Message from President of GPRA
By Prudence Justis
October flew by in a blink of an eye. I hope everyone enjoyed the fall decorations and all the ghosts and goblins on Halloween. The weather could not have been better. Thank you to all the neighbors who participated in the game of BOO! We'll have more fun in the coming months.
November brings us closer to the holidays and hopefully closer to our loved ones. I hope you will join us for our annual membership meeting, election and chili cook off on Tuesday, November 16. We have some amazing neighbors who have stepped up to volunteer on the GPRA board. Please let me know if you are interested in helping out in 2022.
We are working on a fun holiday event in December so please stay tuned. Until then, we are glad you are here and look forward to getting to know you better.
I'm always on the move but never too busy for you!
Yours in service,
GPRA president, 2021
Annual Membership Meeting
Come One, Come All!
Tuesday, November 16, 6:30 to 8:00 pm
Fellowship Hall, St. Paul’s Catholic Church, 909 Rennie Avenue
Finally, the COVID positivity rate has decreased to around 5%, vaccinations are up, and GPRA is resuming in-person gatherings. We are grateful!
The Annual Membership Meeting and Board Election will be held Tuesday, November 16, 6:30 to 8:00 pm, in the Fellowship Hall, St. Paul’s Catholic Church, 909 Rennie Avenue. The hall is in a separate, one-story building, adjacent to the parking lot, and is fully accessible.
All are welcome- come and meet your neighbors and GPRA volunteers. We will provide a Zoom link prior to the meeting date for those who cannot attend the in-person meeting.
The meeting will feature:
- Chili from four local restaurants, provided by GPRA! Please bring accompaniments to share, such as corn chips and guacamole, cornbread, garlic bread, a salad, whatever you would like to share! GPRA will provide water and iced tea.
- District 3 Councilwoman Anne-Frances Lambert and District 2 Councilwoman Katherine Jordan have been invited to speak about City Council 2021 accomplishments and the plans for the American Rescue Plan Act funds.
- We have invited RPD and Richmond Firefighters leadership.
- Election of the GPRA Board for 2022.
Nominees for 2022
The following have been nominated for leadership positions of the GPRA for 2022. If you are interested in any of the unfilled positions, contact Prudence Justis at email@example.com.
|President | Prudence Justis
Prudence returned to Ginter Park five years ago after growing up on Moss Side Avenue in the 80's. She is a residential realtor, active Rotarian and previous GPRA board member serving as advertising and social chair. Her husband, Paul Curley, is an attorney and between them they have three children, two dogs, a rabbit, a chinchilla, and a Covid Cat. She enjoys riding her bicycle, live music and spending time with family, friends and neighbors.
Vice-President | Susan Rebillot
With 34 years of experience living in an historic district in St. Petersburg, FL, Susan and husband John are familiar with the needs and life within a neighborhood similar to Ginter Park. Susan served in a variety of board and committee chair roles over a 30 year period for the civic association in her previous neighborhood. In her profession, Clinical Social Work, Susan led and managed teams of professionals in a variety of organizations.
In her six years in Ginter Park, Susan has served on the GPRA Board as district representative, beautification committee co-chair, and chair of the yet-to-come House and Garden tour. Yet even in the pandemic year, she successfully led the yard sale and Scene from the Street Garden Stroll. Susan is currently Communications chair, managing the website, social media, newsletter production, and other communication for GPRA.
“Serving the Ginter Park community is a way for me to have meaningful work post-retirement, to make a contribution, and to connect with people.”
Treasurer | Julie O’Kelly
Julie and her late husband moved from Church Hill to their Noble Avenue home in 2010. A Radford native, she has lived in various Richmond neighborhoods since the ’70s.
Julie is currently the fiscal officer at the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners (state agency that administers the bar exam) and has her eyes set on retirement at the end of 2022. Julie also owns Jewels Properties, LLC, a property management company in Church Hill.
Julie loves live music and is delighted that music venues are back. She also enjoys hosting house concerts for small traveling or local recording artists. When not working or hosting events, Julie enjoys family, friends and podcasts.
Secretary | Open Position
Member-at-Large | Shawn Smith
Beekeeping and beer brewing are among the hobbies of Shawn Smith, who was District Representative for E-2 in 2019.
She is retired from the state, but now has a small business with a friend flipping houses. Her wife, Karen Bernhard, works in Mexico City for CitiBanamex as chief data officer.
Member-at-Large | Candace Blydenburgh
Candace has resided in Ginter Park since the summer of 2019; but she is not new to either the Northside or the Richmond area. She first moved to Northside in 2004 and lived in Battery Park for seven years.
