Editor’s note: This is the first in an occasional series by BridgePark Executive Director Ted Elmore on the past, present and future of the Richmond non-profit’s effort to build a bridge that’s primarily a park across the James River.
Today, more than ever, we need places to be together, learn together, and grow together.
On Monday morning, with a heavy heart, I joined hundreds of Richmonders at the new Maggie Walker monument on Broad Street to talk about history, healing, and hope. On Monday afternoon, with some weird sunglasses, I met hordes more people at Brown’s Island and the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge, all celebrating community, curiosity, and wonder.
In less than a year, we have created two new destinations downtown for engagement, inspiration, and
understanding. These types of powerful places are vital to our shared sense of community.
There may be no better place to inspire the River City than the city’s river. In 2012, the city adopted a
Riverfront Plan and, separately, a group of community leaders formed Richmond BridgePark
Foundation, a non-profit organized to develop a unique public gathering and education space
that spans the beautiful James River.
BridgePark is a proposed linear public park that would cross the James River and connect the riverfront experience to the city center on both sides of the James. Inspired by The High Line in New York City, the park would transform a section of 9th Street (including a portion of the Manchester Bridge) into a world-class destination for biking, walking, art, education, events, and community cohesion, all over one of the most dramatic urban viewsheds anywhere.
The city-level park would complement both Richmond’s Downtown Plan and its Riverfront Plan. Imagine a green gateway to a vibrant downtown and a seamless connection to our treasured river.
The Foundation has concluded the first stage of architecture and engineering work with a world class
team of professionals led by Peter Culley of the architecture firm, Spatial Affairs Bureau, and Tim Davey of The Timmons Group. Peter is known for his work as project manager of the VMFA’s McGlothlin Wing expansion, and recent projects at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and Southbank Centre in London. Tim’s team has assisted in numerous place making projects in Richmond and beyond. This first phase unlocked the tremendous potential of BridgePark to impact the region.
A key aspect of BridgePark planning is you. Since the Foundation formed, the park has been shaped by the community and will continue to evolve and grow by learning from all Richmonders. Over the next few months, RichmondOutside.com will feature summaries of park priorities and updates on the
Foundation’s progress. Follow us for more on what BridgePark is, why we all think it is important, what we envision it can do, and how it works.
The series seeks to inform the public and create a dialogue that improves the project. We ask you to
read and respond, keep up to speed and keep in touch! The park will not happen without your support.
We know that BridgePark can be a stunningly beautiful place. We also now know that it must be much
more than that. With your help in these early stages, we believe we can also make it a platform for our
community consciousness, a place for connection, and a vehicle for change.
Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.