Tag Archives: Pump House

Mystery goat roaming hills above Pump House?

Goat roaming Byrd ParkA Byrd Park resident who lives up from the Atlantic Coast Beltline Bridge near the Carillon has a roaming goat problem. She said the goat has eaten five new holly trees in her yard. She said she has seen him in her yard for a couple of years. Continue reading

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Maintaining where George Washington ate lunch is important

The Lower Arch," is the grand (western) entrance to the main section of the James River CanalThere are several walking trails at Pump House Park and they connect many interesting historical features, the most famous of which is the Lower Arch, which is still intact and very much worth preservation and restoration. Here is the story behind George Washington’s Lower Arch as printed on a sign at the park:

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$10,000 in repairs to damaged roof of Pump House approved

The damaged roof on the Pump House is the second section from the right Despite all of the recent trouble with the closure of Pump House Road due to a failure of the roadway, progress appears to be on the way to saving the failing roof to the Victorian Gothic treasure, which was designed and constructed in the 1880s under the leadership of the great Richmond city engineer Col. Wilfred Emory Cutshaw. It is located in the Byrd Park District, west of the Boulevard Bridge on the Kanawha Canal. Continue reading

Access Week: Open Richmond’s canals to paddlers

Build a dock behind the "Cross" monument and the Haxall Canal is in businessPhil Riggan – James River News Hub

Access Week! One of the first complaints most people have when discussing the James River in Richmond is that there aren’t enough access points. This is Day 4 as James River News Hub tackles the topic of access points.

The canals in Richmond should be opened up for paddlers to connect parks and existing  access points. Paddlers could form circuits where one could park at a given parking lot, either paddle down river or up the canal, make a run and paddle back to their vehicle.

The term “greenway” in urban planning is the concept of connecting the city and its citizens through urban corridors of green. Connecting via waterway is considered a “blueway” and the would be the perfect way to creat two-way traffic.

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Access Week: Area near Pump House needs connection to James

CSX tracks near the entrance to the Lower Arch at the Pump HousePhil Riggan – James River News Hub

Access Week! One of the first complaints most people have when discussing the James River in Richmond is that there aren’t enough access points. This is Day 3 as James River News Hub tackles the topic of access points.

The area between the Powhite Parkway and Boulevard bridges is so natural, wild and remote — yet right in the middle of the city. One can feel so free there among the honking geese and hunting osprey — only to hear an Amtrak train streaking its way across the arched railway bridge or a freight train roaring through the trees on either bank of the river.

The area around Pump House Park is the perfect spot to create a new access to the James at this beautiful and under-utilized section of the river. The north bank needs an access and this is the most central location to the James River Park and the population, as opposed to the Willey Bridge and Bosher’s Dam parcels.

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Pump House Road washout not a pretty site

The barriers that block the road are now also surrounded by a chain-link fenceBy Phil Riggan – James River News Hub

A visit to Pump House Road last week proved to be eye-opening in many ways. The barriers that block the road are now also surrounded by a chain-link fence, cutting off the chance for walkers, runners and bikers as well as motor vehicles.

Pump House Road has been closed since mid-December 2010 due to a failure of the roadway from damaged and washed out storm sewerPump House Road has been closed since mid-December 2010 due to a failure of the roadway from damaged and washed out storm sewer. It is a low-traffic road and not high on the priority list for the Department of Public Utilities. Pump House Road is expected to be closed until at least March, according to DPU. With the way the cold winter has treated Richmond, that could mean many more than just 2-3 months before the repairs could be made.

Recently, I brought up concerns with the timetable on the roadway’s replacement. Some have heard that it could be a more like a year or more before Pump House Road is repaired. After seeing the road up close, it does not look like a simple repair, and seems to have been deteriorating for years. I got past the fence by going through the woods in Byrd Park and crossing the creek.

There were no visible problems on the property. I feared that vandals might attack with the property unmonitored. Let’s hope it stays that way.

What is surprising — despite the road closure — is there were four parked vehicles at the entrance to Pump House Park during the 15 minutes I walked around the park. The only way to get there is to illegally pass through the private entrance at Tow Path Circle at the neighborhood at the top of Pump House Road, just south of The Carillon. Pump House Road is blocked off by barriers at Tow Path Circle and is not a through street, and it is illegal to go down the street through the private entrance. Must be some very desperate people to keep finding ways to use Pump House Road as a hook-up spot. There goes the hope that closing the road would bring cruising to an end.

Does road closure leave Pump House vulnerable?

Richmond's Pump HouseBy Phil Riggan – James River News Hub

This winter, the City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities has been busy with all of the water main breaks caused by cold weather and Richmond’s aging infrastructure. Those repairs have been time-consuming and costly.

Pump House Road has been closed since mid-December 2010Pump House Road has been closed since mid-December 2010 due to a failure of the roadway from damaged and washed out storm sewer. It is a low-traffic road and not high on the priority list for the DPU. Pump House Road is expected to be closed until at least March, according to department public information manager Angela Fountain. With the way things are in Richmond, that could mean many more than just 2-3 months before the repairs could be made.

So where does that leave the Pump House, which is a key part of the James River Park? The roadway is the only vehicular access to the park and its closure will block at least three potential work projects that depend on passage through that street.

The Pump House has been undergoing renovations for the past decadeFirst on the priority list, an estimated $50,000 in repairs to the roof are needed to patch a widening hole and help secure the structure. This is essential to the preservation of the Pump House.

Secondly, Richmond-MORE and James River Park workers had been approved to begin building 2-3 miles of biking and hiking trails in the woody hillsides at Dogwood Dell, which is across Pump House Road from Pump House Park.

Third, there have been tentative plans for the installation of electricity, a water supply, toilets and possibly an elevator in the Pump House. Those plans are part of a long-range restoration of the Victorian-Gothic treasure, which was designed by the great Richmond city engineer Col. Wilfred Emory Cutshaw and built in the 1880s.

Besides those plans being put on hold, there is a more damaging potential hazard for the massive granite structure. With no well-intentioned people visiting — and by default — monitoring the park, does that leave it vulnerable to suspect behavior? Vandalism? Crime? Public sex? These are all structural and perception issues that the park has been saddled with for years until the past couple where momentum had shifted toward restoration and renewal of that grand historic edifice.

The Pump House has been under renovation for the past decade, mostly by volunteers. Until the full renovation is complete, it is considered to be a “stabilized ruin.” By not addressing the damage to the roadway in a more timely manner, is it leaving the Pump House vulnerable to further deterioration?