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Bellemeade Green Street Project Helps People and the Watershed

Beautiful changes are coming to a nearly 1/2 mile stretch of Minefee Street.

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Great news from the James River Association

After years of community engagement and planning, construction is underway on a green infrastructure project in the City of Richmond. The James River Association (JRA) in partnership with the City of Richmond, GroundworkRVA, Timmons Group, 3North, and Harbor Dredge & Dock broke ground in early May on the Green Street Project that spans a 0.4-mile segment of Minefee Street, located between Hillside Court and Bellemeade Park, in the Bellemeade community of southside Richmond, Virginia. The project is intended to create a safer walking and biking route for residents, improve local water quality in Albro Creek that flows to the James River, and support green workforce development. The project is being driven by the ideas generated with the Bellemeade community and funded by grants secured by JRA.

A ‘Walkable Watershed’ integrates the flow of water and people into a cohesive strategy to improve the overall health of the community. The Walkable Watershed Plan for Bellemeade was developed in 2012 by Skeo Solutions and the Green Infrastructure Center and focused on five primary goals: 1) connecting the neighborhood to the creek and the James River; 2) improving walking routes to the community center and school; 3) slowing flow, increasing infiltration and cleaning stormwater; 4) developing a sense of community around the creek and school; and 4) creating outdoor education opportunities. Green streets were at the heart of this plan and Minefee Street was selected as the pilot because of its key role in connecting residents from Hillside Court and the neighborhood to the Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School, Bellemeade Park, and the Bellemeade Community Center. “After years of community engagement and planning, it feels great to break ground on the Bellemeade Green Street Project and see the plan come to life,” said Amber Ellis, JRA’s Senior Watershed Restoration Manager.

Green streets use vegetation such as street trees, planter beds, and other green infrastructure practices that help absorb stormwater runoff, reduce the urban heat island effect, and promote community resilience in the face of climate change. The Bellemeade Green Street Project, designed by 3North and Timmons Group, features the installation of a bioretention filter, eight planter beds, and two Filterra boxes along Minefee Street, between Harwood and Gunn streets. Impervious asphalt was removed and replaced by the bioretention filter and planter beds that are currently being planted with 21 street trees and 417 native plants that support pollinators. The Green Street will capture 11.11 pounds of Nitrogen, 1.81 pounds of Phosphorous, and 485.8 of Total Suspended Solids annually, before it reaches Albro Creek via stormwater runoff. The second phase of the project calls for a protected bike lane along the 0.4 mile Green Street. JRA will continue working with the community and partners to implement the bike lane in future years.

Image provided by James River Association

Harbor Dredge & Dock was selected to install the new infrastructure and Groundwork RVA will install and maintain street trees and plants along Minefee Street. Green workforce development is integrated into the project through JRA’s partnership with GroundworkRVA. “Groundwork RVA is a community-based non-profit working to transform the natural and built environment in Richmond, VA. We work on community supported initiatives towards the goal of a greener and more resilient Richmond that works for all. The pandemic highlighted what many of us have known for quite some time – that there are huge gaps in our community,” said Rob Jones, Executive Director of Groundwork RVA. “For many families in South Richmond, that includes a lack of access to fresh foods, green spaces and even shade from trees. All of this leads to serious challenges that make it harder to survive, let alone thrive.”

“Our partnership with the James River Association on the Minefee Green Street, is an important step towards helping young men and women, many of whom live in South Richmond “earn while they learn.” Our Green Workforce will have the opportunity to be side-by-side as the project proceeds, from the ground-up!  Learning to do work that is not only vital for our communities today but that contributes to the survival of future generations, especially as we tackle climate change. Healthy communities need healthy people – physically, emotionally and economically ” said Jones. “We appreciate JRA’s stepping up to help us create a full-spectrum learning opportunity for our young people and look forward to many other projects to come.”

JRA and GroundworkRVA are looking for volunteers to get their hands dirty and help install native plants on June 18 from 1-4pm. Visit https://form.jotform.com/211404428625955 to register.

For more information about the Bellemeade Green Street Project, visit: https://thejamesriver.org/bellemeade-green-street-project/

The Bellemeade Green Street Project is supported by funding from Altria, Chesapeake Bay Trust, City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities, Virginia Department of Forestry, United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 3, Baltimore City’s Office of Sustainability, and Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

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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.

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Community

Tour de Fall Line Donation Based this Year

The RVAMore website isn’t up to date with the new race information yet but I’m sure will be available soon.

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RVA More’s Tour de Fall Line is back but a little different this year. All proceeds directly benefit rvaMORE to help enhance your outdoor experience on our local trails.

The entry fee is WAIVED.

Our only request is that you stop by the rvaMORE tent, say hello and drop 20 bucks into the trail fund wheelbarrow.

This event has been our premier fundraiser for a number of years; but without the aid stations, food, music, and beverages, we
elected to go with optional donations rather than an entry fee.

What to expect: You can choose to ride whatever distance you want and start at any point along the route. As always, GPS maps will be available for download.

The full course will be marked by volunteers. There will be no aid stations.

This is a ride of fun and self-sufficiency – the DNA of MTB riding.

Bring your friends or enjoy a solo soul ride for the day.

We’ll be hanging out all day.

We sincerely hope you can join us for a day of celebrating our city trail system!

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Community

Westover Hills Boulevard Death Investigation

There was a fatal shooting in the 400 block of Westover Hills Boulevard on Sunday.

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RPD reporting the following:

At approximately 9:53 p.m. (Sunday, October 24th), Richmond Police responded to the 400 block of Westover Hills Boulevard for the report of a shooting. Officers arrived and located an adult male with an apparent gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Medical Examiner will determine cause and manner of death.

Anyone with information about this death investigation is asked to call Major Crimes Detective A. Coates at (804) 646-0729 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones also may be used. All Crime Stoppers reporting methods are anonymous.

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Community

48 Hrs Store Now Has Zero Hours

Sometime over the weekend the local convenience store closed for good.

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The plan dear readers were to swing by this weekend and ask what was up after reading various rumors about the fate of the little store that many folks have a love/hate relationship with. My timing was poor because I was greeted by the scene above. A quick check of the property records doesn’t list a recent change and there aren’t any permits on the door indicating work. The planned work on the adjacent strip of stores doesn’t include the 48 Hrs Store.

So let’s go straight to the rumors.

The most credible from two second-hand sources is that the store will reopen under new management.

Someone has also floated a vape shop moving in.

The store was never pretty but the owners, when they were in town, were super nice. It was for many years our go-to spot for beer and chips. That was about all we bought there, beer and chips.

We’ll keep an eye out and update if we get anything beyond a rumor.

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