Letter: 'Turn an area with nothing into something vibrant'

In a letter to the editor, Thomas Hogg writes:

Many thanks to Jim Ukrop and John Bates for their positive column celebrating downtown Richmond’s 10-year revitalization, which was aided by the public-private partnership from which grew Richmond CenterStage, now called the Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Their column paints an accurate before-and-after story of how leadership with vision can truly enrich our community and deliver lasting results.

Richmonders now have an opportunity to experience a similar revitalization in downtown through the Navy Hill District proposal being studied by City Council.

The NH District Corp. plan achieves the exact results required in Mayor Levar Stoney’s request for proposal (RFP) — a new arena, renovated Blues Armory, convention center hotel, bus transfer center and new residential, retail and commercial space. It will turn an area with nothing into something vibrant, attractive and revenue-producing for the city — with no financial risk to city taxpayers.

Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell and the leaders putting their reputations on the line for Navy Hill have all led successful businesses and each has shown a lifelong commitment to serving our community. In fact, the nonprofit oversight structure for Navy Hill is identical to the CenterStage governance by nonprofit Richmond Performing Arts Alliance. They have learned what works in Richmond.

The Navy Hill proposal should be judged based on careful examination by adequately skilled advisers to the city who can protect taxpayers and ensure positive outcomes for us all.

Jeff Kelley