Henrico prepares for heavy traffic during NASCAR races April 25-26

The Henrico County Department of Public Works will temporarily alter traffic patterns on roads around Richmond International Raceway (RIR) to accommodate fans attending the NASCAR races Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26.

Motorists are advised to expect heavy traffic and delays in the area on both days, especially from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., before the races, and from 10:15 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., afterward.

Henrico Police officers will direct motorists before and after the races. Race fans and other motorists are encouraged to check traffic updates on message boards along interstates and other roads approaching RIR. WRVA-1140 AM will broadcast traffic reports.

The following traffic patterns will be in effect Saturday, April 26 during peak hours:

  • Carolina Avenue between Laburnum and Azalea avenues will be one-way outbound after the race. Access to businesses along Carolina Avenue will be maintained from Laburnum Avenue.
  • Richmond-Henrico Turnpike/Meadowbridge Road from the Henrico/Hanover county line to Azalea Avenue will be one-way southbound from about 1 p.m. until the race starts. Sections of Meadowbridge Road farther north in Hanover County will continue to accommodate two-way northbound and southbound traffic at all times.
  • After the race, Laburnum Avenue from Carolina Avenue to Mechanicsville Turnpike will be one-way eastbound. Eastbound Laburnum Avenue from Richmond-Henrico Turnpike/Meadowbridge Road to Carolina Avenue will be closed until race traffic disperses. Two-way traffic will be maintained on Laburnum Avenue west of Richmond-Henrico Turnpike/Meadowbridge Road.
  • After the race, beginning at about 10 p.m., Richmond-Henrico Turnpike/Meadowbridge Road north of Azalea Avenue will be one-way northbound to Atlee Road in Hanover County. Richmond-Henrico Turnpike/Meadowbridge Road will be restored to two-way traffic when race traffic disperses.
  • After the race, three lanes of Azalea Avenue from Richmond-Henrico Turnpike/Meadowbridge Road to Henrico High School will be routed westbound; one lane will be routed eastbound. This change will require all median crossovers on Azalea Avenue from Richmond-Henrico Turnpike/Meadowbridge Road to Henrico High School to be closed from about 10 p.m. until race traffic disperses. Police will assist motorists turning from Azalea Avenue onto Thrush Lane and Pony Farm Drive.

While the traffic modifications are in effect, median crossovers on Laburnum Avenue will be closed from North Avenue to Mechanicsville Turnpike, except at Alma Avenue, Pilots Lane and Austin Avenue. Only right turns will be permitted to and from Laburnum Avenue. Police will be at these intersections before and after the race to assist motorists turning onto or crossing Laburnum Avenue.

On-street parking on major routes to RIR will be prohibited each day. Parking will be available for $6 on Saturday, April 26 at the Richmond Coliseum parking deck at 501 N. Seventh St. in downtown Richmond. Free shuttle bus service to and from RIR will begin at 1 p.m.

The Henrico Division of Police recommends the following routes for traffic approaching the raceway:

  • From the east (Hampton Roads area) — Follow Interstate 64 west to Interstate 295 north (Exit 200). Follow I-295 north and exit onto Mechanicsville Turnpike west (Exit 37B).  Follow Mechanicsville Turnpike to Laburnum Avenue. Turn right and proceed to the raceway.
  • From the east (U.S. Route 360) — Follow Route 360 west (Mechanicsville Turnpike), cross I-295 and continue west to Laburnum Avenue. Turn right and proceed to the raceway.
  • From the east (local traffic) — Follow I-64 west and take the Laburnum Avenue exit (Exit 195). Turn right and proceed to the raceway.
  • From the north — Follow Interstate 95 south to the I-295 east interchange (marked “To Norfolk-Williamsburg”). Follow I-295 east and exit onto Meadowbridge Road west (Exit 38B). Follow Meadowbridge Road (Richmond-Henrico Turnpike) and proceed to the raceway.
  • From the north (local traffic) — Follow U.S. Route 1 (Brook Road) to Azalea Avenue. Turn left onto Azalea Avenue and proceed to the raceway.
  • From the west — Follow I-64 east to the I-295 south interchange (Exit 177). Follow I-295 south and exit onto Meadowbridge Road west (Exit 38B). Follow Meadowbridge Road (Richmond-Henrico Turnpike) and proceed to the raceway.
  • From the west (local traffic) — Follow I-64 east to the Laburnum Avenue/Powhite Parkway exit. Take the Laburnum Avenue exit, turn left and proceed to the raceway.
  • From the south — Follow I-95 north to the I-295 interchange south of Petersburg. Follow I-295 north and exit onto Mechanicsville Turnpike (Exit 37B). Follow Mechanicsville Turnpike to Laburnum Avenue. Turn right and proceed to the raceway.
  • From the south (local traffic) — Follow I-95 north to the I-64 east interchange (Exit 75). Follow I-64 to Route 360 east (Mechanicsville Turnpike). Follow Route 360 east to Laburnum Avenue. Turn left and proceed to the raceway.

Henrico seeks volunteer workers for Civil War battle reenactment Sept. 26-28

Henrico County is looking for volunteers to help staff and support a reenactment of the Battle of New Market Heights, a fight significant for the role played by African-American soldiers serving in the U.S. Colored Troops (USCT).