She came to the Richmond area in 1996 after graduating from UVA Law School. Currently, she practices law with McGuireWoods LLP. In addition to being a partner, she is a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, bestie, friend, occasional foe and godmother of a ton of youngins.
Past-President | Norma Murdoch-Kitt
Norma and her husband Jonathan have lived in Ginter Park since 1977. They have four grown children and five grandchildren. Since creation of the present-day GPRA in 1978, she has served on the board almost half of the intervening years in leadership capacities.
Norma is a clinical psychologist with specialties in depression and trauma. Her private practice on Westwood Avenue is in the same building where Jonathan has his law practice, specializing in divorce and personal injury.
Norma has also been on the faculties of William and Mary and VCU Medical School. She has served on numerous boards of philanthropies and has been president of the Richmond Academy of Clinical Psychologists and the Virginia Psychology Association. She served on the Richmond School Board for 4 years. Recently, Governor Northam appointed her to the Virginia Board of Psychology.
STANDING COMMITTEE CHAIRS
Finance | Kathie Avery
Kathie is a Richmonder who has lived in Ginter Park for over six years. She is an accountant with Lewis Media Partners. Her husband, Kendall Avery, is a financial advisor with Oppenheimer and Company. Their grown children are Morgan, living in Richmond, and Wyatt, living in New York City.
Kathie enjoys volunteering at The Hermitage Senior Living, playing tennis, gardening, re-purposing furniture, and spending relaxing weekends at the river.
Public Safety | Rob Smith III
As Public Safety chair Rob Smith III is the link of direct communication between our area and the Richmond Police Department. During college he served as liaison between the student government and law enforcement.
Rob, wife, Jess, and young son, Overton, became new homeowners in 2015 in the 3800 block of Brook Road. Jess grew up in Bellevue, while Rob comes from the near West End.
As for hobbies, Rob reveals, “I enjoy outdoor activities such as backpacking, camping, and cycling, and I actively pursue interests in music (I play multiple instruments and have an ever growing record collection), gardening vegetables (especially hot peppers), and grilling on my Big Green Egg.”
Social | Open Position
Membership | Judy Gail Johnson
Judy Gail Johnson is a native of Richmond and a retired school teacher. She holds a bachelors in English from North Carolina Wesleyan College and a masters in English/Education from VCU.
She has served on the Instructional Resource and Development Center Advisory Board for Richmond Public Schools and was faculty advisor for the National Scholars Program 2004-2005. Teaching for Gov. Baliles’ Reading Incentive Program for the Department of Corrections’ Adult Education Program (1988-1990) was a highlight in her teaching career.
As Membership chair, she feels, “Since I have been a resident of Ginter Park for more years than I care to admit, serving on this committee will enable me to strengthen the substance of a neighborhood that is dear to my heart!”
Communications | Susan Rebillot
Planning and Zoning | Stephen Weisensale
As chair of this committee for nearly six years, Stephen has worked with the City Planning office on many issues, including bike lanes, infrastructure maintenance, and land use. In the past, he worked with adjacent civic associations and institutions discussing the Westwood tract and potential traffic problems.
An architect and senior associate with Commonwealth Architects of Richmond, Stephen cites his hobbies as gardening, BEER, and museums. His wife of 25 years, Sheila, was previous GPRA secretary and is a software trainer and floral artist. They have been residents of Ginter Park since 1999.
District N-1 | Sally Brown
(Azalea to Westminster, Brook to Chamberlayne)
A native of Baltimore, Sally Brown has lived in Richmond since her college years. She moved to Ginter Park 12 years ago with her son and her partner Kathy Johnson. After an 18 year career as an IT Systems Analyst at Capital One, she took early retirement. Her many interests include yoga, flatwater kayaking, photography, and puzzles of all kinds.
Much of her time is spent with animals. She was a cat foster for the Henrico Humane Society for many years and spent weekends in PetSmart and in front of grocery stores coordinating adoptions and educating people about spay/neuter. She currently volunteers in the barn at Maymont, and is an avid bird-watcher. Sally can be spotted every day walking her beagle-basset hounds around our area.
District N-2 | Open Position
(Westminster to Laburnum, Brook to Chamberlayne)
District N-3 | Open Position
(Triangle of North, Laburnum, Chamberlayne)
District E-1 | Gwen Davis
(Laburnum to Westwood, Chamberlayne to Moss Side)
Gwen Davis has lived in Ginter Park with her family since 2007. As an interior designer by training, Gwen and her husband Alan, an architect with Baskervill, appreciate the history and charm of the neighborhood. They have two children at Veritas and a freshman at James Madison University. Their cat, Caspian, and chocolate lab, Winchester, round out the family.
