Frank Wilson is running for 8th District City Council seat

Apr 20, 2024 | by

Oak Grove resident Frank Wilson (website) started thinking about running for the 8th District City Council “about a year ago”, citing both the Oak Grove Elementary School redevelopment and the failed push to build a burn center at the Hickory Hill Community Center.

“We keep seeing things happen that don’t take into account what the residents want”, says Wilson, “I will make sure that the interests of the residents are heard”. At a recent civic meeting he said there were too many people “feeling overlooked, defeated, ignored… and I understand exactly.”

The former Oak Grove Elementary school became vacant in 2013, and through oversite was neglected and left to decay. Soon after the school was closed, Mr.Wilson’s church, the nearby Redeemed Assembly Church, began to engage the city to see if they could make use of the building for their ever growing needs for daycare and Head Start space. A late 2022 decision to use the land for 15 affordable townhomes and 220 apartments as part of a $45 million housing development project left many in the neighborhood feeling that plans had been set in motion without input from the community.

Then came the Hickory Hill Community Center fiasco in 2023. The Richmond Fire Department proposed to build a fire training facility with a two-story burn building where firefighters could simulate extinguishing live infernos on the grounds of the community center on East Belt Boulevard. Despite opposition by local environmental group Southside ReLeaf and being denied by both the city’s Urban Design Commission and the Planning Commission, 8th District representative Reva Trammell and Mayor Stoney introduced a joint resolution in favor of the burn facility that was then passed by City Council. The city eventually reversed course, but only after pushing hard for what was felt by many to be a hostile takeover against the clear wishes of the community.

Born in Austin, Texas, Wilson went to Rice University on a football scholarship and earned a bachelors in Physical Education. His plan to be a teacher was deferred when he was drafted out of school in 1981 by the Pittsburgh Steelers. After a short stint in professional football in Pittsburgh, Vancouver, and Portland, Wilson later worked as Supervisor for the Parks Department of Austin before moving to Richmond in 1990. A masters degree from Liberty University and a three-decade career at State Farm followed. Wilson most recently served as a magistrate at the Supreme Court of Virginia for two years.

Live in the 8th District? Look for Frank Wilson out knocking on doors and collecting signatures to get in the ballot in the coming weeks.

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3 thoughts on “Frank Wilson is running for 8th District City Council seat”

  1. Mr. Wilson does not live in OakGrove, has not lived in Oak Grove; he lives in Goochland County and is only running in the 8th district because his church which is located on Fairfax County wanted the old Oak Grove Elementary school located at 2200 Ingram avenue to be kept for daycare usage. The building was asbestos filled.

    Residence from the neighborhood signed petitions from John Gregory and links ventures to redevelop the OakGrove elementary school site into affordable housing. Mr. John Gregory came around 3 to 4 times offered Community involvement workshops in which Mr. Frank Wilson did not participate.

    It is a travesty that we have individuals that would misrepresent neighborhoods in which they do not actually represent.

  2. As a concerned member of the 8th district, I must voice my disagreement with Frank Wilson’s candidacy. The tone and approach of his campaign, in my view, have not contributed positively to our community’s discourse. I fear that his representation could lead to outcomes that may not be in the best interest of our district’s diverse and vibrant community.

  3. As a dedicated member of the Oak Grove community, I am writing to express my deep concerns regarding the candidacy of an individual who does not reside within our district. It has come to my attention that the candidate in question, who resides in Goochland County, is seeking election in the 8th district based on affiliations rather than a genuine connection to our community.

    The old Oak Grove Elementary school, a site filled with memories and potential, has become a point of contention. While there is a push from certain quarters to preserve the building for daycare usage, many residents, including myself, have supported initiatives by John Gregory and associated ventures to transform this site into affordable housing—a much-needed resource in our area.

    Community involvement and engagement are the cornerstones of effective representation. It is disheartening to note that despite multiple community workshops aimed at fostering dialogue and participation, the said candidate has not been present to listen or contribute to these discussions.

    This lack of engagement and the apparent misrepresentation of our neighborhood’s interests are alarming. It raises serious questions about the candidate’s understanding of and commitment to the very people they seek to represent. Such a disconnect from the community’s needs and aspirations is a matter of grave concern for me as a voter.

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