On Friday, December 2nd, nearly four years to the day the Richmond Riverfront Plan was adopted by City Council, Mayor Jones, city officials, and hundreds of Richmonders celebrated the opening of the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge on Brown’s Island. The shiny centerpiece of the riverfront establishes a critical pedestrian and cyclist connection between Brown’s Island and Manchester, receiving bonus points for being universally accessible. The bridge is already seeing a significant number of visitors with more than 35,000 visits counted between December 2nd and 31st by the James River Park System. Benches were recently installed on the bridge and final touches, such as interpretive signage, will be added to the bridge in the near future. Most importantly, the bridge is open so visit it!
So what comes next? The answer to this question largely depends on the desires of Richmonders and the priorities of new Mayor Levar Stoney. Projects in planning include the Intermediate Terminal and Lehigh, also known as “Downriver.” Other projects like the Gillies Creek Greenway, Missing Link Trail, Mayo’s Island, and USP are on the horizon.
Downriver: Improvements to public spaces at Intermediate Terminal and the former site of the Lehigh Cement silos are in planning. Richmond continues to work with Hargreaves Associates to plan these public spaces that facilitate the Virginia Capital Trail and provide river access. Concepts for Downriver will be presented at a public meeting on January 11th at 6:00 pm in City Council Chambers at City Hall. Access the proposed Riverfront Plan amendment and design presentation via the following links: amendment and design presentation.
Gillies Creek Greenway: The Gillies Creek Greenway is a critical connection between the East End neighborhoods of Church Hill and Fulton and the riverfront. The Gillies Creek Greenway Plan by Josh Mallow proposes a greenway paralleling channelized Gillies Creek, passing by Stone Brewing, and connecting with the Virginia Capital Trail.
Missing Link Trail: The so-called Missing Link Trail, currently a weak trail connection between the Manchester Climbing Wall and Belle Isle, becomes even more of a priority with the completion of the Potterfield Memorial Bridge.
Mayo’s Island: Mayo’s Island is a privately-owned island comprised of nearly 14 acres at the bottom of the Falls of the James accessible via the Mayo Bridge. Surface parking lots and a recycling center currently call the island home.
USP (also known as “Echo Harbour” and “Richmond on the James”): This privately-owned riverfront gem is comprised of 5 acres and located between Great Shiplock Park and Lehigh.