The Conservation Fund had big news to share yesterday.
The Conservation Fund announced its purchase of the 5.2-acre Dock Street property on the James River in downtown Richmond, Virginia. Today, The Conservation Fund, Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC) and James River Association (JRA) celebrate this acquisition and JRA’s future plans to build an environmental education center on a portion of the land. This is part of a strategic effort between the three partners and the City of Richmond to protect the property in perpetuity for the public.
The effort will have various benefits to the Richmond community including adding new public access to the riverfront, enhancing the Virginia Capital Trail and youth education programs, and safeguarding the historic “View That Named Richmond.” Conservation easements will be placed on the land to prevent future commercial development of the site and ensure public ownership of the riverfront from Rocketts Landing to Browns Island and the Belle Isle pedestrian bridge. They will also support water quality for more than 2.6 million people who live in the 10,000-square-mile James River watershed, as well as wildlife like the Atlantic sturgeon. Read more about the historic Dock Street property and its various community benefits here.
The CRLC entered into a contract for the historic Dock Street property last year. The contract was then assigned to The Conservation Fund for temporary ownership while the partners raise funding to complete the transaction.
“The ability to help our partners purchase and secure key properties like this one quickly and effectively is what The Conservation Fund was built for,” said Heather Richards, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director at the Fund. “Increasing access to the James River and making trail connections for urban centers has never been more important for Virginia’s environmental health and community and economic vitality.”
In the near future, JRA will purchase approximately one acre of the land from The Conservation Fund to establish a new river center for environmental education. The program will focus on connecting Richmond youth with river-based, hands-on learning experiences while inspiring confidence, ecological understanding, nature appreciation, and conservation action. Learn more about JRA’s James River Center here.
“Our goal is to ensure that every child growing up in ‘America’s Best River Town’ is introduced to the James River and enjoys a lifetime of benefits that the river can provide,” said Bill Street, JRA’s Chief Executive Officer. “Building a leading-edge education center on Richmond’s riverfront will expand our ability to engage local youth, particularly in the historically underserved East End.”
“The James River Center represents a great opportunity for Richmond Public Schools students to take part in meaningful environmental science education that focuses on the issues and resources within their city,” said Josh Bearman, Science Curriculum and Instructional Specialist with Richmond Public Schools. “Its presence so close to downtown will greatly increase the possibility of access to high impact field experiences on the river, a crucial piece of RPS Science’s goals for place-based learning.”
The rest of the 5.2 acres will be transferred to the City of Richmond to become part of the James River Park System where it’ll be opened for public riverfront recreation and secure a critical link of the Virginia Capital Trail—a 51.2-mile trail that connects Richmond to Williamsburg. This effort will allow the trail to be moved entirely off city streets and onto waterfront parkland.
The CRLC played an essential role in securing a contract with the private seller to make this effort a reality. They will coordinate with the City of Richmond and James River Association to conduct community engagement to envision uses of the future public open space and park, as well as continuing to work with all parties to secure the remaining funding needed to fully open this property to the public and permanently protect this critical riverfront.
“As Richmond’s local land trust having played a critical role in the permanent protection of the James River Park System more than a decade ago, CRLC is honored to continue its efforts to make more places available for the public to enjoy and implement important components of community support plans such as the Riverfront Plan and Richmond 300 Master Plan,” said Parker C. Agelasto CRLC’s Executive Director.
“I applaud The Conservation Fund, Capital Region Land Conservancy, and James River Association for working together to expand the James River Park System with the purchase of 5.2 acres of riverfront property,” said City of Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. “This significant acquisition, and plans for the James River Center, will benefit Richmonders for generations to come.”
“Permanently conserving this scenic and historic riverfront area is the intentional result of tremendously successful collaborative efforts and undertakings by the dedicated individuals, organizations, and entities involved,” says The Honorable Cynthia I. Newbille, President, Richmond City Council, Councilmember, Richmond East End 7th Voter District. “This work and the plans slated for this area are transformational in nature and will continue to strengthen the beauty, enjoyment, and value of our natural river asset for all Richmond residents and visitors in helping to make our city an even better, more equitable, and more beautiful place to live, love, work, learn, play, visit, enjoy, and raise a family.”
Grants for this project have been awarded for the City’s future acquisition from Virginia’s portion of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation, which have a match component and requires an immediate need for private donations. JRA’s river center is part of its $20 million James Changer Campaign. Readers can inquire about funding needs and ways to support the land purchase with The Conservation Fund and CRLC, and about the river center with the James River Association to learn more.
Road Closures Around Capitol on Friday for Protests
Some closures are for a march but other roads will be from 6 AM – 4 PM.
For approximately one hour, 1 – 2 p.m. on Friday, September 17, several roads around Capitol Square will be closed to accommodate the March for Life demonstration march. Three roads will not be available for street parking.
The planned beginning and end location of the march is East Main and 12th streets. The following streets will be closed as needed:
- East Main Street between North 9th and North 14th streets
- North 9th Street between East Main and East Broad streets
- East Broad Street between North 9th and North 14th streets
- North 14th Street between East Broad and East Main streets
The following roads will have no parking zones in effect from 6 a.m. – 4 p.m.:
- Southbound lane of North 14th Street between East Broad and Bank streets
- East Main Street between North 8th and North 12th streets
- North 12th Street between Bank Street and East Main Street
Suspect Sought in Westover Hills Boulevard Commercial Robbery/Aggravated Assault
At approximately 10:32 p.m., Friday, September 10, a male suspect wearing a black ski mask entered the business, located in the 1200 block of Westover Hills Boulevard, wielding a large edged weapon and demanding cash from the register.
Richmond Police detectives are asking for the public’s help to identify the individual in the attached photos who is a suspect in a commercial robbery and aggravated assault at a business on Westover Hills Boulevard last week.
At approximately 10:32 p.m., Friday, September 10, a male suspect wearing a black ski mask entered the business, located in the 1200 block of Westover Hills Boulevard, wielding a large edged weapon and demanding cash from the register. The suspect assaulted and stabbed an employee before stealing cash and fleeing on foot.
The employee was transported to a local hospital with injuries that were not considered life threatening.
Anyone with information about the identity of this suspect is asked to contact Third Precinct Detective R. Bailey at (804) 646-3912 or call Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.
Pipeline Still Closed but Work has Begun
The guesstimate for the reopening of the trail is two weeks.
Weekly Pipeline Update because our construction work has begun!
First and foremost, a reminder that, as of August 2nd, all sanitary (wastewater) flow has been diverted upstream at Tredegar, so any flow you may see leaking from Pipeline is river water that’s seeping in from Haxall Canal, groundwater, and/or stormwater from Richmond’s summer rain.Now for the good stuff: The scoop on the repair process!All materials and supplies needed for repairs have arrived, and CSX gave us the green-light to start working on the pipe on Monday (09.13.2021), so our crews got to work!This week our team is using a cement substance to fill in those pesky leaking holes along the pipe.Then, next week, our team will layer an epoxy and a mesh on the bottom and surrounding the entire pipe’s external circumference.Following the completion of all this work, our team will once again CCTV (closed-circuit television) the pipe to get an internal look at how we did. Only after we check our work and give it the good ol’ thumbs up will the trail and beaches alongside it be reopened. (We think we’re about two weeks away from that point.)Until then, Pipeline trail and its adjacent beaches are closed from Brown’s Island (under the 9th Street bridge) to the downstream, eastern end of the trail behind Virginia Street and Vistas On The James.
More soon, folks—stay tuned!