Registation Closes Today For James River Splash & Dash Event

The James River Splash and Dash is this Saturday, but advanced registration for it closes today.

A fundraiser for the James River Association, the James River Splash and Dash is a trail run and flat water tube event. Participants run a trail course, grab a tube, paddle (with their hands) across a stretch of the James, and run their tube to the finish line. After the race, JRA will be hosting an after party which will include live music, beverages from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and the RVA Street Foodies featuring Richmond food trucks.

The Richmond event is located near Belle Isle with the after party located at Historic Tredegar.

sd-course

Venture Richmond Destroys George Washington’s Historic James River and Kanawha Canal

Despite community and preservationists concerns, and with Friday Cheers over for the season, it looks like Venture Richmond has started on the unneeded amphitheater project, doing irreparable damage to this incredibly important historic resource. Alternatives, such as putting Venture Richmond’s largest stage on Brown’s Island, already leased to Venture Richmond, were ignored. There is a large “thumb” bucket backhoe on the canal berm knocking down trees and scouring the dirt. Trucks are dumping fill dirt below the canal berm. And, still no word on replacing the illegally demolished wall.

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Joint House and Senate Recognition of the James River and Kanawha Canal from 1989

The James River and Kanawha Canal is on the National Register of Historic Places and was honored by a joint House and Senate resolution in 1989. George Washington’s canal has survived for 15 generations.

Will it be this generation that shows such a lack of respect for it that it allows Venture Richmond to cut away the historic tow path of the nationally recognized structure because it might block a spectator’s view of a pop band?

General Assembly recognition of canal

Plans for Zip Lines Across James River

Last night at the Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association meeting, most of the discussion was about Venture Richmond forcing a 10,000 person theater upon the neighborhood, with no restrictions.

There was also a short presentation by Kern Smith on a business plan to put zip lines across the James River in several places, including a site near the Lee Bridge on Oregon Hill’s side. It remains to be seen if this will be considered an acceptable use under the James River Park Conservation Easement.

Here is a video of a zip line, similar to what is being proposed, in action in San Francisco:

FIRST ANNUAL REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT TO THE STOCKHOLDERS OF THE JAMES RIVER AND KANAWHA COMPANY, 1835

From the archives (ed. note: I did add the boldness to resolution 2):

FIRST ANNUAL REPORT
OF THE
PRESIDENT TO THE STOCKHOLDERS
OF THE
JAMES RIVER AND KANAWHA COMPANY,
TOGETHER WITH THE
PROCEEDINGS OF THE STOCKHOLDERS
At their first Annual Meeting in December 1835.
TO WHICH IS PREFIXED,
AN INTRODUCTION,
CONTAINING THE
PROCEEDINGS OF THE STOCKHOLDERS
At their first General Meeting, commencing on Monday the
25th of May, 1835.

page vii

TUESDAY, May 26th, 1835.
The stockholders met pursuant to adjournment.
Present as on yesterday, and stockholders and proxies representing
704 additional shares of stock.
Mr. Johnson, from the committee appointed on yesterday,
reported in part the following resolutions :
1. Resolved, That of the three plans of improvement specified
in the 22d section of the act, entitled, “an act incorporating
the stockholders of the James river and Kanawha com.
pany,” and by one or the other of which, to be selected at its
discretion, the company is charged with the duty of connecting
the tide water of James river with the navigable waters of
the Ohio, the stockholders deem it expedient and proper to
prefer, and do hereby elect, the first in the order of specification
set forth in said section; that is to say, “by a continuation
of the lower James river· canal to some suitable point on
the river not lower than Lynchburg, a continued rail-road
from the western termination of that canal to some convenient
point on the Great Kanawha river, below the great falls
thereof, and an improvement of the Kanawha river from
thence to the Ohio, so as to make it suitable for steam-boat
navigation.”
2. Resolved, That, with the exceptions herein after speci-
fied, the canal shall have a breadth at the bottom of not less
than 35 feet, and at the surface of not less than 50 feet, and
a depth of water of not less than 5 feet, with a suitable towpath
and guard-bank.

