If you’ve been to Friday Cheers, PrideFest, Dominion Energy Riverrock, Richmond Folk Festival, Richmond Marathon, or any of the other dozens of events that occur on Brown’s Island in downtown Richmond, you know what a great outdoor venue Brown’s Island is for music and cultural events. But what about the other days of the year? Brown’s Island has the potential to be the crown jewel of the Richmond riverfront – the iconic public space that Downtown Richmond deserves.
That’s why in 2012, Richmond City Council adopted the Richmond Riverfront Plan, which made recommendations to transform Brown's Island into a daily destination for recreation, exploration, socializing, and experiencing the beauty of the James River. The Riverfront Plan was a result of year of public engagement, including three public forums and several public hearings. Since its adoption, we’ve seen the construction of the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge, which brings 500,000 people to and from Brown’s Island each year. However, Brown’s Island still needs important improvements to accommodate this incredible increase in visitors.
Venture Richmond is committed to seeing through the other recommendations for Brown’s Island found in the 2012 Riverfront Plan, which include river and canal terraces, play spaces for children, more trees and landscaping, more ADA accessibility and other pedestrian improvements, shade, seating, and running water/permanent restrooms among other amenities. We are also committed to raising private funds for design and construction of these projects.
Last year, we worked with 3north to create the Brown’s Island Improvement Plan, a conceptual plan which gets us one step closer to the level of detail needed to get improvements made to Brown’s Island that will help transform it into an even more attractive and accessible public space. The plan received conceptual approval from the City Planning Commission in December of 2019, but we still have work to do. That’s why we want you to take the Brown’s Island Improvement Plan Community Survey; to provide feedback on which projects and design elements are most important to you.
During this time of COVID-19, much of our public engagement efforts around this plan have transitioned to online platforms. We hope you find this survey engaging and useful, and we plan to resume in-person public engagement activities later this year, when appropriate. The Community Survey will remain open through the end of June 2020, at which time we will begin analyzing the results and prioritizing projects for schematic design and final review by the Planning Commission. Thank you for your valuable time!