February 2023 Issue

In This Issue


Celebrate Black History Month

Celebrate Black History Month in the Richmond Region

Black History Month at VMFA

Here’s How To Explore Black History In Richmond, Virginia

Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia

Board Meetings 2023

Your Ginter Park Board meets every other month on the second Tuesday at 6:30 pm. Meetings are held at St. Paul’s Catholic Church Fellowship Hall, 909 Rennie Avenue. You are welcome to attend and observe as a guest. If you would like an item added to the agenda, please email Melody Imburg, President, at at least 10 days prior to the meeting.

  • March 14; 6:30 – 8:00pm
  • May 9; 6:30 – 8:00pm
  • July 11; 6:30 – 8:00pm
  • September 12; 6:30 - 8:00pm

We will also be offering General Membership Meetings with guest speakers on topics important to you.

Hermitage/Laburnum Intersection

(former site of A.P. Hill)

By Jon Oliver, Traffic Safety Committee Chair

I attended the 3rd Council District meeting on 1/24, and the City's Department of Public Works (DPW) director provided a few updates. You may have already noticed that each approach on Laburnum has been recently restriped to remove the "shift" to you used to have to do to avoid the monument so that movements are more direct. There are no funded improvements or project currently slated for this intersection. DPW plans to begin a study in 2023 to consider what modifications should be made now that the monument is gone. One item of note, City Council passed a 2009 resolution to prohibit a roundabout at this intersection. Council must first take action to revoke that resolution so that a roundabout can be one of the options the City will consider at this intersection. In the meantime, DPW will monitor safety at the intersection and stated they may consider restricting left turns in the more immediate future. Until then, while everyone gets used to the new intersection configuration, please slow down and drive safely.

Crosswalk Signal at Linwood Holton

By Jon Oliver

You may have noticed some recent construction activities at the corner of Monticello Avenue and Laburnum Avenue in front of Linwood Holton Elementary. This is the City's project to install a PHB (Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon—also sometimes referred to as a "HAWK" signal) at this intersection to provide a safer pedestrian crossing of Laburnum Avenue.

The pedestrian push button will actually generate a red light to stop vehicles so that pedestrians can safely cross. One was recently completed on Broad Street at I-95 near VCU Health. There will probably be a learning curve for drivers and pedestrians alike, as this type of signal is still new to the city. As always, please be careful!
(Click image to enlarge and print)

Laburnum Parking Improvements

By Jon Oliver

Department of Public Works has a project currently in design that is intended to provide parking lanes on Laburnum Avenue that are actually wide enough to fit a car within (8' wide, as opposed to the 5-6' wide current lane ). The project started as a request by homeowners on Laburnum Avenue after multiple incidents where traveling vehicles struck their parked vehicles.

The current plan is to narrow the existing median by a few feet, keep the travel lanes the same width, and shift them to the inside to create more room for parking. Existing trees would be removed and replaced later by the City Arborist.

DPW Director Bobby Vincent stated that the project is currently not fully funded and won't be constructed until 2026 at the earliest.

We are working closely with the Bellevue and Rosedale civic associations, who border the project area, to make sure this project can also address the speeding concerns of many of us. We'll be distributing a survey in the coming months to Northside residents to solicit feedback on the corridor and the project.

While we all obviously want to preserve every tree, reduce speeding, and allow safe parking, I urge everyone to consider that every project has trade-offs. The survey is your chance to consider which factors are most important to you, but also the residents of Laburnum Avenue..

Please take this multi-neighborhood survey regarding Laburnum Avenue Parking Improvements and the Hermitage-Laburnum Avenue Intersection. One response per household, please. Deadline is February 6.


Coalition at Work

The Sum is (Often) Greater than Its Parts

by Randee Humphrey

Over the past several months, seven civic associations (Bellevue, Edgehill-Chamberlayne Court, Ginter Park, Hermitage Road Historic District, Jackson Ward, Rosedale, and Sherwood Park) have found common ground around various neighborhood concerns.

Together this loosely formed Northside Coalition of Civic/Neighborhood Associations has proactively organized public informational meetings and coordinated follow-up communication with the city and its public and private partners. The coalition’s aim is to encourage collaborative community engagement in civic affairs, recognizing that there is a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and lived experience right here, among neighbors, friends, and colleagues.

We strive for positive input and outcomes that improve everyone’s quality of life and property investment. Below are a few examples of recent coalition activities.

