Dock Street land to become waterfront park in Richmond’s east end

Richmond, along with several partners, just bought the final two pieces of land needed on Dock Street to create a new park.
Published: Jul. 10, 2023 at 12:40 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 10, 2023 at 1:28 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Access to the James River in Richmond is getting a lot easier. The city, along with several partners, just bought the final two pieces of land needed on Dock Street to create a new park.

“Right here, 1737, William Byrd stood at Libby Hill and looked over the James River,” said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.

A history lesson starts this story about saving two prime pieces of waterfront property from potential development, and turning them into one park in Richmond’s east end.

“Protecting Dock Street property will ensure that this important and historic view of Richmond will remain unobstructed for future generations to enjoy,” said Stoney.

On Monday, federal, state and city leaders celebrated the $4.2 million purchase of 3011 and 3021 Dock Street located near Rockett’s Landing. The four acres of land will also bring together the final connection in the city for The Virginia Capital Trail.

“We have seen generational changes and investments in our parks and recreation system. Standing right here is one of those huge generational investments,” said Chris Frelke, Richmond Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities director.

The city has added 40 acres of new parkland in recent years and dedicates about 6% of land to open space, compared to other places like Arlington and Charlotte, which have double that percentage.

“We can do better. That’s what the riverfront plan is for. That’s what the James River Park System master plan is for. That is what the park equity plan is for,” said Parker Agelasto, executive director, Capital Region Land Conservancy.

The land acquisition will create one contiguous publicly accessible riverfront space and enable the establishment of new river access and environmental education programs.

“We’re trying to make the river clean. So I’ll keep battling for funding for these important priorities and also to try to battle to make sure we have the right regulations to advance,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia.

Since the land is under a conservation easement, there won’t be a lot of improvements on it, other than landscaping, which the city says could take 12 to 18 months.