From yesterday’s press release:
Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC), in partnership with The Conservation Fund, James River Association and City of Richmond, is honored to announce that it has entered a contract to purchase the properties located at 3011 and 3021 Dock Street in the City of Richmond. CRLC is working with its partners to acquire the 5.207 acres to serve the community in multiple ways. This exciting land acquisition will create one contiguous publicly accessible riverfront space and allow for the completion of the Virginia Capital Trail. It will also expand city-owned parkland in Richmond’s East End and enable the establishment of new river access and environmental education programs.
Located between Great Shiplock Park and the former Lehigh Cement Co. site, the parcel that CRLC has under contract is the only remaining privately owned parcel along the north bank of the tidal James River in Richmond. Once funding is secured to permanently protect the property from development most of it will be transferred to the City of Richmond. This transfer will help create a riverfront park featuring access to the James River envisioned by the Richmond Riverfront Plan.
“The life of our great city, and the health and welfare of our residents, has always been tied to access to our river and riverfront, and after the year we’ve been through, that is as important today as it’s ever been,” said Mayor Levar Stoney, speaking today at Great Shiplock Park. “I’d like to thank our partners at the Capital Region Land Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, the James River Association, and all the organizations and individuals who worked so hard to preserve our city’s iconic views and natural beauty to create additional parkland for refuge and recreation that can be enjoyed by all residents for generations to come.”
By acquiring and protecting the properties at 3011 and 3021 Dock Street, CRLC, The Conservation Fund and the City of Richmond will fulfill one of the most referenced components of the local comprehensive plan over the past 50 years. Specifically, the 2009 Richmond Downtown Plan highlights “preserving existing and historic viewsheds towards the river is essential to connecting the city to the river. Future development along the riverfront needs to be carefully considered so that it will not impact significant historic views such as “the view that named Richmond” from the top of Libby Hill Park.” It is noteworthy that this acquisition comes on the 170th anniversary of the City of Richmond acquiring 7 acres to become Libby Hill Park. It was one of the first five parks in the city and designated by city engineer Wilfred Cutshaw to offer “breathing places” for citizens to take in healthier air.
“For nearly twenty years, Scenic Virginia has advocated for the preservation of The View That Named Richmond through the acquisition of this parcel for parkland,” said Scenic Virginia Executive Director Leighton Powell. “Today is the realization of a dream come true, and we and our supporters could not be more thrilled or grateful that the historic view that connects Richmond to its sister city Richmond-Upon-Thames will be protected much in the same way that it has been in England for more than a century.”
CRLC has received support for the purchase of the riverfront parcel from The Conservation Fund and James River Association. CRLC is receiving financial and logistics support from The Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit organization that specializes in working with local partners to protect land and water resources. The James River Association, a local member-supported nonprofit organization, has also pledged its support for CRLC’s acquisition of the parcel as a financial partner.
“The Conservation Fund is pleased to be partnering with CRLC to protect this critical piece of riverfront in downtown Richmond,” said Heather Richards, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director for The Conservation Fund. “Increasing access to the James River and making trail connections for urban centers has never been more important, as we’ve seen over the past year. This new parkland will serve the needs of so many Virginians and expand the vital connection between Richmond’s residents and the River.”
“The James River Association is a proud financial partner in the purchase of these five acres along the James River in the City of Richmond,” said Bill Street, Chief Executive Officer of the James River Association. “The riverfront parcel has great potential to provide needed access to the James River for outdoor recreation and environmental education experiences in Richmond’s East End.”
The closing date is scheduled for late Summer 2021. While some funding has been committed and grant writing and fundraising continues, CRLC and The Conservation Fund are seeking the public’s support to raise the capital needed to complete the acquisition in August and transfer the property to the City as soon as possible. Per the terms of the purchase and sales agreement with the seller USP Echo Harbor LLC, the purchase price cannot be made public at this time. It is however based on a fair-market appraisal of the property for its highest and best use.
CRLC intends to coordinate with the City of Richmond to conduct community engagement opportunities to envision uses of the future public open space and park. Community engagement will be conducted in close coordination with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities and will include local stakeholders, community organizations, and the general public.
“Not only are we proud to be adding additional park and open space lands to the serve the many residents and visitors of the Richmond region,” said CRLC’s Executive Director Parker C. Agelasto, “we are honored that this project is filling a critical need within the Riverfront Plan as well as protecting the incredible views from Libby Hill that have been part of a defining landscape for the region over many centuries.”
The USP Echo Harbor property had historically been Richmond’s busiest port prior to the expansion to Intermediate Terminal and relocation in 1940 to the Port of Richmond off Deepwater Terminal Road. In 2013, the City approved a plan of development containing more than 1,000,000 square feet in a nine (9) story building. Advocates for the Libby Hill Viewshed had expressed great concern that such intense development would irrevocably harm the “View that Named Richmond.”
