A Times Dispatch guest editorial by Jack Pearsall makes a strong case for making Richmond’s historic canals a priority. There have been previous posts here on the proposed 2nd St. Connector, but Pearsall is more knowledgeable of the planning history that should negate it.
Here’s the beginning of his piece, but I urge readers to click here to see the rest of it.
Our historic canals should be saved so their future development can put Richmond on the map, as in San Antonio and Georgetown. But this opportunity could be mooted by well-intentioned pending schemes, which injure the canals in five places. There need not be this choice between canal and improvements.
In 1988, a canal committee of leading citizens designed a waterway for tour boats from the James River at the Great Shiplock to Maymont. The navigable James River & Kanawha Canal would be spliced with the millrace Haxall Canal. Renowned architect Carlton Abbott prepared plans and cost estimates.
Thanks to smart planning, much of the restoration was accomplished as part of the city’s Combined Sewer Overflow project. The rest remains unfinished, but possible.