Tag Archives: Forest Hill Park

‘Giant’ mountain bike demo tour Saturday at Forest Hill Park

From Richmond MORE:

The Ride Giant Demo Tour for mountain bikes comes to Forest Hill Park on April 9 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The Richmond chapter of M.O.R.E. is helping out after trail building and is planning a cook out for members and guests.  Continue reading

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Greenways depending on rails-to-trails & Crooked connections

The Crooked Branch Ravine is a little-known park tucked away in the Westover Hills neighborhoodThe Crooked Branch Ravine is a little-known park tucked away in the Northrup neighborhood near Woodland Heights. The main entrance to the park is at the dirt and gravel cul-de-sac of Northup Street off West Roanoke Street. There are hiking trails through the heavily wooded and natural park and there are areas of the creek perfect for playing.

Continue reading

‘A Day in the Park for Wayne’ Saturday at Forest Hill Park

Wayne Goodman of Richmond MOREThe volunteer trail building group Richmond-MORE is asking for all trail riders and hikers to come out to Forest Hill Park Saturday to support Wayne Goodman, a legend in the trail building community who was severely injured September 18 while cycling at FHP and is recovering at the VCU Medical Center’s spinal cord rehabilitation unit. Here is the invitation from RA-MORE:

Wayne, who has donated literally thousands of hours of his time as well as money, blood, sweat and tears, is now in need of our help.

A small committee of his friends has formed to plan events and other means to help Wayne in his time of need.   We are announcing the first event which will occur on Saturday, December 4 at 2:00 p.m.at the main shelter (shelter #2) in Forest Hill Park. To get there, you should enter the park by heading north on 42nd Street, then turn right into the park at New Kent Avenue.

We will be taking donations and selling “G-Man” t-shirts where all proceeds will go towards helping Wayne with his finances. The location will be the main shelter at the back of the park. We will have coffee, hot cider, brownies, cookies and anything anyone else would like to donate.

We are also planning to post a donation link on Wayne’s website at http://cantholdagoodmandown.com/  in order that donations can be accepted from individuals or groups wishing to help out but don’t have the availability to attend fund-raising activities.

Additional events are now being discussed and further information will be provided as the details are confirmed.

Wayne remains very positive in his recovery and his rehab team reports very encouraging progress.  The road is going be long and Wayne knows this will be the toughest race of his life.

What Richmond loses with J.R. Pope’s resignation

By Phil Riggan – James River News Hub

After five productive and successful years as director of Richmond’s parks, recreation and community facilities department, J.R. Pope has resigned, presumably as the result of a scathing audit.

What does that mean for the “Friends” groups that support Richmond parks? What does that mean for the grand plans Pope had for restoring the Pump House?

If the alleged improprieties listed below are all that Pope is guilty of, then Richmond has lost an effective, popular leader over a rather small, isolated issue. Yes, $36,000 is a lot of money, but I fail to believe that Pope knowingly would condone that type of indiscretion.

I hope Richmond’s parks do not suffer without his leadership. We need keep up the good momentum Richmond. Pope had his department working more efficiently than most any other in the city. He was getting positive results. Citizens have become more invested in our parks, and Pope should get some credit for that.

I spoke with Pope in Summer 2008 after the completion of renovations to the tennis courts at Byrd Park — one of the first phases of many improvements under what was then the “City of the Future” plan. He spoke passionately about parks and communities, and how important it was to him that the city help citizens carry out these projects to help restore people’s pride in Richmond. As we talked, he said something to the effect of “what does it say about a city if it doesn’t take care for its public spaces?”

I have had at least 10 conversations with Pope over the years and I have a hard time believing that he would approve of shenanigans. He had too much personal stake in the improvements.

Take the Forest Hill Park lake restoration for example. The $1.7 million project was reportedly finished the with about $145,000 left in the bank and the project was completed nearly a month ahead of schedule.

Improvements to the walls at Young's Pond in Joseph Bryan ParkIn the past year, the City of Richmond spent $805,000 at 100-year-old Joseph Bryan Park to make improvements to two ponds, including the dredging of the Azalea Garden pond. There are plans to construct a building for concessions and restrooms near the soccer fields and add a gazebo in the Azalea Garden within the next 12 months.

