Apr 18, 2024 - News

Brown's Island is getting a $30 million glow up

A rendering of brown's island from space

The plan divides Brown's Island into spaces for planning. Image: Courtesy of Venture Richmond

Venture Richmond just unveiled a $30 million plan to upgrade Brown's Island with enhancements like permanent bathrooms, seating, shade and water fountains.

Why it matters: The proposed plan will fundamentally change the look of the island, which around 1 million people (and 8,540 dogs) visit each year, per Venture.

The big picture: Brown's Island is the city's six-acre, riverfront park that hosts dozens of annual events, including Friday Cheers, Folk Festival and Riverrock.

  • It's been a part of the James River Park System since 1987 and is managed by the nonprofit downtown booster organization, Venture Richmond.
  • Visitation has surged since the T. Tyler Potterfield Bridge opened in 2016 and the enhancements are meant to help accommodate the 500,000 visitors who cross the pedestrian bridge each year.

Zoom in: The Brown's Island Improvement Plan calls for:

  • ๐Ÿ˜Ž Terraces overlooking the river and canal.
  • ๐Ÿ›ถ Water access into the canal for possible paddle boating or watersports.
  • ๐Ÿ› Play areas for kids.
  • ๐Ÿช‘ Seating, including hammocks, swings and movable chairs.
  • ๐ŸŒณ More trees and other man-made shade (like sun sails).
  • โ›ฒ๏ธWater fountains and a spray park.
  • ๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ Public art pieces and more lighting.
  • ๐Ÿšฝ Multiple permanent restrooms.

By the numbers: The city committed $10 million for the project, plus an additional $5 million once Venture raises a minimum of $10 million.

What's next: Construction would ideally start in 2026 and take around a year if all of the work happened at once, which would require closing the island, the Times-Dispatch reported.


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