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HOLMBERG: Mayor Jones’ final state of the city speech proudly proclaims RVA’s turnaround story

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones’ seventh and final State of the City address was the finest speech I’ve heard him give.

He was humble, but proud; naming many that helped his administration dig this city out of a deep hole when he took office in the midst of the national and regional recession. Richmond was still reeling from a record violent crime wave that had caused many to flee they city.

In these seven years, RVA has become a brand recognized across the country, regularly being singled out as a great place to live, party, eat and visit, the mayor said. Our population has surged from about 96,000 to more than 110,000, as folks and businesses of all types have helped transform this town from one that was feared to one that is revered.

It didn’t happen by accident. Clearly, there have been very sharp people working behind the scenes to help drive the economic and cultural success, in spite of naysayers at virtually every turn.

The mayor has his critics. I have been one.

But anyone who lived through the 90s and early 2000s here surely knows how far we’ve come. This is a wonderful city with a story of rebirth that few can rival.

Drive around the city and look at all the new developments, the restaurants, businesses, the new homes, apartments, condos, and all the people out and about.

How much credit can the mayor take? Probably the same amount of blame that would’ve been heaped on him if it had gone the other way.