Five new public parks for South Richmond

Feb 9, 2024 | by

Did you know that the city is in the process of onboarding 5 new public parks in South Richmond this year? And creating jobs in the process?



201 Hioaks Road – This 4.1 acre space is dominated by a water tower, has wooded area that will provide nature space to what is become a fairly dense area



315 Beaufont Hills Drive – Located in the center of the Beaufont Hills Neighborhood, this 7.6 acre parcel already feels like a wild park. There’s a short social trail and a viewing pier that overlooks the wetlands.



620 Rosemont Road – Approximately 1 acre parcel is in a residential community and backs up to a small ravine adjacent to more than 8 acres of linear open space under Dominion Energy Power Lines; an adjacent 20 acre privately owned parcel is also completely undeveloped. Not very accessible yet.



2100 Colby Lane & 2606 Lynhaven Avenue – At 17.6 acres is the largest of the new park. Broad Rock Creek is a great little waterway and runs through the center of the site, already has rudimentary trails and benches.



2903 Rear Ernest Road – This 2 acre parcel is bounded on the west by a CSX rail line and adjacent to other city owned parcels on the other side of the CSX tracks. Not very accessible yet.



In December 2019, Mayor Levar Stoney issued a proclamation in support of the city joining the Biophilic Cities Network, “a global network of cities working collectively to pursue the vision of a natureful city within their unique and diverse environments and cultures.” Stoney then put together a “Green Team” in January 2020 to work toward the goal of having a park or greenspace within a ten-minute walk of all Richmond residents, with the focus that this goal be met through a lens of social and racial equity.

As an aside – Can you read this and not feel the pre-echo of COVID and then the protests? This whole process feels like something that a city would adopt in response to 2020 – more green space, social and racial equity – but this was in the works just weeks before everything started changing. Crazy.

(On that note – check out Ryan Rinn’s 2021 essay Spaces to Breath for a great read on the importance of these parks.)

In a process that lasted between February and July of 2020, the Grean Team ranked city owned property that could be transferred to Parks & Rec. Among other aspects, they considered census-tract-based scores from the RVAgreen 2050 Climate Equity Index and census tract-based percentage of households without access to a vehicle. From this list the top 5 locations were chosen to become new city parks.

In October 2020, City Council approved ORD.2020-219 which officially transfered and named the new parks.

The plan now is for more community engagement – “the basic stuff”, says Ryan Rinn, Capital Projects Planner at Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities – “trails to make the parks accessible, and see what the neighbors want to have in the parks, so they can walk though and have imagination about what they want to see.”

This past January, City Council approved grant funding for Groundwork RVA, Inc., Southside ReLeaf, and Virginia Community Voice “for the purpose of providing workforce development opportunities through the creation of greenspaces in the southside of the city of Richmond.” These groups will work to get these park spaces built out, by training and paying local residents to do the work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *