Wednesday, May 19, 2010

City Celebrates Re-Opening of Forest Hill Lake

Celebration to Feature First Annual Regatta on Restored Lake

May 18, 2010
City Celebrates the Re-Opening of Forest Hill Lake

Richmond, VA - The city of Richmond and the Forest Hill Neighborhood Association will hold a ribbon-cutting and a regatta on Saturday, May 22, to celebrate the re-opening of the restored lake in Forest Hill Park. The event will kick off at the lake’s gazebo at 2:30 p.m. with remarks from Mayor Dwight C. Jones, City Council President Kathy Graziano, and J. R. Pope, director of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities.

The lake restoration, which began in May 2009, was completed ahead of schedule and came in under budget at $1.4 million. Once a site that attracted visitors, the lake had become overgrown with vegetation and clogged with silt washed downstream by Reedy Creek. Now dredged and restored to its original beauty, it is once again attracting many to fish, stroll and jog along its shore line.

“I am very proud of the fact that we were able to restore one of Richmond’s forgotten treasures,” said Mayor Jones. “Bringing the lake back to its original beauty gives the city of Richmond a park setting that any tier one city would be proud of.”

“This was a project the department really wanted to undertake,” said Pope, “Great parks make great neighborhoods. They bring people together, they give us a place to exercise, a place to have fun, and a place where we can interact with and enjoy nature.”

Following the ceremony, the newly-formed Forest Hill Yacht Club, the only neighborhood yacht club in the city, will hold its first annual regatta. The event will include a solo kayak/canoe race, a dual kayak/canoe race and a youth boat race.

Also included in the day’s fun will be a dog swim, a best decorated boat contest, a remote-control model boat competition, and a no paddles neighborhood vs. neighborhood six-person canoe race.

For more information or to register in advance for one of the races, visit or call (804) 233-3748.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Help Send A Richmond Child to Summer Camp

May 13, 2010

Help Send a Richmond Child to Summer Camp

You can give a city of Richmond child the opportunity to enjoy summer camp by contributing to the Richmond Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities’ Send-a-Kid-to-Camp Campaign.

The department, in partnership with Radio One, Miss Community Clovia, and the Enrichmond Foundation, will hold a radiothon May 20 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. inviting citizens to help make a difference in a child’s life this summer by donating to the Send-a-Kid-to-Camp campaign.

“These funds help us reach kids in the city that often have few options and need someone in their lives to steer them in the right direction. On the whole, by donating, you are joining our effort to make the city a better place to live for all of us,” said J.R. Pope, director of the department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities.

“We are encouraging everyone to give what they can. By working together, we truly can make a difference,” said Roslyn Johnson, deputy director of the department.

The department offers a nine-week summer camp for children ages 6 - 12 called “Imagine the Possibilities.” The day camp runs from June 21 – Aug. 20 from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays. It is offered at 16 locations throughout the city and costs $225 per child for city residents.

The camps provide structured recreational and learning activities that include games, playground activities, physical fitness, athletics, swimming, golf, tennis, field trips, cultural arts, entertainment, and environmental, health and nutrition programs, as well as citizenship, leadership and life skills training. A free breakfast and lunch is provided by the USDA Summer Meals for Kids Program each day of the camp.
Tune in to the Radiothon on 105.7 FM, 99.3 FM, 104.7 FM or 92.1 FM May 20 to make a call-in donation. Citizens can contribute any amount they want, and all donations are tax deductible.

Contributions can also be made on the foundation’s website at or mail checks made payable to the Enrichmond Foundation/Send-A-Kid-to-Camp to 6 North Laurel Street, Room 304, Richmond, Virginia 23220.

