RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The James River Association (JRA) hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking to celebrate the construction of a new river education center.

The groundbreaking for the James A. Buzzard River Education Center took place on Monday, May 8, at the center’s future location on Dock Street in Richmond’s East End.

“Our goal is to make sure that every child growing up in what Outside Magazine named ‘The
Best Rivertown Ever’ is introduced to the James River and is able to enjoy a lifetime of the
benefits it provides,” said Bill Street, President and CEO of JRA. “Breaking ground on this project is the culmination of more than six years of searching for a site, planning and design. We are thrilled to finally have this project becoming a reality.”

According to JRA, the center will provide quick and easy access to a variety of river environments, removing a barrier of time and transportation limitations for school field trips.

The existing dock would also allow for JRA to utilize one of its education boats to take students and teachers on the river. The location provides a slew of other benefits, including close access to Trigg Cove, the Chapel Island forest and mild conditions for canoeing and kayaking.

Funding for the project was raised under the umbrella of the $25 million James Changer Campaign. In 2021, JRA successfully purchased a 0.85-acre plot of land from The Conservation Fund for $832,000.

The James A. Buzzard River Education Center is expected to open in the summer of 2024.