THE HOPEWELL RIVERWALK
The Hopewell Riverwalk is the City's newest addition to its recreation infrastructure, offering beautiful views of the Appomattox River and historic City Point. The City of Hopewell is fortunate to be located at the confluence of the James and Appomattox Rivers, making it one of the most beautiful locations in all of Central Virginia. The Hopewell Riverwalk will allow citizens and visitors opportunities for relaxation and recreation, while celebrating the City's most valuable natural resources. The Riverwalk is part of FOLAR's (Friends of the Lower Appomattox River) proposed Appomattox River Trail, a 23-mile trail system that links City Point in Hopewell with Lake Chesdin in Dinwiddie through six different jurisdictions.
Phase I Description
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 like a pavilion and fishing pier. FOLAR continued their efforts at the site by securing funding and partners for the initial design of the new park amenity. Recognizing the complexity and scope of the project, FOLAR called on the City of Hopewell to lead the project. The first phase of the Hopewell Riverwalk consists of a 1700-foot linear boardwalk that meanders along the shoreline of the Appomattox River through a tidal cove and emergent wetlands. The Riverwalk is eight feet wide and allows for pedestrian traffic only (bicycles, skates, skateboards, and scooters are prohibited). The walkway is accessible from City Park and will be an out-and-back walkway until Phase II is completed. The environment surrounding the Riverwalk is always evolving, offering visitors a different experience each time they take a stroll. During periods of high tide, the Riverwalk will be completely surrounded by water, making visitors feel like they are part of the river. During periods of low tide, the marshes and sandy bottom of the river will be exposed, unveiling a variety of unique river features. In the winter months, shoreline vegetation goes dormant revealing mysterious concrete ruins and a more apparent shoreline. During the summer months, foliage reclaims the riverbank with a green curtain of leaves and beautiful flowering trees and plants.
Design and Construction
After FOLAR coordinated with the City to initiate design concepts and a funding campaign, the Riverwalk Committee completed an arduous selection process. John K. George and Company was selected to design and build the Hopewell Riverwalk. City staff assisted with permitting, property easements, and the final design of the riverwalk structure. Representatives from the Departments of Planning, Recreation and Parks, Engineering, and members of the City Manager's Office assisted with the project. An official groundbreaking ceremony was held on September 28, 2018, and construction began shortly after in October. Construction continued through March of 2019.
The City of Hopewell has received grant funding totaling more than $400,000 to complete the second phase of the Hopewell Riverwalk. Phase II will tie into the existing Riverwalk near the Boathouse restaurant and will follow the shoreline and come up the hillside at the Evergreen Overlook parking area. The trail will then continue along Riverside Avenue to the Hopewell City Marina. The ultimate goal of the Riverwalk is to connect the Hopewell City Marina with City Park, and to establish a superb recreational amenity for both citizens and visitors. The grant funding is provided by Virginia's Department of Conservation and Recreation as part of the Recreational Trails Program. City staff will begin receiving proposals for design and engineering in the summer of 2019.
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