Over the summer one of the hot topics was the fate of 1.2 acres in Lewis G. Larus Park off of Huguenot Road. Chesterfield has wanted to build a water tank and piggyback off of existing city water facilities. Residents were concerned about the number of trees being cut down for the project, the loss of land to the Park, and costs to the city.
Today Mayor Levar Stoney announced that the city (pending council approval) will be purchasing 18.2 acres of undeveloped land next to the park and using a portion to move ahead with the water tank. The land will be purchased for $420,000 from Redford Land Trust. Chesterfield will pay $91,136.
UPDATE 11/13 3:30 PM: Councilwoman Kristen Larson will be hosting a Community Meeting Regarding Revised Larus Park Proposal on November 20th, 6:00 PM at the Huguenot Community Center (7945 Forest Hill Ave*) for a community meeting and discussion about the city administration’s revised proposal to build a new water tank and pumping station in the 4th district on a portion of Larus Park to allow the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to sell more water to our neighbors in Chesterfield County.
More from the Councilwoman:
Since the beginning I have promised to hold a public meeting in the 4th district before I vote on this ordinance. I hope you will join me for this meeting on November 20th at 6:00 pm at the Huguenot Community Center to learn more and provide feedback. Representatives from DPU will be there to present the proposal in full and answer any questions. I will be available to listen to your comments.
Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced the City of Richmond’s Department of Public Utilities has entered into a contract to purchase 18.2 acres of forested land adjoining Larus Park, where 1.2 acres will be used to locate a pump station and ground storage tank as part of an agreement to provide an additional 5 million gallons of drinking water a day to Chesterfield County.
Pending the approval of City Council, the acquisition from the Redford Land Trust will enlarge the footprint of the existing park by 25 percent, and dramatically increase the forested canopy that will be lost as part of the public works project.
“This is a better outcome and a win-win for our residents,” said Mayor Stoney. “Residents will get acres of additional, undisturbed, undeveloped park land which can be used for hiking trails and other passive uses. Our successful water utility will upgrade its infrastructure and return an additional $4.1 million in additional revenue over the next five years to help offset operations and maintenance costs to Richmond ratepayers. And we will be doing the right thing by helping our neighbor in Chesterfield.”
An Ordinance to allow the City to amend its Water Contract with Chesterfield County was submitted to Council in April 2017. After residents expressed concerns about the impact the public works project would have on Larus Park, Mayor Stoney directed the project team to reevaluate options. The result is a modified solution that will not only provide water to Chesterfield County, but also improve water supply reliability and resiliency to City residents while preserving and increasing the size of Larus Park.
As part of the public works project, the City will purchase the land for $420,000 from the Redford Land Trust, which signed an agreement of sale last week. In addition, the County of Chesterfield will pay $91,136 to compensate the City of Richmond for trees removed as part of the project, and the City will apply the funds to the purchase price of the additional park land. The additional land will be managed by the City’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities.
Chesterfield County will continue to pay its fair share of costs for ongoing operations and maintenance of city facilities as well as their percentage of joint and direct capital costs each year. The County will pay an additional 3.8% share each year for all capital projects completed at the water treatment plant (the County’s total share of water plant capital projects will be 24.24% verse its current 20.45% share). Without the sale of this additional capacity to Chesterfield, City residents would be allocated these costs.
“This project is part of the ongoing regional effort for a safe and resilient drinking water supply for all, now and into the future,” said Robert C. Steidel, the city’s Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Operations.
BACKGROUND: This project builds on decades of cooperative regional water supply planning for Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico and Richmond. As a wholesale water customer of the City of Richmond, Chesterfield County has requested an additional five million gallons per day of water capacity for Chesterfield County water customers. The City’s treated water supply is sufficient to allow this increase purchase. The additional water will be delivered to a pump station and ground storage tank located adjacent to the City’s existing Huguenot Road pump station on approximately 1.2 acres of land that the City will lease to Chesterfield. This project will provide Chesterfield county residents with up to an additional five million gallons per day of drinking water, an increase from 27 million gallons to 32 million gallons. The project will also provide City residents with more resilient and reliable water service to this portion of the City and fire protection for residents not currently in range of City fire hydrants.