RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced that on Sept. 28 he will introduce an ordinance to Richmond City Council for five new public green spaces in Richmond’s Southside. Council members Reva Trammell and Mike Jones will co-patron this effort along with the mayor.
The five new parks would increase the city’s green space by 36 acres. These new open flexible green spaces will keep environmental impact in mind and help meet health needs in the area.
The announcement was given at 2305 Concord Avenue. The area near this location will become a 13 acre park. The empty acreage was once home to an apartment complex that was demolished in 2002. Trammell says this was the biggest demolition in Richmond’s history.
Citizens in the 8th district will get three new parks under Stoney’s ordinance. “My people deserve this,” Trammell said.
Stoney emphasized that he wants all Richmond residents to have a public green space within a ten minute walk of their home. The new parks would help bring green space to areas where some residents would normally have to walk 20 minutes to get to a park.
“I think every resident in this city deserves a 10 minute walk to a park,” Stoney said.
The mayor says that 22% of Richmond Residents live more than a 10 minute walk away from a park.
Green space can impact the health of nearby residents. It keeps the surrounding areas cooler and offers a place to safely recreate and stay active.
Stoney says that the history of racist planning in Richmond has caused communities of color to be disproportionately without public green space. The mayor promises to try and right these wrongs, acknowledging that disparities in health and wealth between communities was purposeful not accidental.
“Regardless of a child’s race, ethnicity, gender, family income or zip code, they should be able to walk down the street and spend a summer afternoon in a welcoming, verdant space,” asserted Stoney. “Due to systemic racism, that’s now how our city was designed. We have a chance to right that wrong, and we’re starting with these five green spaces.”
For Stoney increasing access to green space in communities of color is part of a mission to bring restorative justice to the city. “Just is the root of all the work we’ve done,” Stoney said.
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