  • Hosted a community meeting on September 19, to learn more about the Fall Line Trail section through the City of Richmond and completed a survey of residents to ascertain key concerns that can help shape the design of the trail. The results of the survey were detailed in an email to City planning officials, City Council representatives, Richmond Sports Backers, and Virginia Delegates Carr and Bourne. Results of the survey may be found at 
  • Hosted a community meeting on October 10 to learn more about the RVA Diamond Partners conceptual plan for the 67-acre Diamond District mixed use development. The Coalition sent a follow-up letter on October 14 to City planning officials and the RVA Diamond Partners team about a continued commitment to public engagement as the planning and design of Phase 1 of the development moves forward. Watch for announcements of additional Coalition public meetings for Northsiders at
  • Sent a letter on December 15 to City Council members Jordan and Lambert about the Capital Improvement Plan budget priorities for their districts. We asked that projects involving lane widenings/alterations, intersection restructurings, historic designations, and any projects that will impact our neighborhoods be put through a sincere and rigorous public engagement process.
  • Hosted a Zoom meeting on December 12 to learn more about the Trinsic Residential Group’s plan for a five story 375-unit apartment complex on the Quality Inn site at 3207 North Arthur Ashe Blvd. A follow-up letter January 16 to the developer summarized the chief concerns of neighborhood residents, including placement of the single entrance/exit on Hermitage Road; lack of retail/restaurant space; mass, scale, materials, design not compatible with the adjacent neighborhoods, a Richmond 300 principle.
  • Civic association leaders participated in two walk-throughs of the Thirteen Acres historic property on January 10 and 11, hosted by the Hermitage Road Historic District for City officials, City Council members, School Board members, and leaders of historic preservation agencies. The Hermitage Road Historic District Association is taking the lead on advocacy for preserving and possibly relocating the structure, once the School Board and the City resolve the transfer of ownership issues. See

Connectors Needed

by Prudence Justis

Because Ginter Park covers such a large geographic area, our goal is to connect with each resident within the GPRA boundaries. Until our membership is 100%, we rely on personal connection.

If you are a member of GPRA, we can easily communicate via email. Otherwise, we depend on our electronic newsletter distribution, website, Facebook, Instagram and word of mouth. We strive to reach every resident in each of the 10 districts, but we need your help to connect with your neighbors.

Each district contains several blocks and is headed by a District Representative. Each block is headed by a block captain. The district rep communicates with each block captain to disseminate information quickly and easily. Information from each block can then be sent to the block captain, who reports to the district rep. Information like safety, road, sidewalk, and city tree concerns can then be shared with the GPRA board for resolution.

If you are interested in building community, staying connected, and being a block captain or district rep, please contact me.

GPRA District Rep/Block Captain Coordinator
Prudence Justis 804-837-6051

Crime, Traffic, Shelter Reports

Councilwoman Ann-Frances Lambert’s District 3 meeting on January 24 included reports relevant to Ginter Park.

by Susan Rebillot, Communications

From RPD Chief Rick Edwards and Lt. Robert Fleming

  • Police strategy has focused on indicators of potential gun violence and developed a “hot-spot curve.” Officers are deployed to the hot-spots and walk the areas for 10 to 15 minutes at a time for visibility and observations. Three identified hot-spots in Ginter Park are: the area of W. and E. Seminary near Azalea and Chamberlayne; adjacent to the North Avenue Pizza Grill and Deli; and the area of Brookland Park Boulevard and Chamberlayne Avenue.
  • There is an Enhanced Speeding Fine Zone on Laburnum Avenue, from the Rosedale neighborhood through Ginter Park to the Henrico County line, and RPD are writing summons.
  • Violations of the noise ordinance are civil violations, and RPD had to seek approval to give a civil summons, as opposed to a criminal summons, in order to cite violators.
  • Chief Rick Edwards may be reached at or 804-646-6700.

From Bobby Vincent, Director of Public Works

  • Ed Note: See articles on Laburnum Avenue Widening and Hermitage/Laburnum intersection.
  • Referring to neighborhood traffic management, Mr. Vincent does not favor more speed tables. He favors Vision 0 strategies: lower speed limits, surveillance cameras, improved pedestrian crossings, and bump-outs and added parking to narrow roadways. He stated that priority action and funding goes to those intersections with the highest loss of life statistics.
  • Contact him at for follow-up questions and comments.

