NPS Partnership Connects Community with Downtown Riverfront

Historic Tredegar on the James River


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News Release Date: July 11, 2017

Contact: Andrea DeKoter, (804) 226-5023

Thanks to a partnership between the National Park Service and ten community partners, Richmonders will be able to enjoy even greater opportunities along downtown’s riverfront. The collaboration, which began in 2015 and includes the American Civil War Museum, City of Richmond James River Parks, National Park Service, and Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA), will lead to the addition of two riverfront bus stops connecting the region to the waterfront and has already resulted in the development of an improved trail map of the James River Park System, among other exciting changes.

“This collaboration highlights the role that Richmond’s national parks can play in connecting the community to their parks, recreational and museum spaces, including places such as Historic Tredegar” said David Ruth, superintendent of Richmond National Battlefield Park and Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site. “In fact, this has become an important part of our National Park Service mission in the 21st century.”

Anedra Bourne, Tourism Coordinator for the City of Richmond, added, “The City of Richmond is grateful to have been a partner in this effort. The connectivity of the riverfront – one of our greatest assets –through various modes of transportation offers residents and visitors alike endless opportunities to enjoy the James River and neighboring attractions.”

The partnership assesses opportunities for improved connections between the partner locations along Richmond’s riverfront. The physical proximity of Belle Isle, the National Park Service Civil War Visitor Center at Tredegar Iron Works and the American Civil War Museum offers an opportunity to expand on the existing collaboration between those partner organizations. An estimated 1.2 million visitors already explore these sites, use the river in a variety of ways, or attend special events on the riverfront. However, there is a need to expand opportunities to include more of Richmond’s city population.

Christy Coleman, co-CEO of the American Civil War Museum, noted, “This partnership shows what can happen when private and public organizations come together to improve quality of life, recreation and cultural opportunities for communities.”

Initiated by the National Park Service, the partnership is intended to help reach new, diverse audiences and facilitate connections between Richmond-area residents and the downtown riverfront. Two years in, the group has a substantial list of community projects and through a series of partner-based committees they are moving forward with the following efforts:
  • Working with GRTC and City Council to add two new riverfront bus stops on the north side of the James River, thus increasing access and mobility for residents and visitors while also helping to manage the increasing parking demand.
  • Creating a Youth Leaders Workshop to support youth programs and provide learning and networking opportunities for (adult) youth leaders in the region, using Richmond’s riverfront as a nexus for collaboration.
  • Working with the James River Park System to update and expand the existing trail map in kiosks, in printed brochures, and online digitally. They worked with a designer to add visitor-friendly elements like family-friendly paths, universal accessibility, restrooms and changing areas, public water fountains, GRTC Pulse bus stops, the canal boat tour kiosk, bike racks, the NPS Visitor Center, and nearby riverfront museums.
Other ongoing projects include working with the city to add a riverfront Bike Share station to encourage more riverfront access and healthy recreation; working with Venture Richmond to install a new water fountain on Brown’s Island for the increased number of visitors; and installing a new informational kiosk on the Tredegar site that will be shared by all partners. The committees will continue to meet through 2017.
This endeavor is a part of the National Park Service’s Urban Agenda, an effort to work outside of park boundaries with community partners to reach new, diverse audiences and connect those individuals with their urban national parks.
Involved Community Partners: National Park Service, Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA), City of Richmond, American Civil War Museum, Venture Richmond, Sports Backers, Active RVA, Greater Richmond Transit Company, Groundwork RVA, James River Association, YMCA of Greater Richmond

Last updated: July 11, 2017

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