RICHMOND, Va. -- South Richmond is getting a new park.
The Wilton Family donated 13 acres of woods along Grindall Creek, near Warwick Road, to the Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC) for future development into a city park.
"This gift will provide the community with a potential public park with trails, a greenway with shared-use paths, a natural area for students at Thomas C. Boushall Middle School to learn about watersheds and the environment, and the opportunity to connect the Deerbourne and Walmsley neighborhoods to parks and open space where public spaces are currently unavailable," Parker Agelasto, CRLC Executive Director, wrote in an email about the deal. "Capital Region Land Conservancy and the City of Richmond will strive to engage the public and likely users of this new open space in a sincere public engagement process to solicit community input on the proposed future uses of the property."
More than 1,100 people live within a 10-minute walk to the park, according to the Capital Region Land Conservancy.
The land was initially slated for residential development, but environmental issues made that plan cost prohibitive.
"CRLC’s acquisition of these 13 acres also addresses Environmental Justice by preserving natural green infrastructure that supports clean air and clean water as well as help combat urban heat islands and climate change," Agelasto continued. "Most importantly however, is that the City of Richmond will be able to add to its existing 2,300 acres of parkland – roughly 6% of its land use dedicated to public open space - and begin narrowing the equity gap for the more than 50,000 residents who currently do not have access to a park within a 10-minute walk from their home."
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney expressed his appreciation to the Wilton family for the land gift.
“The City of Richmond is committed to providing every resident with a 10-minute walk to a park yet we realize that we can’t accomplish this goal without the support of the private sector such as the Wilton family who is stepping up to provide a lasting investment into the community and the Capital Region Land Conservancy who is facilitating this donation," he said.