On January 28th, in his third State of the City address, Richmond, VA Mayor Levar Stoney announced a new initiative to expand urban parks and increase green space in the city. He explained that 51,000 Richmonders live farther than a 10-minute walk to a park and that only 6% of the city’s land is used for parks and recreation, compared to 15% nationally.

To improve this, Mayor Stoney announced that the city will be working with communities to identify up to 10 parcels of unoccupied, city-owned land to close the gap and ensuring that the green space is designed in a way that best suits the needs of that specific community. Green space, he said, plays a central role in the quality of life and links housing, transit, water systems, education, and both mental and physical health.

The Mayor has formed a “Green Team” of community partners that will work together on this initiative. The Alliance’s Virginia State Director, Nissa Dean, is serving on this team alongside other colleagues from the conservation community, as well as city department directors from Parks and Rec, Public Works, Public Utilities, Planning and Development Review, and more.

The Alliance is excited to participate and leverage our partnership with RVA H2O to develop a green infrastructure master plan to supplement the work of the Green Team. In 2019, the Alliance received a $1M grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to accelerate the use of green infrastructure practices to increase the effectiveness of Richmond’s Clean Water Plan, which will make measurable improvements to water quality in three priority watersheds: Cannon’s Branch/Shockoe Creek, Gillie’s Creek, and Goose Creek/Manchester Canal. These watersheds are the most heavily polluted with the highest percentage of pavement and least amount of green space throughout the city.

Visit to RVAH2O’s Clean Water Plan to learn more about how we’re collaborating to make Richmond a greener place.