At least 50 volunteers are needed for the reenactment, set for Friday, Sept. 26 through Sunday, Sept. 28 at the Runnymede property near the Malvern Hill site of Richmond National Battlefield Park, 8750 Willis Church Road. Henrico’s Division of Recreation and Parks is organizing the event, which is scheduled to mark the 150th anniversary of the battle.

County officials anticipate up to 1,500 reenactors and 10,000 spectators for the weekend-long event, which will feature demonstrations and tours for school groups on Friday and a total of three battle reenactments on Saturday and Sunday. It also will offer live performances of period music, popular food and merchandise from the era and educational activities for children.

Volunteers will help guide school tour groups, provide line and crowd control, and assist children’s crafts and games, among other duties. Volunteers can work single or multiple shifts. They should be 16 or older and able to work outdoors on field terrain.

Volunteers can sign up and get additional information at www.civilwarhenrico.com or by contacting Anna Truong at tru08@co.henrico.va.us and (804) 501-2130. The deadline to register is July 25.


“We’re excited to commemorate this historic battle that took place on Henrico soil and bring to life an important moment in the county’s — and our nation’s — history,” said Neil Luther, director of Recreation and Parks. “We need the support of our community volunteers to help make it happen.”

The Battle of New Market Heights took place the morning of Sept. 29, 1864, as part of a broader Union assault against Confederate defenses southeast of Richmond. Several regiments from the U.S. Colored Troops, which had crossed the James River at Deep Bottom the night before, spearheaded an attack on elevated, entrenched Confederate positions along New Market Road near Four Mile Creek. At the same time, additional Union forces moved against Fort Harrison a little more than 2 miles to the west. USCT units suffered heavy casualties in the attack but dislodged Confederate forces from New Market Road; simultaneously, Union troops captured Fort Harrison.

Fourteen African-American soldiers received the Medal of Honor — the nation’s highest military honor — for their heroism in combat at New Market Heights (18 African-American soldiers received the Medal of Honor over the course of the Civil War). Their actions helped dispel the notion, widely held at the time, that African-American soldiers were unfit for combat.

Varina District meetings to highlight county budget, crime prevention in Varina

Varina District Supervisor Tyrone E. Nelson will hold two Community Conversations meetings to discuss with residents Henrico County’s budget and crime prevention efforts in Varina.

The meetings will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 24 at the Henrico Theatre, 305 E. Nine Mile Road; and at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 6 at Dorey Park, 2999 Darbytown Road.

Nelson will lead the discussions with County Manager John A. Vithoulkas and representatives of the Division of Police.

For information on the Community Conversations meetings, call (804) 501-4208.

Fairfield meeting April 30 to spotlight community enhancement efforts

Fairfield District Supervisor Frank J. Thornton will hold a constituent meeting Wednesday, April 30 to discuss small-area planning efforts in Henrico County and ways that residents can enhance their homes and communities.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, 1440 N. Laburnum Ave. Representatives of the departments of Planning and Community Revitalization will join Thornton for the discussion. A question-and-answer period will follow.

For information, call (804) 501-4208.

‘Superhero’ runners needed for April 26 race to benefit child-advocacy programs

The Henrico County and Chesterfield County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) will hold their fifth-annual Superhero Run on Saturday, April 26 to support local programs for abused and neglected children.

The event, which includes a 5-kilometer race and a 1-mile Kids’ Fun Run, will be held at St. Joseph’s Villa, 8000 Brook Road, in recognition of April as national Child Abuse Prevention Month. Aided by their “superhero” volunteers, the private, nonprofit CASA organizations work with local courts on behalf of children who have been abused and neglected. Dominion is this year’s title sponsor of the event.

“The Henrico and Chesterfield CASA organizations are excited to partner again with our sponsors to hold the Superhero Run to increase awareness of the special needs of abused and neglected children in our community,” said Barbara Herzog, executive director of Henrico CASA.

The 5K race is open to all ages. Each participant is encouraged to run in the costume of his or her favorite superhero character. Prizes will be awarded in each age group to the top finishers and for the best costumes.

The cost to register for the 5K race is $30 for runners 13 and older and $20 for runners 6 to 12. The Kids’ Fun Run is open to children 12 and younger at a cost of $10 and to parents at no cost. All fees will increase by $5 beginning Friday, April 25. To register, go to www.casarun.com.

Activities will begin with the Kids’ Fun Run at 9 a.m., followed by the 5K race at 9:30 a.m. and a post-race fair, with inflatable bounces, face painting and other family entertainment. The event was inspired by The Superhero Foundation, a Texas-based organization working to prevent child abuse.

For information, call (804) 501-1671 or send an email to info@casarun.com.

Henrico Citizens Academy set for May

Henrico residents can learn the nuts and bolts of county operations at the 2014 Henrico Citizens Academy, scheduled for five sessions in May.

The free program will take place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. each Thursday of the month starting May 1. Residents can register at www.connect.henricorecandparks.com beginning Saturday, April 12. They also can sign up at the Division of Recreation and Parks office in the Human Services Building, 8600 Dixon Powers Drive, beginning Monday, April 14. Registration will close Friday, April 25.

