hermitage Richmond will host a Harvest Festival on their front lawn, 1600 Westwood Avenue, Saturday, October 23, 1:00 to 5:00 pm. There will be a children’s costume contest at 3:00 pm. Hogweed, a blue grass band, Brunswick stew, food trucks and vendors. Rain date is October 30.

From the Board

Public Safety—The Board has received concerns from residents unable to connect to a dispatcher when calling 911 or the non-emergency number. Callers are reminded to stay on the line when dialing 911 and wait for a dispatcher to respond. Disconnecting the call and dialing the non-emergency line connects the caller to the same communications center, but non-emergency calls are not given the same priority as emergency calls. If your call is about an emergency, dial 911.

The police 911 issue was due to an overflow of calls that could not be handled because of a shortage of workers due to covid. If you are interested in applying go to: https://www.rva.gov/human-resources/employment.

Board Vacancies 2022

While most of the 2021 GPRA Board members have agreed to serve again in 2022, there are significant vacancies. Terms are from January to December, with board meetings every other month, usually the third Tuesday of the month.

Vacancies and their duties include:

Secretary: record and store minutes and votes of board, distribute agenda in advance of board meetings, may be asked to assist with correspondence

Member-at-large: represent the neighborhood as a whole, no specific area. Member may have particular skills that meet a need of the board.

Social: Supervise non fund-raising events such as porch parties, coffee gatherings, etc. to encourage a sense of community and increase membership.

Events: Overall supervision of heads of Holiday Party, Progressive Dinner, Home and Garden Tour, Picnic and Yard Sale.

Advertising: Recruit advertisers for GPRA communications and suggest advertising rates.

District Representatives

While District Representatives are not voting Board members, they are the vital link between the Board and specific areas within our borders. They also recruit and support block captains.

Current District Representative Vacancies Include:

S-2 Westwood to Ladies Mile, Chamberlayne to Moss Side

N-3 Triangle of Chamberlayne, North and Laburnum

If you are willing to volunteer for a position, contact President Prudence Justis at president@ginterpark.org.

Mark Your Calendar

November 16:  GPRA Board Meeting: and Chili Cookoff, a competition between the fire stations 14, 16 and the 4th police precinct.

December 11:  GPRA Holiday Open House

The COVID Pandemic Couldn’t Stop Us

The GPRA continued to work for YOU and the neighborhood.
  • Beautified our neighborhood
    • Weeded, trimmed and mulched 17 flower beds on Brook Road and two on Chamberlayne Avenue
    • Planted 95 trees by matching residents’ $25 donations for each tree
  • Made our neighborhood safer
    • Alerted RPD about prostitution and drug use in alleyways
    • Alerted city about large numbers of cars being stored on vacant business lot on Azalea Avenue
    • Advocated for residents petitions to City for traffic calming measures, which were approved
  • Amplified our voices
    • Joined other civic organizations in opposing a casino at Movieland
    • Introduced City Council and School Board candidates via Zoom
    • Demonstrated neighborhood interest in the fate of the park on Westwood—Yaupon Place
  • Helped residents
    • Donated $1,000 to the St Thomas’ food pantry
    • Helped a family have a holiday celebration
    • Organized Scene from the Street Stroll—a successful and family-friendly outdoor festival
    • Sponsored and publicized the yard sale for 35 participating residents
    • Launched a new, more user-friendly website with more features for members
    • Distributed 10 newsletters and used social media and eblasts to keep our neighborhood informed

Investing $35 in membership is an investment in Your Neighborhood. Join today.

Click Here to Pay Dues Online

Click Here to Pay Dues Easily Online

New Flags

By Maggie Stewart

A new festive garden flag will be available this year. The new design by Ginter Park native Laura Murdoch-Kitt Clatterbuck features an applique image and comes in two sizes. We have contracted for the small garden size and, new this year, per your request, the house size flag that flies on a flag pole.

Our prices will be $17 for the garden flag and $40 for the house-size flag. Flags are in stock and ready for purchase!

Or, click on the form below to print and mail your order with check (or pay by Venmo).

Historic Plaques

Plaques take 4 to 8 weeks to deliver depending on engraver’s schedule.

ORDER YOUR PLAQUE TODAY! We have available Ginter Park Historic District, Queen of the Suburbs, as well as Laburnum Park Historic District. If you are struggling with your date, please reach out as we may have a historian who can help!

RVA311

Need to Request a City Service?

The quickest way to report a city customer service request or delivery of service is to use Richmond’s online web portal, rva311.com. Log in to create your account and follow the prompts to have any of these issues addressed, among others:

  • Potholes
  • Trees
  • Trash and solid waste
  • Streetlights
  • Abandoned vehicles
  • Storm drains
  • Illegal dumping
  • Code violations
You can also use the rva311.com mobile app to report your issues. Download the app from Google Play, or the Apple Store.

Ginter Park Welcome Committee

The Ginter Park Welcome Committee appreciates the local merchants who have generously contributed to our new-neighbor welcome bags.

If you’d like to notify us of new neighbors to welcome, please send an email containing their name and address to: welcome@ginterpark.org

GPRA

Newsletter produced by:

Ginter Park Residents Association

Post Office Box 25374
Richmond, Virginia 23260-5374

Published monthly except
January and August

Advertising and copy deadline is the second weekend of each month. Send comments, corrections and articles to the address above, attention: Editorial Committee.


Board, Committee Members and
District Representatives

President

Prudence Justis:
president@ginterpark.org

Vice President

Julianne Condrey:
vp@ginterpark.org

Secretary

Margee Smither:
secretary@ginterpark.org

Treasurer

Julie O’Kelly:
treasurer@ginterpark.org

Past President

Norma Murdoch-Kitt:
pastpresident@ginterpark.org

Members-at-large

Open
Shawn Smith:
membersatlarge@ginterpark.org

Ways and Means Committee Chair

Kathie Avery:
finance@ginterpark.org

Communications

Susan Rebillot:
communications@ginterpark.org

Beautification Committee

Co-chairs Steve Welton and Susan Rebillot
beautification@ginterpark.org

Membership

Open

Planning and Zoning

Stephen Weisensale:
zoning@ginterpark.org

Social Chair

Maggie Stewart:
social@ginterpark.org

Public Safety Committee

Rob Smith, III
safety@ginterpark.org

Welcome

Susie Burtch:
membership_welcome@ginterpark.org

Newsletter Editor

Anne Thorn: 804-353-9363 newslettereditor@ginterpark.org

Advertising

Open:
advertising@ginterpark.org

District Representatives

District Rep Chairs:
John Marriner and Sidney Bland
districtrepchair@ginterpark.org
N1 Sally Brown:
districtrepsnorth@ginterpark.org
N2 Monica Murphy:
districtrepsnorth@ginterpark.org
N3 Trevor Dickerson:
districtrepsnorth@ginterpark.org
E1 Gwen Davis:
districtrepseast@ginterpark.org
E2 Jessica Rexroat:
districtrepseast@ginterpark.org
S1 Mark Clark:
districtrepssouth@ginterpark.org
S2 David Lamson-Keene:
districtrepssouth@ginterpark.org
W1 Sidney Bland:
districtrepswest@ginterpark.org
W2 John Marriner:
districtrepswest@ginterpark.org
W3 David Karns:
districtrepswest@ginterpark.org

View detailed map of the GPRA Districts
Visit our website at www.ginterpark.org

Advertising and copy deadline is the second weekend of each month. Send comments, corrections and articles to:

Editorial Committee
Post Office Box 25374
Richmond, VA 23260

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