RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – $60 million! That's how much money is coming to the City of Richmond. So the big question…how will the city use it?
The money is coming from the Richmond Metropolitan Authority. It's finally being returned to the city after the RMA borrowed it years ago to build the Downtown Expressway. And before you ask, the RMA will not be increasing tolls to repay the debt.
What would you do with $60 million? It's a question the City of Richmond and Mayor Dwight Jones are facing after negotiating the large repayment from the RMA.
"Because we gave it to them!" said Mayor Jones. "They're returning it to us because it's owed to us."
The money was loaned to the RMA decades ago. Today an RMA spokesperson told us the board hopes to have the money paid back before the end of the year. This could mean big improvements for the city.
"We're working very hard to make sure that we are doing things in a way that would bring money to the coffers of the city," said Mayor Jones.
Mayor Jones would like to see some of the money used to fix up The Diamond, repave Jefferson Davis Highway, finish development in the Blackwell area and improve conditions in some of Richmond's low-income neighborhoods including Creighton Court. Residents we spoke with agree.
"Perfect example! Look at this house right here! Somebody could be living in this nice home!" explained Richmond resident, Bernice Pryor. "Look at this one across the street! I mean who wants to move in an area where everything is boarded up and grass growing!"
"Build some apartment complexes," added another resident. "And knock down a lot of these houses."
Part of the money could also go to a rainy day fund. In the end, city council members would have to approve exactly what the money would be used for. Mayor Jones' administration will be working on that proposal. Jones expects the money to be returned by November of this year. Whatever is done with it, he wants it to make a noticeable dent in poverty and address the city's longstanding concerns.