Advocate hopes Christmas-themed billboards help shut down Navy Hill project

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Two billboards are lighting up the Richmond area while also speaking out against the Navy Hill proposal. The Christmas-themed messages are calling for Mayor Stoney and City Council to shut down the proposed development project.

The Facebook group “Enough is Enough,” created by community activist Farid Alan Schintzius, put up the billboards. The messages are against the proposed $1.5 billion project that would bring a new arena, shops and GRTC transit building to downtown Richmond.

There are two LED billboards, which rotate between three messages:

  • “Dear Council, No Navy Hill is on our list”
  • “The greatest gift of all, no Navy Hill. Let’s put schools first”
  • “Mayor Stoney, This is all we want for Christmas”

All three messages are signed from “the voters.”

“The downtown was growing, Richmond is gushing, we don’t need a Navy Hill,” said Schintzius. “It is not a good proposal. It ties up our city’s treasurer and resources for 30 years.”

One billboard is on the 5900 block of W. Broad Street and the other is along 195 near the I-64 junction.

“It’s a good, very visible, public venue to get the message out, everyday people driving on the streets,” Schintzius said.

A spokesperson for Mayor Levar Stoney sent 8News the following statement:

Here’s what we want for Christmas: Thousands of jobs, hundreds of units of affordable housing and $1 billion more to spend on schools, neighborhoods and city services. Any Grinch can buy a billboard.”

A spokesperson for the Navy Hill project also sent 8News a statement regarding the billboards:

Navy Hill is the only proposal on the table that actually creates $500 million for schools. What is their plan, besides spending resources on billboards, which creates $0 for schools?

Over the years, Richmonders have offered opinions on what they want to see in downtown, and voters tell us that economic development is the only real tool in the toolbox that we have to increase revenue to the City. That’s Navy Hill: putting underutilized land in downtown back to work for citizens. We have engaged with Richmonders in every district in the city, and the feedback we have gotten is overwhelmingly positive. We have presented the City with a vetted, smart plan to rebuild a neighborhood and in the process create more funding for schools and City services.”

The billboards went up on Monday and will stay up for 30 days. Schintzius said he is raising funds for the billboards and is about halfway to the $3,000 goal it costs to pay for them.

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