DCR received requests for LWCF funding through an open application process that ended in December 2020. Applicants must complete a series of requirements and prepare more detailed project submission to remain eligible for funding. Projects that receive LWCF funding must open the lands to the public within three years. A key feature of the program is that all LWCF projects must be opened and maintained, in perpetuity, as public outdoor recreation areas. This requirement ensures their use for future generations.
Since the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 was established, more than $5 million in LWCF funding has been awarded to projects in the Richmond region. The City of Richmond received a total of $1.5 million between 1966 and 1981 when it was last awarded LWCF funding toward the Broad Rock Recreation Area. The most recent award in the region was for $1.2 million to DCR for the construction of a new pool at Pocahontas State Park in 2002. The Dock Street project marks the largest single award recommended for LWCF funding in the region.
“Green space in our city is a matter of equity. More open, recreational space means healthier communities, happier kids, and a greener city,” said Mayor Levar Stoney. “Thanks to the hard work of CRLC and PRCF, this acquisition will benefit Richmonders for generations to come.”
“Parks and Recreation is excited to acquire this critical parcel of land for our park system that will give us the ability to serve residents for generations to come,” said Chris Frelke, Director of PRCF.
“CRLC is honored to have supported the City of Richmond in preparing this LWCF grant for Dock Street,” said Parker Agelasto, Capital Region Land Conservancy Executive Director. “We’re thrilled that our advocacy for LWCF at the federal level has not only led to the permanent authorization and full funding of LWCF but that these funds are beginning to be invested in our region for the first time in 20 years.”
CRLC is working with its partners to acquire the 5.207 acres at 3011 and 3021 Dock Street to serve the community in multiple ways. This exciting land acquisition will create one contiguous publicly accessible riverfront space and allow for the completion of the Virginia Capital Trail. It will also expand city-owned parkland in Richmond’s East End and enable the establishment of new river access and environmental education programs.
Located between Great Shiplock Park and the former Lehigh Cement Co. site, the parcel that CRLC has under contract is the only remaining privately owned parcel along the north bank of the tidal James River in Richmond. Once funding is secured to permanently protect the property from development most of it will be transferred to the City of Richmond. This transfer will help create a riverfront park featuring access to the James River envisioned by the Richmond Riverfront Plan.
The closing date is scheduled for late Summer 2021. While some funding has been committed and grant writing and fundraising continues, CRLC and The Conservation Fund are seeking the public’s support to raise the capital needed to complete the acquisition in August and transfer the property to the City as soon as possible. Per the terms of the purchase and sales agreement with the seller USP Echo Harbor LLC, the purchase price cannot be made public at this time. It is however based on a fair-market appraisal of the property for its highest and best use.
CRLC intends to coordinate with the City of Richmond to conduct community engagement opportunities to envision uses of the future public open space and park. Community engagement will be conducted in close coordination with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities and will include local stakeholders, community organizations, and the general public.