But what about the James River Park System, the largest and clearly the most important park in Richmond? There have been many improvements under Pope’s watch, but likely that can be more attributed to his staying out of the way of the determined JRPS staff under Ralph White’s direction and the many volunteer groups that stake their own claims to improving the facilities, trails and access to the James River.

The Pump House - are the plans out the door?The Pump House could end up being the unfinished crown jewel for Pope. The goal was that the old gothic treasure would become be the new home for the JRPS visitor’s center. If nothing else, it could be a museum, learning center, host weddings, parties, events and the canal could once again be in operation. That was Pope’s vision, and he had been in recruiting mode for the past couple of years trying to rally funding and interest among Richmond’s philanthropists.

The Pump House — which was designed by the great Richmond city engineer Col. Wilfred Emory Cutshaw and built in the 1880s —  has been under renovation for the past decade. It is still considered a stabilized ruin, according to park manager Ralph White. The architectural plans to renovate it have been drawn, but funding the project could have called for more than $8.5 million.

Now that Pope has resigned, is the dream of the restoration of the Pump House gone with him? What about his vision for Bryan Park? Will his eventual replacement respect the strong relationships Pope helped build with the many park “Friends” groups in Richmond? Will the James River Park System maintain its operational freedom?

Several media outlets brought to light the allegations from City Auditor Umesh V. Dalal’s report, starting with Richmond Magazine’s Chris Dovi:

Dalal’s office was in the middle of a scheduled audit of the department when it received a tip about the two employees, who earned a combined total of $18,000 in overtime during fiscal year 2010.

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch report:

 Two investigative reports criticized oversight in the parks department and said the city had spent $36,673 on an unnecessary and still-unfinished project to refurbish a reception counter for the Pine Camp Community Center… The auditor’s Office of the Inspector General chronicled the activities of two parks maintenance employees and accused one or both of unauthorized use of a city vehicle for personal business, sleeping during work hours, inadequate supervision and excessive overtime charges.

From NBC12:

The report also shows an untrained equipment operator was hurt when he mishandled a saw that led to a nearly $25,000 medical bill.

According to a release, Mayor Dwight Jones placed the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities under the interim direction of Deputy CAO Dr. Carolyn Graham. A national search for a new director will take place immediately. Disciplinary hearings have been ordered for the employees involved in the improper incidents.

Sign up for James River Park System license plate, get free membership

Friends of the James River ParkTomorrow, Oct. 9, and Oct. 30 the Friends of James River Park will have a booth at the South of the James Farmers’ Market in Forest Hill Park from 8 a.m. till noon with JRPS Virginia license plate applications and information available. Anyone who signs up for a license plate at the market gets a FREE membership to FOJRP! We’re continuing our drive to get a James River Park System license plate approved by the General Assembly this January. We have nearly 150 completed applications, but need to gather approximately 200 more by January for the measure to be voted on and approved so that the lovely license plates can be on our vehicles by next spring.

To get your application, simply go to our web site www.jamesriverpark.org and click on the license plate application on our home page. It’s an easy process and will cost you only $25 for a standard plate, $35 for a vanity plate.

Serious bike accident hospitalizes JRPS trail builder

Wayne Goodman of Richmond MOREA man instrumental to the Richmond mountain biking scene has been hospitalized with a serious injury. Wayne Goodman (a former Richmond-MORE board member and instrumental figure in Richmond trail building) was seriously injured while cycling September 18.

The accident occurred in the grassy area in the top of Forest Hill Park near the parking lot and picnic shelters, according to information from Richmond MORE. Wayne lot control of his bike and collided awkwardly with a granite wall next to the trail. He has a serious spinal cord injury and has been in MCV’s Critical Care Hospital since the accident.

Wayne Goodman has volunteered countless hours on the trails building and maintaining the existing trail infrastructure. He was a huge driving force in the layout, creation and building of the North Bank Trail. If you enjoy riding your bike or trail running downtown you have Wayne Goodman to thank for it.

Read these comments from Goodman in an article on the James River Trail Loop in Richmond.com:

“I never thought the trail system would be as big a deal as it is…If you tried to take it away from people now, you’d have a lot of trouble on your hands.”

You can follow his progress and show your support by visiting the CaringBridge website. When you visit you’ll be asked to log in to keep the site private.