Will Richmond Sell Parkland to Aid Chesterfield County?

June 20, 2017 · 1 minute read

A hiker fords a stream in Richmond’s Larus Park. Credit: Leonard Adkins

When I first started as the Times-Dispatch outdoors columnist in the fall of 2007 one of my first pieces was about Richmond’s Lewis G. Larus Park? Never heard of Larus? You’ve got company. I featured it at the time because I felt it was an under-the-radar star in Richmond’s park scene. About 100 acres and bounded on every side by development and busy roads (Huguenot and Chippenham, for instance), most people drove past it without realizing there was a park there at all.

That was in 2007, and it’s still the case today. If you ever want to spend some time alone in the woods, make the drive to Larus.

So, today’s front page news in the Times-Dispatch caught my eye. T-D reporter Vanessa Remmers writes that Chesterfield County has proposed to lease part of Larus — about an acre — from the city so the county can increase it’s water supply.

“Under the arrangement, Chesterfield would spend an estimated $7.5 million to build and operate a water-pumping station and ground storage tank” in the park. The city would lease the county the land for $1 a year, and, by 2020, when the facility is operational, Richmond would collect about $1.3 million per year from the county.

There are neighbors opposed, critics have raised legal questions about the proposed deal, and Richmond City Councilwoman Kristen Larson “said she was concerned that many residents, including herself, were unaware of the years-long project until recently.”

This is all too fresh for me to render an opinion yet, but check out the article and see what you think. There’s a lot to unpack. And when you get the chance, go visit Larus Park — Richmond’s diamond in the rough.