Gwen enjoys cooking, gardening, walking and sailing. “I’m especially excited about volunteering at Northside’s newest school, Imago Dei Neighborhood School, which opened this fall for pre-k through 2nd grade.”
District E-2 | Jessica Rexroat
(Laburnum to Ladies Mile, Moss Side to Edgewood)
An Army brat born in Alaska, Jessica has spent most of her life on the East Coast. With a master’s in Criminology, she first started working at the Dept. of Justice, but soon moved into IT sales and staffing.
She lives with her partner of 8 years, Teighlor O'Neill, a Talent Acquisition Specialist for VCU Health, and their cat Kevin.
Jessica enjoys playing soccer, reading, board games, retro video games, and personal finance.
District S-1 | Maggie Stewart
(Laburnum to Brookland Park Boulevard, Brook to Chamberlayne)
Maggie moved into her Seminary Avenue house in 2013. She “loves to take on a project”, so she first volunteered as GPRA Membership chair in 2018, which she continued for 3 years. At the same time she organized the neighborhood Progressive Dinners, and most recently, headed the campaigns to purchase historic house plaques and flags.
An avid vegetable gardener, Maggie shares her cottage with three cats, two dogs, and Mark Clark.
District S-2 | Open Position
(Westwood to Ladies Mile, Chamberlayne to Moss Side)
District W-1 | Sidney Bland
(Laburnum to Westwood, Hermitage to Gloucester)
Sidney Bland and her lawyer husband, Dicky, have lived in Ginter Park 34 years, although their two grown children have “flown the nest”. Sidney previously worked at MCV as a medical technologist but now enjoys travel, working out, yoga and volunteering.
She has been a block captain and district rep for many years. She and Dicky love taking long walks through the beautiful neighborhood!
District W-2 | John Marriner
(Laburnum to Westwood, Gloucester to Brook)
John has been in Richmond for six years. He moved from Atlanta after a career of 30 years in local government as Affirmative Action Officer and Pension Plan Administrator. He also served on the research staff and as personnel consultant at the Univ. of Maine, where he received his BA and MBA.
John and his wife, Ann Foster, have a daughter, son-in-law and 4-year old granddaughter, Maggie, who live in Bellevue.
John has served 36 years in three Rotary Clubs. He was also president and board member of a neighborhood association in midtown Atlanta. For 40 years he was a volunteer navigator/advocate for the homeless and disabled.
District W-3 | David Karns
A fan of the University of Michigan, where he received his A.B. and Ph.D., David has worked at Wright State Univ., Northern Illinois Univ., Univ. of Iowa, Cornell and Paul Smiths College. He retired two years ago from twenty years at the Smithsonian Institution doing management studies and surveys dealing with employees and audiences.
His wife, Cathy, works for the Virginia Department of Education. Son Paul and granddaughter Anna live in Ginter Park, and daughter Dawn attends Ohio University.
David’s interests include statistics and demographic trend watching, cooking, reading, skiing, and occasional travel.
Events | Open Position
Advertising | Open Position
Welcome | Susie Burtch
Newsletter | Anne Thorn
Ginter Park Elementary Needs Help
Virtual volunteers are needed to assist Kindergarten to 2nd grade students with their literacy reading skills. From your home, you would meet virtually with selected students during their language arts/ reading session on Goggle Classroom or Google meet. The school will provide volunteers with literacy materials to work with the students.
If you are interested in volunteering virtually, please email Krystle Cook directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 804-780-8193.
The school also needs:
- Children’s reusable cloth masks.
- Boys’ shirts, pants, and new underwear, sizes XS to XL.
- Girls’ new underwear, sizes XS to XL.
- Donations for Thanksgiving food baskets and Angel Trees.
Halloween Block Party a Blast!
Neighbors David Phelps and Erin Brooks organized a Halloween Block Party in the 4500 block of West Seminary Avenue, which brought about 70 neighbors together from this northern district of our neighborhood on October 23.
Ghosts flew over the avenue. There were werewolves, dinosaurs, a Dracula, a Peanut M & M bag, a giant spider’s web, and more! Slideways Food Truck provided savories, and neighbors brought sweets. Young families strolled; beloved dogs were included; and children decorated pumpkins and played games. It was a diverse crowd of neighbors-some newly moved-in neighbors, some neighbors of many years, young families, young seniors! This block party was a blast!
