As James River News Hub first reported in September, Belle Isle is getting a makeover. The big construction project going on right now is an ADA-compliant wheelchair accessible ramp that will connect the walking trail to the rocks above Hollywood Rapid. The project is being funded by a grant, according to the City of Richmond.
The ramp looks to be about eight feet wide and will direct people out to a large section of bedrock at Hollywood Rapid. The plans in September were that it would not have handrails.
Still to come, portions of the walking trail will be resurfaced with crushed gravel and raised about a foot in some of the lower-lying areas to prevent flooding and sitting water and muddy spots. The walkways are heavily used and all the foot and bike traffic around the loop have worn away old gravel.
Also in the plans is shoring up the walls of the old stone armored storage shed on east end of Belle Isle. The granite walls of the roofless structure are starting to show cracks and the foundation needs to be stabilized. According to park signage, it was built in 1876 and held materials for the Belle Isle iron foundry.
The incremental improvements also provide a chance to add new signage. The project is expected to be completed by June, 2011.