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Plan for BridgePark RVA, similar to NYC’s High Line, expands

RICHMOND, Va. -- The leaders of a non-profit group hoping to construct a two-mile long greenway that would include a river crossing in downtown Richmond are making their new concept designs public.

BridgePark RVA is working on plans for a linear park that is part walkway, green-space, and public gathering area. The park would utilize existing infrastructure like the Manchester Bridge, Kanawa Plaza, and T. Potterfield Bridge. The concept is similar to High Line park in New York City, but highlights the beauty and history near the James River.

Leaders of the non-profit group have been working and changing the plans since 2012.

“The BridgePark initiative has expanded from its original aim to create a park-like river crossing to become a two mile-long pedestrian and cycle greenway. The proposed greenway would connect the centers of city and state government and VCU’s world-class Medical Center campus in the north to the fine grain streets of the historic and rapidly changing communities of the City’s South Side. Dramatic views of the historic falls of the James River would be the centerpiece of the park experience,” BridgePark RVA wrote in a September news release.

Thursday night, project leaders and architects with Spatial Affairs Bureau, the Los Angeles based firm that designed the latest plans, gave a presentation with their updates to a group of residents. The event also served as a fundraiser for the foundation.

"BridgePark is now moving towards a process to include the initiative in the city’s development plans, including undertaking a series of workshops with various city departments and community stakeholders as a first step,” the organization wrote in September.

A spokesperson for Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney confirmed their planning and development teams have been briefed on the latest proposal, but did not have any further updates about those talks.

Construction estimates for the project are in the millions of dollars, according the group’s website. BridgePark says they have explored federal and state grants to help pay for the multi-million dollar price tag. So far, specifics on a funding source have not been released.

Outside firms are conducting structural and economic studies related to the project, BridgePark said.

Marquan Mosby lives in south Richmond and works in downtown. He already walks across the Manchester Bridge almost daily, and loves the idea of a new linear park.

“Its right near the park where the river is at. Everybody would walk here, walk their dog, walk with their family, everybody could come and see,” Mosby said. "Richmond’s already transformed as it is. . . this Richmond area is getting way better, and I love it man.”

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