Some major changes are coming for a beloved Richmond attraction. The foundation that runs Maymont is looking to revamp the 100-acre park by raising $25 million. Some of those improvements have already started.
Even on a rainy, dreary day, there's still something special about Maymont. It has 100-acres of wildlife, nature and history in the middle of the city. Foundation Executive Director Norman Burns says the park is always ready for Richmonders to enjoy.
"It's a remarkable resource because it's free and accessible," he told us. "It really doesn't matter who you are in Richmond society, you can walk through the gates equally because you don't have to have money to do that."
But Maymont does need money to stay up and running. It costs $11,000 just to open the gates and operate for one day. Now, the foundation is looking to the future and hoping to raise millions for major improvements. Initial upgrades will focus on infrastructure like roads, walkways, restrooms and signs.
"We want people to wander around," Norman explained. "That's great. That's part of the things that people enjoy but we don't want them to wonder about where they're at and how to get there."
Eventually, visitors will be greeted at new welcome plazas, will learn at a transportation museum and new exhibits at the nature center, will wander through improved Japanese and Italian gardens and will appreciate history at restored buildings.
"Yes, we have master plans in place for how we're moving Maymont forward but that doesn't mean that we don't want to continue to hear feedback and input from the public about how we're moving forward with this process because like any plan it continues to evolve over time," Norman added.
While some work has started, for now, the capital campaign is in the strategic phase. That means the foundation is exploring donors, but not soliciting funds from the general public just yet.
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