Town hall meeting to include VUU president, other City officials

George Copeland Jr. | 3/14/2024, 6 p.m.
The future of the Richmond Community Hospital, the cost of utilities and crime in the city will be the focus …
Ms. Lambert

The future of the Richmond Community Hospital, the cost of utilities and crime in the city will be the focus of an upcoming town hall in Richmond’s 3rd District on Wednesday, March 20, at Linwood Holton Elementary School at 1600 W. Laburnum Ave. from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Virginia Union University President Hakim J. Lucas, Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards and April Bingham, director of the Department of Public Utilities, will be present for the discussion, which will be hosted by 3rd District Council member Ann-Frances Lambert.

In addition to updates on matters in the city and district, Richmond residents will be able to share their thoughts during the Q&A portion of the town hall. Light refreshments will be served.

The meeting will be the first public discussion of VUU’s plans for the hospital after it announced a plan to demolish it as part of an affordable housing project created in partnership with the Steinbridge Group, leading to community pushback and criticism.

“I hope that the University will be fully transparent in what it intends to do,” said Viola Baskerville, a former member of the House of Delegates who has helped lead efforts to preserve the site, “and that it would make a commitment to work with the community and the historic preservation community to create the opportunity to save that building.”

Ms. Lambert included the Richmond Community Hospital among the town hall’s topics after earlier being asked to facilitate a separate, private discussion between Dr. Lucas, herself, and Ms. Baskerville and Alan Schintzius, who have worked to rally the community in support of the hospital.

“I added the Richmond hospital topic to my agenda because the community had a lot of unanswered questions,” Ms. Lambert said. “And I felt it was necessary to provide an opportunity for VUU to address them, especially after the rally that took place on March 3.”

Ms. Baskerville has asked residents who plan to attend the town hall to wear green, in honor of the regalia physicians wear when they graduate from medical school, and to come prepared to ask questions about the hospital and to “find out where their elected official stands with respect to supporting the community.”