RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — Tucked away along the Boulevard in Richmond is an old Richmond Public Schools Warehouse.
Richmond Mayor, Dwight Jones has been trying to get school leaders to hand over the property to the city so they can sell it to an interest developer, willing to pay at least $1.6 million, as part of the mayor’s big plan to redevelop and revitalize the Boulevard.
However, some school board members like Kim Gray have repeatedly said no to the mayor, saying she doesn’t believe the school system will get any money from the deal.
“If it were my personal property, I wouldn’t be handing it over. My job is to make sure the schools get the resources they need,” says Gray.
Gray says now, it appears the city is trying to force them off the property with a recent inspection.
CBS 6 obtained a copy of the lengthy inspection report and it shows numerous violations, including an accumulation of trash … foundation walls not properly maintained as well as handrails and guardrails in disrepair. If the problems are not fixed in 30 days, according to the report, the school system will be charged $2500 per violation, per day, plus court fees.
CBS 6 News contacted the mayor’s office. In a letter, spokesperson Tammy Hawley says in part, “The planning commission initiated a proactive inspection in February of this year after noticing several concerns. The department is engaging in more proactive inspection, especially in industrial and commercial areas in the interest of safety.”
Gray says they will fight to keep the warehouse, comparing it to the old Westhampton school property. It was handed over to the city and used to strike a deal with the Washington Redskins.
Gray says RPS has yet to benefit from that deal as the mayor promised.
“Their response is, this could generate more money for schools. We’ve heard that time and time again,” says Gray.
Gray tells CBS 6’s Lorenzo Hall, they will ask for an extension to bring the warehouse up to code and figure out how to pay for the repairs.
Even though the city owns all school property, it can’t be sold without approval from the school board.