Laburnum Park Greenspaces
The medians in the Laburnum Park Historic District are extremely rare among Richmond streetscapes. They were laid out as the Bryan family developed their former estate in 1913, before annexation to the city.
The park-like, shaded greenspaces are ideal for strolling and gatherings of neighbors for block parties. Trees and fencing moderate traffic speed.
But medians shouldn’t be abused by residents or their lawn services.
- Please don’t dump unsightly branches or leaf piles in the medians. Lingering cover kills grass.
- Pick up after your dog so that all can enjoy walking.
- Keep vehicles off medians to avoid creating ruts and destroying grass,
- This year 18 young trees were planted by the city but purchased by homeowners, donors and GPRA. They need watering April through October.
Thank you, good neighbors!
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.
Median Beds Ready for 2022
Twenty-one landscaped median beds on Chamberlayne and Brook show the results of recent work by the Beautification Team. The Chamberlayne/Ladies Mile bed was given a total facelift, thanks to Steve Welton and team. The Brook Road beds, from Brookland Parkway to the 4200 block, were weeded, mulched and given some new plants.
Landon Woody and friend added colorful perennials and annuals to the garden at Ginter Park Elementary School and mulched the 5 trees planted in 2019. They also created a new, circular garden bed to honor a teacher who died recently.
The Beautification Team, born in 2017, has grown to 13 hard-working, fun-loving members plus occasional volunteers, who take great pleasure in enhancing the appearance of Ginter Park corridors. Funds for their 2021 projects were allocated by the GPRA Board, with most provided by the Garden Stroll proceeds.
Beginning November 6, the Team will return to pop in hundreds of spring bulbs for a colorful display of daffodils and tulips. Contact Susan at email@example.com or 804-367-4529 to join us for bulb-planting or with questions/comments.
Thank you to the Team:
Stephen Weisensale, Robyn Houser Bridges, Sarah and Ben Bettinger, Laura Sims, Selley Kathie Avery, Lisa Forcke, Landon Woody, Lilli Benko, Daniel Lawrence, Erin Brooks, Chandler Tyler.
Co-Chair, Steve Welton
Co-Chair, Susan Rebillot
Thank you to plant and bulb donors Randee Humphrey, Sandra Anderson, and Laura Sims Selley.
The Ginter Park Show is BACK!
Saturday, December 4, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Lewis Ginter Recreational Association Center, 3421 Hawthorne Avenue
Ginter Park’s annual arts and crafts show returns Saturday, December 4 from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm at the Lewis Ginter Recreational Association Center, 3421 Hawthorne Avenue.
The Ginter Park Show is in its 17th year of bringing you creative gifts in time for your holiday shopping. This year’s 35 artists and artisans will showcase watercolors, jewelry, oil paintings, illustrations, candles, scents, assemblages, collage, clothing, chocolates, purses, textiles, lighting fixtures, ceramics, pottery, pressed flower art, whimsical cards, creature peepers, wreaths, and yard art.
Safety precautions will be in place for a safe and fun day for all. As usual, there will be a food truck on the premises. Questions? Contact Susan Gunn, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ginter Park Garden Club at Fine Arts and Flowers Exhibit
Ginter Park Garden Club members created two eye-catching floral designs for the VMFA Fine Arts and Flowers Exhibit. This annual show challenges floral designers from area garden clubs to interpret a work of fine art in flowers.
Cackie Trippe McCarty and Jody Taylor used unusual elements, such as amaranthus, eucalyptus, iris, honey bracelet, bear grass, millet, and curly willow to interpret Claude Monet’s Irises by the Pond.
Joyce Parker partnered with a Petersburg Garden Club Member to create a floral to interpret Last Supper by Unknown Artist, a dramatic arrangement of roses, lilies, dark brown twigs and greenery.
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.
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).
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!
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:
You can also use the rva311.com mobile app to report your issues. Download the app from Google Play, or the Apple Store.
- Trash and solid waste
- Abandoned vehicles
- Storm drains
- Illegal dumping
- Code violations
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: email@example.com
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 Rep Chairs:
John Marriner and Sidney Bland
N1 Sally Brown:
N2 Monica Murphy:
N3 Trevor Dickerson:
E1 Gwen Davis:
E2 Jessica Rexroat:
S1 Mark Clark:
S2 David Lamson-Keene:
W1 Sidney Bland:
W2 John Marriner:
W3 David Karns:
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:
Post Office Box 25374
Richmond, VA 23260