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Richmond’s Ginter Park Branch Library is Going Green

Residents are encouraged to share their input as planning gets underway
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Message from the James River Association

A group of community partners is working together to plan improvements to the grounds of Richmond’s Ginter Park Branch Library with the intention of managing stormwater and strengthening community resilience through the use of green infrastructure like rain gardens and conservation landscaping. The partnership leading this project, known as the Greening Richmond Public Libraries initiative, includes Richmond Public Library, Richmond Department of Public Utilities/RVAH2O, Four Winds Design and the James River Association. The partners are seeking input from the public as they develop a green infrastructure plan for Ginter Park Branch.

Ginter Park Library. Photo Credit: JRA

“The innovative green infrastructure project underway at Ginter Park Branch will create more welcoming outdoor spaces for library patrons while ensuring alignment with the community’s vision for sustainability and environmental stewardship,” said Scott Firestine, Director of Richmond Public Library.

Community engagement activities kick off this month and include a public meeting that will be held at Ginter Park Branch Library on Wednesday, February 21, at 6:00 pm. The Greening Richmond Public Libraries team will be soliciting input from attendees during the meeting and encourages anybody interested in the project to complete a questionnaire available online and at the library through March 15, 2024.

“Stormwater runoff poses a significant threat to the health of the James River by carrying pollution to the river and its tributaries,” said Justin Doyle, Director of Community Conservation with the James River Association. “Green infrastructure can help reduce polluted stormwater runoff while strengthening the resilience of communities in the face of a changing climate. We are thrilled to be continuing our partnership with Richmond Public Library to plan, design, and implement a green infrastructure plan at Ginter Park Branch.”

The Greening Richmond Public Libraries initiative launched in 2019 with the implementation of a community-supported green infrastructure site plan at Westover Hills Branch Library. Since then, the partners have worked together to engage library users and stakeholders in planning and design processes that resulted in the implementation of green infrastructure site plans at Broad Rock Branch, East End Branch, North Avenue Branch, and West End Branch. The primary goal of these plans is to manage stormwater on and around library grounds with green infrastructure like rain gardens and conservation landscaping. The Greening Richmond Public Libraries team intends to work at Belmont Branch and Hull Street Branch beginning next year.

Example of previous efforts at North Avenue Library. Photo Credit: JRA

The Greening Richmond Public Libraries initiative is made possible by generous support from Altria, Arbor Day Foundation, Richmond Department of Public Utilities/RVAH2O, Richmond Neighborhood Climate Resilience Grant Program, Richmond Public Library Foundation, Virginia Department of Forestry, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency through a grant from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

For more information about the Greening Richmond Public Libraries initiative, please visit thejamesriver.org/greening-richmond-public-libraries.

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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.