I recently spoke with Warren Foster, a river lover and board member for the Friends of the James River Park. Foster is the brains behind what is turning out to be a really good idea for the river and the James River Park. Maybe you’ve seen them around, the JRPS license plates? They’re very cool. (If you haven’t, there’s bound to be one or two in the Reedy Creek parking lot anytime you go.)
Foster floated the idea of a JRPS license plate about five years ago. It’s a process that requires General Assembly approval, and in the first year Foster failed to get the 350 commitments necessary move to the next step. The following year he did, and the plates were approved. In 2010 they went on sale, like other specialty plates, for $25. Foster told me that until 1,000 plates are sold, the DMV keeps all that money. But after 1,000, the non-profit organization on the plates gets $15 of the $25. Since right now there are about 1,400 plates out on the streets, the Friends stand to take in about $6,000. The check — their first one — should go out in the next couple of months.
And it gets better: From here on out, as long as there more than 1,000 plates out there, the Friends will get that $15 for EVERY plate registered. So let’s say between now and March 31 (the cutoff) of next year, there have been 2,000 plates registered, the Friends would take in $30,000.
“It’s going to be huge money,” Foster said. “There’s no reason we can’t get to $30,000. That is a gigantic amount of money. That’s more than we’ve ever had.”
Warren Foster on Williams Island
For years, funds from groups like the Friends, JROC and Richmond MORE have helped augment the paltry $35,000 operating budget given to the JRPS. Needless to say, these additional funds will be a very large shot in the arm for the park.
Click here to learn more about the plates and to sign up for one