On Homeless Shelters from Jay Brown, Commonwealth Catholic Charities

  • The current Northside shelter is at 1900 Chamberlayne Avenue, operated in partnership with the Salvation Army. Operating hours and services on-site have been increased to include two meals and increased case management. There are only 60 individual shelter bed for men and women, but there are 185 unhoused individuals on the city streets nightly.

On a Casino

  • The City Council and City position is that they support a new casino referendum and a casino in the City of Richmond for the revenues. Communicate your position to legislators and City Council.

Legislative Toolkit: watch for this resource to be embedded in a Resource/ Commonwealth of Virginia page on the website to make contacting your legislators easier.

General Assembly Bill

By Stephen Weisensale
GPRA Planning and Zoning Chair

Interested in the affordable housing crisis in our city and state? The following may be of interest to you.

SENATE BILL NO. 1141) greatly expands the ability of all Virginia localities to establish requirements for expanding the development of affordable housing, including the authority to require affordable housing units in other-wise “market rate” developments in order to include such housing in areas that do not have any. Note items 1 and 7.

Bill link: Bill Tracking - 2023 session > Legislation (

The specific tools noted in the Bill include the following:

  1. Lot size reductions, diotemensional and form modifications, or floor area ratio increases for the production of affordable housing units, or any combination thereof;
  2. Contribution to a local housing trust fund in lieu of construction of affordable housing units;
  3. Accessory housing unit allowances;
  4. Required set-asides for affordable housing units in market-rate development, provided that required set-asides for market housing units in affordable tax-credit development are also provided, up to a maximum ratio, so as to prevent concentrations of areas with affordable housing or areas with no affordable housing;
  5. Housing inspection programs designed to ensure the quality and safety of affordable housing constructed in accordance with the locality's comprehensive plan;
  6. Design control, including prohibiting the use of specific building materials, even if such materials are permitted under the Uniform Statewide Building Code, on affordable housing, constructed in accordance with the locality's comprehensive plan;
  7. Allowance of duplexes, triplexes, and quadruplexes in areas with primarily single-family detached homes for the purpose of providing affordable housing and creating mixed-income homeownership options;
  8. Allowance of conversion of office, light industrial, and commercial space to multifamily use;
  9. Encouragement of transit-oriented development;
  10. Provision of financial incentives or removal of financial disincentives to promote development of new affordable housing where such development would not otherwise occur under existing conditions; and
  11. Other policies, measures, or tools that are materially similar to those listed in this section and that have a positive impact on the production and maintenance of affordable housing units.

The Bill does not compel localities to use all of these tools, but allows each localities to use those that best serve their housing needs.

Additionally, the Bill requires localities to establish a citizen advisory group, should the elect to pursue these measures:

Localities adopting such ordinances on or after July 1, 2023, shall, in developing and adopting such housing programs, create an advisory committee and actively seek input from citizens, developers of residential and mixed-use property, real estate professionals, historic preservation professionals, redevelopment and housing professionals and advocates, planners, urban design professionals, and finance professionals.

This General Assembly session is abbreviated, so if you wish to act, send emails to Senators Ghazala Hashmi and Jenn McClellan.

Senator Jennifer L. McClellan (D) 9th District Senator
Legislative Aide: Maryn Wood
Office: 804-698-7509

Ghazala Hashmi (D) 10th District
Legislative Aide: June Laffey
 Office: 804-698-7510

New Public Safety Chair

Participating in the Richmond Police Department Citizens Academy and a ride-along with an officer has prepared Mary Ann Batsche for her position as GPRA Public Safety Chair. The Batsches moved from Fredericksburg to Ginter Park six years ago. But Mary Ann still works there as Director of Communications and Community Outreach Coordinator for Mary Washington Healthcare, as she has for 17 years.

Husband Stephen is the Executive Director of the Salvation Army of Central Virginia. The Batsches enjoy traveling, camping, hiking, mountain biking and attending music festivals.

In a new sub-committee under Mary Ann, Jon Oliver has been appointed Traffic Safety Chair. As an engineer with experience in road design and traffic engineering, he will be involved in discussions with the city about the Hermitage/Laburnum intersection plans and the reduction of the median width on Laburnum.

Jon says,” In the limited funding environment that City Hall operates in, I plan to prioritize and focus our needs on practical and implementable solutions that best serve all of Ginter Park's residents.If you see any issues in your block or other areas of concern, please let me know at If we can get even a few simple changes made, then we have made Ginter Park a safer place to walk, bike, and drive!”

Jon plans a meeting in February on traffic issues, so contact him at the above address if you are interested.

