Feb 6th, 2015 by Jonah Holland
by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Richmond Cycling Corps, Richmond Area Bicycling Association and the Central Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association are making a difference in Richmond. Richmond Cycling Corps created a place where teens can be fast, wild and free — on their bikes. They can make friends, set goals, challenge their bodies in a ways that they never thought they could, set personal goals, and achieve them. These kids can be mentored not just technically, but for real by some the best cyclists in Richmond. And soon they will be able to do it in a beautiful space with the shade of 41 beautiful trees — oaks, pines, black gum, and cherry trees.
Last summer this year RCC converted the 10-acre abandoned field next to Armstrong High School, in Fairfield Court public housing, into the Armstrong High School Bike Park, a 1.5 mile trail with 22 skills features. Now they are bringing beauty and shade to the nation’s first and only inner-city mountain bike park, a point of entry into mountain biking for inner-city area youth and Richmond Public School students
What I’ve learned is that this project is truly a grass-roots community effort from those with a love of cycling, youth, and of course TREES. CVNLA vice president, and Colesville Nursery Tree Buyer, Warner Winthrop, explained that he got involved because he’s been a mountain biker for years. “I was pretty excited to hear that there is a high school mountain bike team in the city of Richmond.” He says he’s really pleased most of all to see how well everything is coming together. There are always complications when you take on a project like this, and the one at the top of his mind was getting water to the trees after they are planted. Renew Richmond is bringing 10 Armstrong High School students to help with the planting and the hope is that they will be able to help water the trees this summer when they will need it most.
Want to help? Join in the tree planting effort on Saturday, February 21, 9 a.m. CVNLA welcomes other volunteers to join the work party. If you’d like to learn more contact warner [at] colesvillenursery.com or call 804-798-5472 ex. 104.
Matt Crane, Director of Development for RCC, says, “The field where the park sits was once home to little more than a rusted and broken solitary football goal post. Now, there is a totally unique resource for the community where youth can ride mountain bikes after school and on the weekends. The community where the bike park sits has nothing close to this kind of resource, and it is extremely significant that these Richmond organizations have pulled together to help Richmond Cycling Corps develop the bike park and the area surrounding Armstrong High School. The planting of trees will go a long way toward making this space a green area the community can really enjoy and be proud of. Upkeep of the park will be overseen by RCC staff, along with youth from Armstrong High School. Richmond Cycling Corps is currently fundraising to hire a full time staff member to work with youth and oversee maintenance of the park.”
The tree planting at Armstrong Bike park is just one example of how Richmonders are working to create a more Beautiful RVA. If you’d like to learn more about greening the community, be sure to attend our next meeting Thursday, February 26, 5-7 p.m. at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden as we unpack our work-in-progress Community Greening ToolKit.
Please note, this is not a Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden event, but we think it’s cool, so we are sharing it.
Posted in Beautiful RVA