RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — At a briefing Tuesday, Richmond health officials said COVID hospitalizations have hit an all-time high, and city planners highlighted development plans for the Diamond District and Richmond Coliseum.
According to Dr. Danny Avula, Director of the Richmond Henrico Health District, hospitalizations and cases have hit an all time high in the commonwealth. There are currently 3,600 patients in Virginia hospitals with cases of COVID-19.
“We’re seeing cases like we’ve never seen, but it’s the severe cases we’re worried about,” Avula said.
Members of the City’s Department of Economic Development also gave an update on the Diamond District redevelopment plan. The city plans to revitalize the area surrounding the Diamond ballpark on Arthur Ashe Boulevard and is now soliciting preliminary proposals from local developers.
Deputy Director of Development Maritza Pechin also announced that the city would undertake a similar project in the City Center area. The plan will go before City Council at its meeting on Jan. 24, and will involve another request to developers for proposals.
“Once the plan is adopted, we’ll move into implementation – just like we’re doing with the Diamond District,” Pechin said.
The City Center small area plan includes the Richmond Coliseum, which was previously at the center of Mayor Levar Stoney’s failed Navy Hill plan. City Council rejected that plan after a contentious public battle over the proposal’s high price tag and large tax breaks for corporations.
The new City Center Plan would see less up-front spending from the city, but does involve transferring vacant public buildings – like the Richmond Coliseum – to private developers, on the condition that they make major investments.