Monday, December 12, 2011

City hosts watershed project in Bellemeade

A Community Open House was held Dec. 13 to share ideas for improving the creek and neighborhood walking routes in the Bellemeade neighborhood. The Green Infrastructure Center has partnered with the City of Richmond, Richmond Public Schools and local community leaders to develop a concept plan for improving the creek and walking routes in the Bellemeade neighborhood.

“This pilot project aims to integrate the schoolshed and watershed, by identifying strategies that improve the creek, but also provide amenities for the students and residents living in the neighborhood,” said Karen Firehock, Director of the Green Infrastructure Center.

The project builds off of the growing momentum around the new sustainably designed Oak Grove Bellemeade Elementary School expected to open in early 2013. During a day-long working session held Oct. 27, city and school representatives, community leaders and students of the future school, identified priority walking routes to the new school, along with strategies to improve the health of the creek that could benefit the neighborhood residents.

Jannie Laursen, principal of the new Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School say, “We envision that the new school will embrace the adjacent creek as a tremendous learning opportunity for the students, and we hope to see the school become a real center for the Bellemeade neighborhood.”

The highlight of the event was a presentation from local 5th graders who shared their ideas about what was needed for the creek and their neighborhood.

The outcome of the project will be a watershed concept plan that will include specific actions to enhance the creek and neighborhood health.

“This process supports our parallel stormwater master planning process,” said Michelle Virts, DPU's Stormwater Utility deputy director. “We anticipate that this community-based concept plan will help us prioritize capital projects to reduce flooding and improve the creek in the neighborhood.” 

For more information, contact James (JJ) Minor at (804) 646-0587.

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