City protects James River Park - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

City protects James River Park

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email                                      

Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -A Richmond landmark is now under safe keeping. Friday, city leaders and the governor signed a conservation easement protecting the James River Park System from any future growth and development.

As of Friday, the James River Park is the only urban park in the country protected forever from development.

Richmond is known for the James. The river winds through the heart of the city but the encroaching skyline worried Charles Price. For the last ten years he's fought to have the park permanently protected.

"You have to do this as a safety guard because you don't know what the future's going to bring. Or how cash strapped the government is going to be and decide it's going to sell off a little snippet here, a little snipped there," said Price.

And with six signatures, his dream was finally realized

"It's just a marvelous day for Richmond and day for celebration for it's citizens. We've accomplished something really important here." Price said.

"When he said it to me he said ‘Why don't we put an easement on it' and I said 'That's a no brainer. Let's do it,'" said Kathy Graziano, City Council President.
 
280 acres of the James River Park are now protected from growth and development, from Belle Isle, to Pony Pasture, to the Great Ship Lock Park.

"If we develop it we'll never get it back," Governor Tim Kaine said.

Governor Tim Kaine says 25 percent of the state's growth since Jamestown has happened in the last 25 years. He says protecting the last open spaces has been a priority.

"We will continue to grow because we're a great state, but if we're not careful that growth will mean that these beautiful places that we love and enjoy will not be available for our kids and grand kids," said Kaine.

The governor made it his goal to protect 400,000 acres in Virginia during his four years in office. This latest conservation easement brings him up to 350,000 acres.

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