The city of Richmond and the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) have been awarded $59,671 in grant funding for the Bellemeade Creek Watershed Coalition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The coalition supports environmental restoration of Bellemeade Creek in South Richmond.
The project will establish a new community-based coalition that will be trained in watershed stewardship and healthy communities. Bellemeade Creek is part of an urban watershed that includes the Bellemeade neighborhood and Hillside Court public housing development. It feeds into Goodes Creek, a tributary of the James River. Land use is primarily residential within the neighborhood, but the watershed project area is bound by commercial/industrial corridors along Route 1 and Commerce Avenue. It also includes the new Oak Grove Elementary School, currently under construction.
Over the past year, the city, GIC and its environmental organization partners have worked with community members, non-profit groups and business leaders to identify strategies to improve the health of both the creek and the community. Components include green streets that provide safe routes to school and improve water quality; creek crossings that provide watershed education and stream bank restoration; and community rain gardens that improve water quality and provide outdoor education.
The City has launched a number of new initiatives to promote walkability, greenways and healthy lifestyles in the city over the past several years, including crosswalk improvements, sidewalk repairs, stormwater runoff mitigation and a plan for better access to the James River.