Riverwalk receives Governor's Environmental Excellence Gold Medal
The Hopewell Riverwalk is a 1,736-foot boardwalk that follows the shoreline of the Appomattox River, near it's confluence with the James River at City Point. The Riverwalk can be accessed from City Park, located at 205 Appomattox Street, only a short walk from Hopewell's historic downtown district. The Riverwalk provides an opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the natural beauty that is the Appomattox River. It is common to encounter bald eagles, great blue heron, and osprey while walking or jogging. The Riverwalk is a family-friendly setting with railings on both sides from start to finish and plenty of room for strollers. Benches along the way provide areas for a quick rest, if needed. A paved pathway from the parking area to the Riverwalk creates a completely accessible experience for persons of all abilities. Please note that bicycles, motorized vehicles (except powered wheelchairs) and fishing are not permitted along the Riverwalk. It is recommended that all children be accompanied by an adult. Shade is limited along the walkway and appropriate precautions should be taken on hot summer days. There are no refuse containers along the Riverwalk so please dispose of trash at City Park before or after your walk.
The Hopewell Riverwalk is a project that has been years in the making. The Friends of the Lower Appomattox River was the first group to recognize the beauty and benefits of public river access at the Copeland site (now known as City Park). Volunteer-led cleanup efforts eventually provided the public with river access and the group raised funds for the addition of the park's first amenities-a pavilion and fishing pier. A river walkway was first proposed by former Mayor and FOLAR Chairman, Wayne Walton. Additionally, FOLAR began planning efforts for the Appomattox River Trail, a proposed 25-mile trail system that would ultimately connect City Point in Hopewell to Lake Chesdin in Dinwiddie County. The Riverwalk idea began to pick up steam when Hopewell City Council provided a small amount of capital funding to begin the planning and design process. The project would later receive funding from Hopewell's industrial partners, the Virginia General Assembly, the Hopewell Economic Development Authority, and additional funding appropriated by Hopewell City Council, bringing the project budget to more than $600,000. With funding in place, the project was officially advertised for bids to begin the selection of a designer and builder. The project was administered by Hopewell Recreation and Parks and Hopewell's Public Works Engineering Division with assistance from the Department of Development and Planning and the City Manager's office.
Design and Construction
John K. George and Company was selected to assist with the design of the Riverwalk and would be tasked with turning the plan into reality. The original concept for the Riverwalk called for a trail that would be built mostly on land above the mean high tide line. After extensive review, it was determined that the bluffs overlooking the river were to unstable to provide a safe experience, pushing the project over water. A final design of deck-on-piles was chosen, using renewable timber products sized to withstand heavy loads and storm surge. Due to the sensitive riverfront environment, the project team had to complete an extensive permitting process and implement a variety of protective measures to minimize the impact of construction on the river wetlands. Construction began in October of 2018 and was completed in March of 2019. The Riverwalk officially opened for public use on April 6, 2019.
The City of Hopewell has received grant funding totaling more than $400,000 through the Department of Conservation and Recreation to complete the second phase of the Hopewell Riverwalk. Phase II will extend the Riverwalk to the Hopewell City Marina along the shoreline of the river. This extension will allow the Riverwalk to connect to the Riverside Stormwater Greenway, another section of the Appomattox River Trail. Construction of phase II is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2021.
Hopewell Recreation and Parks would like to thank the following donors for their contributions!
Friends of the Lower Appomattox River
Virginia American Water
James River Genco
Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation
NiSource Charitable Foundation
Hopewell Manufacturers Association
The Partin Family