For more information, call 804-646-5733.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Please Follow City's River Regulations

May 10, 2010 Reminder: Please follow River Regulations
The city of Richmond reminds visitors to the James River Park to obey Richmond’s river regulations.
“The regulations were put in place by the city of Richmond to increase public safety at the river. We want the public to enjoy the park, but we want them to be safe and to obey the regulations. They could save your life,” said J.R. Pope, director of the department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities.
The regulations require that anyone in the water must be wearing a life jacket when the water level reaches five feet at Richmond’s Westham Gauge. When the river level reaches nine feet, the river is closed and it is illegal for anyone who does not have a whitewater permit to be in the water.
“Now that the weather is warm, more people are coming out to enjoy the park and the river, and we want the public to know these river regulations,” Pope said. “If you plan on getting in the water – even if it’s just to wade along the shore or to go sit on a rock – it’s important for your own safety that you follow the regulations.”
Park staff posts signs throughout the James River Park, at river access points, when the water level reaches five feet that state you must wear a life jacket, and when it reaches nine feet the signs indicate that only people with a permit are allowed in the water.
Citizens can also check James River water levels before they leave home by calling Richmond’s weather and river level hotline at (804) 646-8228 and then selecting option 4, or by visiting the National Weather Service’s website at and typing “James River Westham” in the search box.
Pope says that many people don’t understand or underestimate the power of the river and that looks can be deceiving. While the water may look calm on the surface, it can be moving with such force below the surface that it makes it impossible to keep your footing even in a few feet of water. Also, conditions can change very quickly.
In addition to obeying the water level regulations, here are some other measures the department recommends people take to be safe at the river:
· If you can’t swim - just don’t go in.
· Never go in the water when you are alone.
· When visiting the river, let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
· Pay attention to your surroundings. Water levels and conditions can change VERY quickly.
· Always wear shoes in the river.
· Be aware that the river bottom is uneven and may drop off suddenly and that the rocks can be slippery.
· Always have young children wear life jackets.
· Don’t overestimate your skills. Even the strongest swimmers and most experienced boaters can and have experienced difficulty.
Regulations also forbid bringing glass containers into the park, so remember to use plastic or paper items instead.
Finally, please do not litter. “Litter makes our parks unsightly and unsanitary,” said Pope. “You can help make Richmond a great place to be this summer by helping to keep our parks clean so everyone can enjoy them. We keep plenty of trash cans and recycling boxes around throughout of the park, so please use them.”

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

City Children Donate Funds for Solar Cookers

April 28, 2010 Children enrolled in the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities After School Program raised $2,004.27 that they donated at City Hall April 28 for the purchase of solar cookers for women in South Africa.

Each year, children in the program raise money in a variety of ways to help other children and families who are not as fortunate as they are. This year they held penny drives; sold cookies, ice cream, popcorn, funnel cakes, and day planners; collected coins in coin jars; asked for donations that equal their height; and did a variety of other things to raise money.

The department offers the After School Program at 21 elementary school sites throughout the city, and approximately 500 children are enrolled. The children in the After School Program at Clark Springs Elementary School raised the most money this year and came to City Hall to make the donation.

A child in the program presented a large pink piggy bank, one of five stuffed with fake money to represent their donation, to Dr. Carolyn Graham, the city’s deputy chief administrative officer for human services, on the steps of City Hall.

“We think it’s important to recognize these children for their efforts. This program teaches them the importance of helping others, and we hope it instills in them a sense of community spirit and volunteerism,” said Dr. Graham.

Dr. Graham in turn presented the piggy bank to Rabbi Ben Romer of Richmond’s Congregation Or Ami. He was there representing the Solar Cooker Project, which the children chose as the recipient of the efforts.

The Solar Cooker Project helps women in refugee camps care for their families, which usually include not only their own children but several orphans as well. The solar cookers also provide the women with a means of producing an income, and, of course, they benefit the environment as well. Just two solar cookers lower the need for firewood and reduce greenhouse gasses by more than 3,814 pounds a year.

You can learn more about the Solar Cooker Project online at

This is the third year that children enrolled in the department’s After School Program have raised funds to help less fortunate children and families. Previously, their efforts have funded honey bees and hives to help provide an income for needy families through Heifer International and provided a water pump for the village of Ha Pokane, South Africa, through PlayPumps International.