3. Resolved, That the breadth of the canal may, within
the minimum limit prescribed by the charter, be modified,
where local circumstances require it; and more especially in
the cases of deep cutting, steep side cutting, embanking, and
also where it is supported by walls; but a depth of 5 feet shall
be preserved throughout the line.

Tire-less James River Volunteer Opportunity

Volunteers are needed to remove tires from the James River between Lynchburg and Richmond during the first Tire-less James Event. Sign up today at http://www.jamesriverassociation.org/get-involved/volunteer/tire-less-james

JRA is partnering with Virginia Canals & Navigations Society and the Heart of Virginia Council, Boy Scouts of America in The Tire-less James project on August 17.

Breaking News: James River Skyway Announced

This morning an Italian-Japanese conglomerate, Fuki-Trani Ltd., announced plans for an exciting new riverfront project, a high-speed cable car crossing the James River. The preliminary design would have one side of the crossing originating at a station on a portion of Oregon Hill near the Overlook townhouse complex, with heavy duty cable going over the James River and the Belle Island park to the other terminal station on top of the Riverside Apartments building on Riverside Drive on the south side.

Example of gondola lift/skyway at Sulphur Mountain in Alberta, Canada:

Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones and Councilperson Parker Agelasto were beaming as they briefed a few media members on the outline of the deal in the first floor of City Hall late last night. “This represents a fantastic opportunity to leverage Richmond’s natural assets and create jobs,” said Mayor Jones. “What a beautiful way to connect the opposite sides of the James River, the City, and the 5th District,” added Councilperson Agelasto.

The amount of investment by the Fuki-Trani group is estimated at between 8 and 10 million dollars, and the City of Richmond is putting in $2 million into the project initially. Dominion Resources had to approve of the project in advance because it will use airspace above their riverfront headquarters facility. The Oregon Hill station will require zoning changes as it adaptively re-uses the land where Overlook construction ceased and there are a few town home foundations. (Residents may recall at one point a developer from Cleveland was considering them a few years ago). According to preliminary plans, the station would operate from 6 am to 11 pm and employ 2 to 3 people with a small walk-up snack bar. Rides would cost between $5 to $8, though a commuter/student discount may be possible. Some nearby residents along the Oregon Hill Parkway have already expressed concern for noise from the station.

Fuki-Trani spokespeople offered few other details at this time, though they did say that they were already looking at possible future skyways in other parts of Richmond. Here is some additional information on gondola/cable car lifts, courtesy of Wikipedia:

While gondola lifts are traditionally used for ski resort purposes, in recent years they are finding increased usage in urban environments as seen in the installations of the Metrocable (Medellín), Portland Aerial Tram, Metrocable (Caracas) and Cable Aéreo (Manizales). The Metrocable systems in Medellin and Caracas are fully integrated with the public transit network which provides passengers the ability to seamlessly transfer to the local metro lines. London, UK, has built Emirates Air Line (cable car) for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
In terms of urban gondola systems for the future, TransLink in Metro Vancouver has proposed to build a gondola up Burnaby Mountain to Simon Fraser University in an announcement in September, 2010.
In late 2012, a widespread aerial gondola system was proposed for Austin, Texas in an effort to expand mass transit options in the rapidly growing city.

James River Park History

I have uncovered some of the what-ifs, but thanks to Phil Riggan for this “History of Splashy Plans for James River Parks” on Richmond.com.

Excerpt:

According to the RTD archives, there were proposals to have “water-related leisure development” on Belle Isle — Richmond’s downtown gem on the James — including an visitor’s center, ice skating rink, waterfront auditorium and a conference center. People could have gotten to the island by way of a monorail that would have connected to downtown Richmond.
The $6 million in riverfront plans at that time did not cover for the proposed monorail and other buildings on Belle Isle, which would have been paid for through private funding. Monorail screams “Disney,” right? We would have been robbed of the pleasure of walking across the Belle Isle pedestrian bridge under the Robert E. Lee Bridge, which opened in 1992. The view of the city skyline from there alone is worth any price and we’re much better off.

Something to think about as more of the area gets paved over.