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Hills & Heights

Notes From Last Night’s Meeting on Traffic Changes to Semmes/Forest Hill/34th/Dundee

The biggest change would be the addition of a stop light at 34th and Semmes.

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Last night a meeting was held at Patrick Henry School to discuss the proposal for changes to the traffic pattern at Semmes/Forest Hill/34th/Dundee.  See above.

The impetus for this proposal is to improve safety for students of Patrick Henry and residents in the area. DPW applied for and was awarded two cost-share grants from VDOT for the project.

John Murden (thanks John) was there and wrote up this excellent summary that he was willing to share. This proposal is still in the planning stages with the engineering scheduled for this fiscal year,  which means at the earliest construction would be next fiscal year or 2020. When we hear about the next meeting we’ll let you know.

I went to the meeting last night about the proposed changes to the traffic pattern at Semmes/Forest Hill/34th/Dundee (image attached).

The core idea is the addition of a stop light at 34th and Semmes. To justify the cost of the stoplight, the block of Forest Hill behind WPA/Laura Lee’s etc will be east-bound only, to force traffic up 34th to Semmes.

There will also be changes to the lights at Dundee/Semmes/Forest Hill, but not a roundabout as the funding source does not allow for taking the necessary land from the nearby school.

The intersection at 34th and Semmes, and the Dundee intersection will have extended curbs and details to make them more pedestrian friendly – reducing the distance from one side of the road to the other.

Several members of the audience asked if Semmes can be one-lane in front of the commercial strip, and also in front of the school to allow for drop-off.

It sounded like there are no plans at this time to extend the bike lane.

It was said that this is the beginning of the process and there will be future opportunities for community input.

 

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

Community

Road Closures for Richmond Folk Festival

Quick summary, all the roads around Brown’s Island

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Road Closures/No Parking 4 p.m., Friday, Oct 7 – 11:59 p.m., Sunday, Oct 9 Starting Friday afternoon, several roads near Brown’s Island will close through the weekend for the Richmond Folk Festival. Parking will be prohibited.

Road specifics.

  • North 6th Street between East Broad and East Grace streets
  • Tredegar Street between South 7th Street and Belle Isle lot
  • South 10th Street between Haxall Point and Federal Reserve Bank
  • Spring Street between South 2nd and Belvidere streets
  • East Byrd Street between South 2nd and South 7th streets
  • South 2nd Street between Lee Bridge off ramp and East Byrd Street
  • South 3rd Street between East Canal and East Byrd streets
  • South 4th Street between East Canal and East Byrd streets
  • South 5th Street between East Canal and Tredegar streets

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Community

Friends of Fonticello Park Launch New Website and Continue Work to Improve Park

Learn more about efforts to make Fonticello/Carter Jones become a park that serves and enriches the community.

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Fonticello/Carter Jones Park has been around in one form or another since 1915. The surrounding area was subdivided and sold as lots, but the 11 acre section remained undeveloped as a park, and Fonticello Park was created alongside the establishment of the Woodland Heights and Swansboro neighborhoods. In 1924, soon after the land was annexed by Richmond, Councilman Carter Jones successfully advocated for the continued use of the land as a park, saving it from development. The park was subsequently renamed for him.

In 2020, the Friends group is made up of neighborhood volunteers who advocate for and collaborate to maintain and improve the park after years of neglect and deferred maintenance.

The Friends of Fonticello Park is actively involved in working with the City of Richmond through the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities to make improvements to the park that are aligned with the needs and vision of the community.

Friends of Fonticello Park recently launched a new slick website (https://fonticelloparkrva.com/) and Instagram @carterjonesfriends. Instagram looks to be a great way to keep up on what’s coming up in the Park and get involved. For example there is a planning meeting tonight.

There are four main areas in the park that the Friends are working to improve right now.

  • The Food Forest – Currently our FREE FarmStand is every Wednesday. Community members can visit any weekly Farm Stand to help set up, break down, go through produce for compost, or help in the food forest with weeding or planting. There’s always lots to do on Wednesdays.Our vision is to transition the FarmStand into an “always open” rotating free farm stand and food pantry, assisted by a network of volunteers who gather viable produce and rotate it into the farm stand while composting what can no longer be used.
  • Dog Park – During the pandemic shut down in 2020, all organized sports at the baseball fields came to a halt. During this time of social isolation, many came to use the baseball fields as a safe space to run their dogs. The park eventually placed “no dog” signs at the entrance of the fields and used heavy chains and locks to prevent people from entering. This didn’t stop people from using their park and fields to exercise their dogs in a safe way in a large expanse of unused space. It was during this time that the need for a dog park became evident.A group of neighbors are currently working together to envision what a dog park could be in order to present their plan to the city. They held their first meeting on August 28th, 2022. After hearing community feedback, the group in attendance felt the eastern baseball field (decommissioned) would be the best place to put a dog park to address concerns about noise and location. Meeting notes can be viewed on the Agendas page and this page will be updated throughout the process to keep the community abreast of the plan and progress.
  • Skate Park – The current conceptual plan and recent community surveys have all advocated to prioritize an expanded skate park. At the meeting held on September 14, 2022, the city stated there was no funding to move forward and that the community would need to raise funds for this expansion.Our plan is to continue to work with both the City and skateboarders to prioritize the expansion of the skatepark. If you are interested in getting involved in this work, please let us know on the form on the Get Involved page.
  • Native Meadow– During the September 21, 2022, Friends of Fonticello Park meeting with Parks and Recreation, Shamar Young proposed that the city could begin immediately working on a native meadow in the old playground space. He indicated they would be willing to till and level the area and plant wildflower seed in that space as part of the city’s attempt to become a “Bee City” .While this idea was intriguing, unfortunately, wildflower mixes are only native to the country usually, not the region. While they would provide immediate gratification, the Friends of Fonticello Park would rather see this done with true native plants from our local ecosystems. We want to make this an educational space in the park, where community members can come to learn about local ecosystem plants, how they support wildlife and native pollinators, increase soil health, and contribute to cleaner waterways. Our hope is that we may even be able to support seed sharing for folks to plant in their own yard gardens.
  • The Spring – They’re also looking at reopening the natural spring that is in the park but there are numerous hurdles including water quality etc. with that plan.

If you want to help the most obvious way is to follow them on Instagram, and check out the website to get involved with meetings and workdays.

Another way to help is to make a financial donation. The Friends have partnered with Verdant Richmond to accept donations.

Verdant Richmond was founded in May, 2017 to address the – at times – poor condition of Richmond’s parks and public green spaces.  Through volunteer efforts and charitable donations from the community, local small businesses, and the city’s large corporations and foundations, we work to revive and maintain the green spaces that provide moments of tranquility to the city’s residents.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Community

Snack Collection for Westover Hills Elementary

Everyone deserves a snack.

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The good folks over at Westover Hills United Methodist Church (1711 Westover Hills Blvd) are helping out Westover Hill Elementary students and you can help as well.

The WHUMC Connect Group is collecting snacks for Westover Hills Elementary! We will be organizing and delivering the snacks at our October 12th meeting and would love to have donations in by then. If you are able to donate, please feel free to drop off at the church! Thank you!

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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