In 2012, the City purchased the 1.5-acre Lehigh Cement Co. property for $2 million in order to expand public access to the James River and complete the Virginia Capital Trail prior to the 2015 UCI Road World Championships. The 2001 Richmond Master Plan stipulated that the City should endeavor to “acquire underutilized industrial, institutional or commercial property to provide additional public access to the James River. Any lands acquired should be carefully selected to minimize conflicts between adjacent land uses and new public usage. Do not promote the taking of private property to achieve greater public river access.”
The 2012 Richmond Riverfront Plan seeks to “improve visual and physical access to the river. In addition to creating new view corridors to the James River, preserving existing and historic viewsheds towards the river is essential to connecting the city to the river. Future development along the riverfront needs to be carefully considered so that it will not impact significant historic views such as ‘the view that named Richmond’ from the top of Libby Hill Park.”
Most recently, the newest citywide master plan Richmond 300 looks to “reserve appropriate riverfront and canal-facing sites for public amenities and river-related development such as boating services, picnics, etc.” Such will be the case of the 5.2 acres being acquired by Capital Region Land Conservancy.
Rezoning Request for a Mixed Use Building at Dunston and Westover Hill Boulevard
The rezoning – Planning Meeting (virtual) is scheduled for May 17th at 1:30pm and the request is to change from R-5 Residential.
Spotted on Forest View Neighborhood Facebook posted by Ashley
The rezoning signs have gone up for the Old Christmas Tree Lot that’s across from the Valero. The developer is applying for a Special Use Permit (R-63). It’s currently a R-5 Residential.
The rezoning – Planning Meeting (virtual) is scheduled for May 17th at 1:30pm. https://richmondva.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx I understand that you can submit comments ahead of the meeting.The developer (whom I have no association with- just sharing what I know) is planning on building a mix use building.– 3 Story Building– The third floor will be SIX Apartments ( Four 1 bedroom apartments and Two 2 bedroom apartments).– The second floor will be office space– And the first floor will be retail– Trash service will be a dumpster with a privacy screen– UPDATED: 9 spots parking spots + 1 handicapped parking spot = 10 parking spots behind the building but expected street parking will be used– At least a year lease for the apartments / targeting young professionals
The images were distributed at a Forest Hill Neighborhood Association Meeting.
South of the James Community Festival Morphing into Mile of Music at Forest Hill Park
On Saturday, June 12th you’ll be able to walk around Forest Hill Park and enjoy some sweet sounds.
In previous years the Richmond Symphony would set up their really big tent and host music. This year they’re still playing music but it’s a little different. On Saturday, June 12th you’ll be able to walk around Forest Hill Park and enjoy some sweet sounds.
While we are encouraged by the progress being made in the state of Virginia, the Richmond Symphony has decided to take a different direction with the South of the James Community Festival this year, primarily due to COVID and still needing to maintain social distancing protocols, etc. With that in mind, we are moving forward with an alternative approach.
Please join us at the new event, Mile for Music: https://fb.me/e/1eT2qOcJt
Over the course of two hours, Mile of Music will have several performing groups set-up along an approximate 1-mile route within Forest Hill Park – you can take your time to enjoy music in the park from 2-4pm! Hope to see you there!
Richmond BizSense Reporting: Nonprofit Little Hands that Clothes Babies Moves Into Stratford Hills
The nonprofit takes donated clothes and other items and distributes them to children.
From Richmond BizSense.com:
Little Hands opened a new office at 7101-L Forest Hill Ave. in the Shops at Stratford Hills in early April. The nonprofit collects donated new and like-new clothing, diapers, soap and other items for children up to 3 years old and then distributes the donations to children referred by its partner network.
“We provide essentials to young children in need in the greater Richmond area,” founder and executive director Taylor Keeney said. “That (age range) is in particular a time when kids are growing and constantly needing new clothing and gear.”
Little Hands launched out of Keeney’s garage in 2019, and by the fall of that year moved into a classroom at Second Baptist Church in Henrico. After heightened demand spurred by the pandemic, the nonprofit relocated again.
Details from Little Hands Instagram on how you can make a donation.
We are opening the doors to our new office on Wednesday! Come see us this week!
Our new office is located at 7101 Forest Hill Ave., Suite L, Richmond, VA 23225. It is in the Shops at Stratford Hills, right in between Publix and Target.
All donations must be brought to the back door. When you pull into the shopping center, drive around to the back (either around the Publix or Target). There is a sign on the Little Hands door! Ring the doorbell and a volunteer will meet you at the door.
For a refersher on the items we accept, and what must be new versus gently used, visit www.littlehandsva.org/how-to-help.
We will be posting our regular hours for the spring later this week, including some Saturday hours coming up in April. See you soon!