Date set for unveiling of Harvey family bridge at Forest Hill Park

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Richmond will dedicate the Harvey Family Memorial Bridge and to unveil a nearby marker at Forest Hill Lake Sunday, September 19 at 2 p.m. in Forest Hill Park.

Work on a new pedestrian bridge in the park was delayed because of problems meeting federal environmental regulations. City leaders say they were having trouble getting permits to build the bridge because it's in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

That delayed the unveiling of a plaque for the Harvey family, who were murdered in 2006.

Here is more information from the press release:

On Sunday, September 19, people from across the city of Richmond are invited to come together in healing and celebration as they help dedicate a new pedestrian bridge named for the Harvey Family in Forest Hill Park. Beginning at 2 p.m., musicians, a balloon artist, children and families will be present as city officials cut the ribbon on the bridge across Reedy Creek where it flows into the lake and Friends of Forest Hill Park unveil a granite marker nearby. Access to the site is by paved pathway downhill from 42nd St. and New Kent Ave., or by steps accessible from 34th St. near Stonewall Ave.

The new bridge--strong, safe, and handsome--replaces a temporary crossing built after Hurricanes Isabel (2003) and Gaston (2004) raged through Virginia, taking out trees, power lines, and storm sewers. During the six years since then, the City of Richmond has worked to repair and reclaim much of what was destroyed by these storms.

But this bridge is also a response to disaster of another kind: the unspeakable tragedy that took the lives of the Harvey Family on January 1, 2006, when Bryan, a nationally recognized rock musician, and Kathy, co-owner of the Richmond's popular World of Mirth toy store, along with daughters Stella (9) and Ruby (4), were killed by intruders into their South Richmond home, near Forest Hill Park.

When the replacement bridge was first proposed by the city's Department of Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities, Friends of Forest Hill Park (FFHP), a volunteer support group, suggested that the new bridge in Forest Hill Park become a focal point for healing and joy in memory of the Harveys, and as a bond of friendship between South Richmond's Woodland Heights and Forest Hill neighborhoods, which flank the park to the east and west. Last spring, City Council unanimously approved a proposal put forth by 4th district council member Kathy Graziano to name the new bridge in honor of the Harvey Family.

According to Paige Harvey, Bryan's sister, the family is pleased with the bridge dedication. "It's a touching memorial to Bryan, Kathy and the girls," she noted. "They loved their neighborhood and Forest Hill Park. They frequently took advantage of all it had to offer and would have really enjoyed the improvements to the lake and the new bridge."

Last spring, when FFHP put out a request to the community for funds to help cover the cost of a granite and bronze marker to be placed near the bridge in memory of the Harvey Family, there was an immediate and very generous response from individuals, families, and groups. Significant funds were donated by the neighborhood associations of Woodland Heights, Westover Hills, and Forest Hill. In all, some $2500 was raised in just three days. According to Monica Rumsey, marker project coordinator for FFHP, "Our hope is that dedicating the bridge in their memory will help heal many emotional wounds, and will encourage families from across the city to enjoy this park, as the Harveys did. This bridge and the marker will be a connecting point for all of us, a beautiful way to remember their brief lives."

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