Richmond group aims to add 'linear park' to Manchester Bridge

Richmond group aims to add 'linear park' to Manchester Bridge

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A group in Richmond wants to convert part of the Manchester Bridge into a park.

BridgePark would add trees and park space alongside the southbound lanes of the bridge and expanded green space stretching from Hull Street in south Richmond to the Virginia State Capitol.

It's still just a dream at this point, however, the idea is starting to pick up traction in the community.

BridgePark would be an extension of the Manchester Bridge with trees, benches and picnic tables elevated above the James River. The concept is based on the High Line in New York City, a green trail created upon old, elevated train tracks.

The Richmond BridgePark Foundation has been developing the plans since 2012. A 3D model at the group's headquarters in Richmond shows a 2-mile "linear" park and tree-lined streetscape that would span the Manchester Bridge and 9th Street.

"I think people would love it," Roger Perkins said.

Perkins walks the Manchester Bridge during his lunch hour since he works in the area.

"There's a lot of people walking down that way," Perkins said.

The BridgePark Foundation has held a number of community meetings and even hired local engineering and architecture firms. Experts have already studied the site and drawn up working plans.

But there will likely be roadblocks to clear before a picturesque BridgePark becomes a reality. BridgePark could be met with concerns over safety, cost and traffic since lanes will need to be cut from one side of the bridge.

The city also needs to give final approval.

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