Studies show that access to healthy outdoor recreational spaces has dramatic impacts on the quality of life and overall health of communities. Green spaces also improve water quality, create wildlife habitat, and reduce heat and greenhouse gas emissions. Charlie Sydnor/Blackwell Playground (Blackwell Park) on Richmond’s Southside is a local park often used as a gathering space by the community and is long overdue for improvements.
In partnership with Richmond Department of Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities (PRCF), Richmond Department of Public Utilities (DPU), Southside ReLeaf, and Timmons Group, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is working towards “re-greening” Blackwell Park to provide recreation amenities the community deserves. The partners plan to create enhanced green space with safe parking, more fitness spaces, new walking trails, better sports fields and courts, and more, all while keeping water quality, climate resiliency, and pollinators in mind.
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Once construction is complete, these green infrastructure practices will reduce pollution and improve water quality in the nearby James River by capturing and filtering stormwater runoff. They also will provide other benefits to the Blackwell community, such as improved air quality, reduced heat, neighborhood beautification, and enhanced recreational facilities.
This project will integrate green infrastructure with these improved recreational facilities. Upgrades will help improve Blackwell’s climate resiliency by reducing heat and flooding while increasing wildlife habitat and beautifying the community.
This will be the first project of its kind in the Richmond area and serve as a showcase for how green infrastructure can improve athletic amenities like ball fields, sports courts, and trails.
A site plan for Blackwell Park is created by PRCF
Alliance and partners begin planning park improvements and develop a concept plan with community input.
Newly constructed basketball courts are open to the public.
Construction on additional park improvements will begin in summer 2024.
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