RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney gave his third State of the City address Tuesday at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture.
In his speech, Stoney highlighted progress made in the last three years, unveiled a few initiatives for 2020, announced improvements to city permitting operations and called on increased focus on serving the needs of children and families in the city.
“The state of our city is stronger and more competitive than it’s been in years,” Stoney said. “This is our time, our chance, our opportunity to realize our potential to work together to empower others.”
The mayor’s address came a day after a majority of Richmond City Council released a resolution asking Stoney to withdraw his Navy Hill redevelopment proposal and start again. Stoney was adamant he would not withdraw his plans in a tweet on Monday.
The mayor shared that sentiment Tuesday night.
“If we truly want the change we need, if we truly want to move on from mistakes of our past, we can’t be afraid to embrace opportunity when it stares us in the face.”
Stoney announced that the city will form its first Office of Children and Families, which will work to “reduce redundancies and ensure that Richmond is the very best place to grow up and raise a family.”
“My administration believes that thriving children are the product of thriving families. The Office of Children and Families will be our north star, setting direction for the entire city so that we collectively support our families and together lead our children to one destination: a happy, healthy adulthood, no matter their neighborhood or background,” Stoney explained Tuesday.
The mayor adds that transportation is also foundational in building Richmond. GRTC usage has increased 18 percent, the city has installed more bike lanes, 280 crosswalks, and 400 signals to keep people safe, in addition to new legislation that will go into effect in June.
“We worked with city council and safe driving advocates to pass a ban on the use of handheld mobile devices while driving a car,” the mayor said.