Welcome to BridgePark

Photo by Taber Andrew Bain

The James River is an unparalleled natural and cultural resource, unique to Richmond and poised to catalyze both the growth and greening of our region. With BridgePark, we have an opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind destination that dramatically increases access to the natural wonder of the James River and a public space that will shine a light on the extraordinary culture and creativity of RVA. BridgePark fits perfectly into the City's Master Plan and can act as the centerpiece that connects the vibrant wilderness of the James River to our burgeoning downtown.

A lively destination

Photo by Ben Eley

BridgePark is not just a walking bridge, it’s a destination, with wide spaces designed for events, family picnics, quiet contemplation, and recreation, all directly over dramatic whitewater with beautiful views of wildlife and the city skyline. The park will promote the well-being of the community by increasing biking, walking, green space, cultural engagement, and educational opportunities. 

The centerpiece of the riverfront

Allow residents and visitors to fully enjoy this unique natural feature by creating a series of clear connections to the riverfront
— Richmond Downtown Plan (July 2009)

There is really nothing quite like the James River as it hurtles through downtown Richmond. What other city boasts Class IV rapids through its financial district? Or eagles, ospreys and herons fishing below office buildings? BridgePark will enhance all of it, providing an important link on the South Side to the Manchester Flood Wall and the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge and creating a loop for biking, walking, commuting and sightseeing. The park will connect and activate all the attractions our unique riverfront has to offer, directing visitors to the American Civil War Center, Brown’s Island, the Canal Walk, the Manchester Climbing Wall, the Slave Trail, the Capitol Grounds, the Capital Trail and the Blue Heron Rookery.

What will BridgePark look like?

Our vision is to integrate the river into the life of the city. In developing designs for BridgePark we seek to achieve the following:

  • fashion a dramatic, new, green community gathering space
  • create clear, pedestrian-oriented connections between city parks and the riverfront
  • highlight the beauty of the James River
  • increase river accessibility for all
  • complement and enhance the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge experience
  • educate people of all ages
  • connect neighborhoods and people
  • promote public health
  • advance economic prosperity

Ideas study

We have met with hundreds of community members to solicit ideas and feedback on the idea of a BridgePark across the James. Our leaders and neighbors responded with countless bold and insightful suggestions and loads of learned guidance.

In May 2014, we hired local engineering firm, The Timmons Group, and local architecture firm, Spatial Affairs Bureau, to first, examine the community's input, then, collect data and analyze the proposed BridgePark site with that advice in mind. The study considers the existing conditions and opportunities provided by the natural landscape, alongside the stated wants and needs of the community.  

Photo courtesy of The Timmons Group: surveying the proposed BridgePark site.

Photo courtesy of The Timmons Group: surveying the proposed BridgePark site.

Our design study has also benefited tremendously from an investigative and creative project by six talented VCUarts students, working with VCU professor and local designer, Camden Whitehead, at Middle of Broad (mOb) studio.

BridgePark is not just a park for the community, it is a park by the community. We intend to continue meeting with community members as we complete our study and prepare preliminary design options. Please join us.


FAQs

 

Where are you building BridgePark? 

We are in discussions with the City of Richmond, the Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Transportation, and CSX to adapt and reuse existing infrastructure roughly from Kanawha Plaza to the Manchester Climbing Wall. 

What happened to the proposed park on the Huguenot Bridge?

BridgePark began with a big dream-- to transform a bridge into a public park. The proposal to redevelop the old Huguenot Bridge received overwhelming popular support. However, destruction and build of the new bridge at that site was too far along. We thus reoriented around building a similar park across the river in the downtown district. We believe the community will love this new location even more.

How much will it cost?

BridgePark will be a multi-million dollar investment in our community. The precise budget will depend largely on the final design and construction documents.

What will it look like?

We are working with internationally known consultants and numerous members of the community to achieve our goal of a smart and sophisticated design that fits within the riverfront's unique landscape. Please send us your thoughts at info@bridgeparkrva.com.

What is the environmental impact?

BridgePark will employ green or repurposed materials, sustainable vegetation and renewable energy wherever possible. Care will be given in design and construction to best preserve the natural landscape. The park will focus on reducing our community's fossil fuel consumption by providing convenient avenues for pedestrian and bicycle commuting.

What is the impact on historical structures downtown?

BridgePark will enhance our ability to tell Richmond's story by attracting more visitors and promoting interaction with and contemplative study of Richmond's unique heritage. We plan to preserve and build on our rich history, while also helping shape our future.

How is BridgePark funded?

Currently, BridgePark is a privately financed foundation. We are working closely with the City of Richmond and the other jurisdictions of the regional planning district in development and funding. However, we rely on donations from corporations, charitable and civic organizations, community groups and citizens like you. We are also applying for state and federal grants where appropriate and holding fundraising programs and events. 

How does BridgePark relate to the proposed T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge? 

BridgePark and The Memorial Bridge share a beautiful stretch of the river and can be extraordinary complements of one another. The Memorial Bridge, slated for development by the City of Richmond approximately 725 feet upstream of the proposed BridgePark site, will be 10 feet wide and approximately 1,600 feet long, spanning from Brown's Island on the north bank to the Manchester Climbing Wall on the south bank. We expect BridgePark to also connect the two sides of the river, but with space and design elements of a park, including projected widths of 25-45 feet. Whereas The Memorial Bridge emphasizes efficient pedestrian and bicycle transportation, BridgePark seeks to provide wide, park-like space where people can gather, linger and learn. We believe both projects serve important purposes in enhancing the riverfront experience and have instructed our consultants and partners to carefully consider how the two projects work together to create a one-of-a-kind experience for our community.

Are you a nonprofit organization?

Yes, Richmond BridgePark Foundation was incorporated as a Virginia non-stock corporation in June 2012 and was granted 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service in June 2013. The Foundation consists entirely of volunteers who love RVA, and like so many others here, believe in the power of big ideas to transform the lives of people and push our community forward.

Are donations to BridgePark tax deductible? 

Gifts to registered 501(c)(3) organizations are generally tax deductible. Please consult with your accountant or tax advisor for guidance before making a donation. 

Are you working with the city/state?

Yes. We have and will continue to work closely with the government leaders in Richmond, the surrounding counties and cities, and the Commonwealth in planning, design and construction. 

Are you planning on working with me/my group?

Yes! We're currently connecting with numerous local and regional community groups, businesses and individuals to help us plan BridgePark. We want your feedback! Please drop us a line at info@bridgeparkrva.com to contact a member of our team. We are humbled by your interest; please keep track of and contribute to these conversations on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Who is involved with the Foundation?

BridgePark is a community project. Richmond BridgePark Foundation's Board of Directors consists of area leaders from government, business, real estate, marketing and communications. Day-to-day operations are overseen by the Foundation staff, which consists entirely of volunteers from the local community.

Have you done an economic analysis?

We completed a preliminary study in 2012, with very encouraging results. As the park takes shape, we may consider additional studies to enhance our mission and maximize the public's enjoyment of the park.