Gracie Award Winner Honored at
Holiday Mingle and Jingle

By Susan Rebillot

Former Laburnum Park homeowner of more than 30 years, Gwen Corley Creighton, was awarded the 2022 Grace Arents Benefactor Award, known as “the Gracie,” at the GPRA annual holiday party, December 10, 2022.

Gwen’s friend and former neighbor, Jill Dimitri, recounted Gwen’s remarkable work to effect the change in the name of the avenue once called Confederate Avenue, to Laburnum Park Boulevard. Gwen’s work spanned nearly two years and required engaging her neighbors, achieving consensus, and navigating city processes and approvals.

Gwen was presented with a framed Eliza Askin print of art by then-GPRA President, Susan Rebillot. She then spoke eloquently of her personal history and the significance of the name change of the avenue for her, for the neighborhood, and for Richmonders. The presentation and Gwen’s and her family’s presence added to the celebratory mood of the evening.

Ginter Park Chronology

By Anne Thorn

The recent GPRA survey revealed an interest by newsletter readers in Ginter Park history.

Perhaps the best starting point is the different stages in its early history.

Lewis Ginter started amassing Henrico County property east of Brook Turnpike from 1890 until his death in October, 1897. Other than the Union Theological Seminary buildings, only about 12 structures in historic Ginter Park remain from this period.

To the east of Ginter’s holdings lay the estate of Luther Wright, Hood’s Nursery and the already growing suburbs of Barton Heights and Highland Park. To the south was Hammond’s nursery with greenhouses for a thriving cut-flower business.

Deeds on Ginter’s property sold from 1897-1906 would be labeled “from the estate of Lewis Ginter”.

The Lewis Ginter Land and Improvement Company was created by his heirs to carry out Ginter’s plan of suburban development for upper middle class Richmonders. It was incorporated in 1901, but the company did not begin aggressive marketing and use of the Ginter Park name until 1906.

The affluent suburban residents organized to voice their requests to the primarily rural Henrico County and to the LGLI Company by creating the Ginter Park Residents Association in 1909.

More formal organization and the ability to tax themselves and sell bonds came in January 1913, when they became a township within Henrico.

An annexation lawsuit to expand Richmond’s borders resulted in Ginter Park becoming part of the city in late 1914.

Calling 911

Following multiple complaints from Ginter Parkers regarding issues with 911 calls, GPRA reached out to the Department of Emergency Communications (DEC) for a discussion.

Here are highlights of the discussion:

  1. To file a complaint about a 911 call, if the event is over, please call 804-646-5911 with all of the details about the initial call. If the event is still in progress, call 804-646-5100 and ask to speak to the on-duty communications supervisor.
  2. Stay on the line until the call is answered. Do not hang up, even if you call by mistake, or even when it is taking a while to get an answer. Call volume may be high.
  3. Dos and Don’ts about calling and texting 911, as well as videos for adults and children, are here:

GPRA Calendar

What’s Happening in the Neighborhood?

Tuesday, March 14, Board Meeting


2021 Edition Flags

By Maggie Stewart

Colorful Ginter Park flags, designed by native, Laura Murdoch-Kitt Clatterbuck, are on sale now! Both garden-size and large house flags that are hung from a flag pole are available. Spring is coming-add some color to your house and garden, and show your sense of pride in Ginter Park!

Purchase flags at Maggie Stewart coordinates delivery of flags to buyers.

Garden flag, now $12; House flag, $30.


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, 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 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:


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


Melody Imburg:

Vice President

Norma Murdoch-Kitt:


Robyn Bridges:


Julie O’Kelly:

Past President

Susan Rebillot:


Candace Blydenburgh
Shawn Smith


Susan Rebillot:


Carrie Vuori:

Planning and Zoning

Stephen Weisensale:

Events/Social Co-Chairs

Melissa Oefelem:
Prudence Justis:

Public Safety Committee

Mary Ann Batsche:
Traffic Safety Subcommittee Chair
Jonathan Oliver


Susie Burtch

Newsletter Editor

Anne Thorn:


Dave Foster:

District Representatives

District Rep Chairs:
Prudence Justis:
N1 Sally Brown:
N2 Open:
N3 Open:
E1 Leslee Oliver:
E2 Matt Benson:
S1 Harry Chargois:
S2 Sarah Bergh:
W1 Sidney Bland:
W2 John Marriner:
W3 Becca Rosner:

View detailed map of the GPRA Districts
Visit our website at

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

Copyright © 2023 Ginter Park Residents Association, All rights reserved.

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