The academy is open to 35 residents, with space reserved for seven individuals from each of Henrico’s five magisterial districts. Participants must be 18 or older.

The academy is designed to give residents a comprehensive look at county operations and services — from plowing county roads after a winter storm and running a youth sports league to preparing an annual budget, providing emergency rescue services and recruiting a Fortune 1000 corporation.

Classes will be led by Henrico officials and staff and will be held at a different county facility each week. Classes typically will feature a presentation and discussion, facility tours, equipment demonstrations and other activities. Topics will include community and economic development, schools and human services, recreation and parks, public safety and county history.

This year marks the second offering of the Henrico Citizens Academy. The county’s divisions of Police and Fire have been holding academies for residents since 1995 and 2000, respectively.

Henrico supervisors to hold public hearing April 8 on proposed budget

The Henrico County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing Tuesday, April 8 on the proposed budget for fiscal year 2014-15.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m., one hour earlier than usual, in the Board Room of the Henrico Government Center’s Administration Building, 4301 E. Parham Road.

Residents may provide oral or written comments on the $1.1 billion plan, which would guide operating and capital spending for the year beginning July 1.

The general fund, which supports the operations of Henrico’s general government, including the divisions of Police and Fire, and Henrico County Public Schools, would total $767.4 million. That would represent an increase of $20.2 million, or 2.7 percent, over the current year’s plan. Schools would receive a total of $20.5 million in additional funding, while general government departments and agencies would combine for nearly $300,000 in reductions. Education and public safety would account for 77 percent of all general fund spending.

The proposed budget recommends no change to the real estate tax rate of 87 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Residents are encouraged to register in advance to speak at the public hearing. To sign up or for more information about the meeting, call Board of Supervisors Clerk Barry R. Lawrence at (804) 501-4318. For information on the proposed budget, call Director of Finance Gene Walter at (804) 501-5200.

Copies of the proposed budget, which includes an overview message by County Manager John A. Vithoulkas, are available for public inspection at Henrico libraries, the Office of Management and Budget in the Henrico Government Center and at www.co.henrico.va.us.

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote April 22 to adopt a budget for fiscal year 2014-15. The board typically meets at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month in the Board Room of the Henrico Government Center.

Henrico Too Smart 2 Start Coalition to host April 3 forum on youth substance abuse

 Henrico Too Smart 2 Start Coalition will hold its second-annual It Takes a Village Community Forum on Thursday, April 3 to discuss ways to reduce substance abuse by youth in Henrico County.

The forum will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Strawberry Hill Ballroom of the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, 1440 N. Laburnum Ave. The event is open to the public and intended for youth, parents, professionals and others interested in making a positive impact on the community.

Henrico Too Smart 2 Start Coalition promotes health and wellness in Henrico and focuses on reducing substance abuse by youth.

For information on the forum, call Nicole Gore at (804) 222-8194, ext. 3006, or go to www.toosmart2start.com.

Henrico Extension to hold open house March 29 to begin registration for Junior 4-H Camp

The Henrico County office of the Virginia Cooperative Extension will hold an open house Saturday, March 29 to begin accepting registrations for the 2014 Henrico County Junior 4-H Camp.

The open house will be held from 9 a.m. to noon in the Extension office at the Human Services Building, 8600 Dixon Powers Drive. The residential camp, which is open to boys and girls ages 9 through 13 as of Sept. 30, will be held Aug. 4-8 at the Jamestown 4-H Educational Center, near Williamsburg.

The cost of the camp is $236 and includes a T-shirt, lodging, meals, programs, instructional class materials and transportation by chartered bus. Space is limited, and classes fill quickly. Scholarship assistance may be available. Registration forms are available at www.co.henrico.va.us/extension and may be submitted at the open house or by mail.

The Junior 4-H Camp provides youths with a fun learning environment while they make friends and discover the outdoors. Activities include swimming, archery, sailing, canoeing, basketball, forestry, marine science, volleyball, shooting sports, fishing, robotics, campfires and crafts. The camp’s theme for 2014 is “What do the animals say?”

The Jamestown 4-H Educational Center occupies 16 acres of woods and open spaces along the James River. Amenities include air-conditioned lodges and cabins, archery and rifle ranges, a swimming pool, a floating dock, a ropes course and an amphitheater.

Accredited by the American Camp Association, the camp is operated by adult and teen counselors and a staff that includes lifeguards, recreational leaders, a dietician and a medical attendant. Parent volunteers are needed. For information, call Henrico Extension at (804) 501-5160, send an email to henrico4-h@vt.edu or go to www.co.henrico.va.us/extension.

Fairfield meeting March 31 to highlight Henrico’s land-use and thoroughfare plans

Fairfield District Supervisor Frank J. Thornton will hold a constituent meeting Monday, March 31 to discuss Henrico County’s land-use and major thoroughfare plans.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, 1440 N. Laburnum Ave. Representatives of the departments of Planning and Community Revitalization will join Thornton for the presentation. A question-and-answer period will follow.

For information, call (804) 501-4208.