Riverfront Park Plan Downsized from $20M to $5M
Plans for Riverfront Park on Sophia Street along the Rappahannock River in downtown Fredericksburg have been scaled back from an original design proposal costing $20 million to a revised design capped at $5 million.
Elliot Rhodeside of Rhodeside & Harwell landscape architects and urban designers presented the revision to City Council during their October 13, 2015, work session. “The $20 million plan had all the bells and whistles,” Rhodeside said. “We’ve been able to reduce it to $5 million, still maintaining the integrity of the park.”
To save money, items eliminated or scaled back from the original design include:
– reduced width of the central boardwalk;
– elimination of major structures, including the shade structure, the overlook deck and the mast;
– reduced scope of the water play area;
– fewer hardscapes and more plantings;
– removal of the river walk trail connection — it could be added at a later date;
– not moving utilities underground along Sophia Street.
The park will feature paths near the Rappahannock River along a reconstructed environmental impact area, a central boardwalk, gardens and plantings, an amphitheater, and a family-focused play area that will include “low key splash elements.”
City Council approved the new proposal during its regular session Oct. 13, limiting the cost of the schematic to no more than $150,000 and the total project to no more than $5 million.
“The changes make it a better fit for our community,” said Councilor Brad Ellis (Ward 1). “I’m comfortable with $5 million because I believe it’s do-able and reasonable, knowing there will be [financial] tradeoffs elsewhere.”
“The plan now is a good combination of practicality and aesthetics,” said Councilor Kerry Devine (At-Large).
Council was adamant parking needed to be included near the park. The revised plan calls for retention of most of the existing parking on the south side of the park and incorporates parking along Sophia Street and the north edge of the park.
The city and Rhodeside & Harwell expect to spend the next three to four months collaborating on a schematic design. Then there will be about three months of design development planning and another four months on construction documents. “The best case scenario is breaking ground in one year,” Rhodeside said.
Councilor Chuck Frye (Ward 4) requested maintenance costs and washout and flood replacement costs be included in the plans.
Riverfront Park Concept Design Review Set
Riverfront Park Master Plan, Survey Available
Riverfront Park Public Meeting
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