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Riverfront Park designers to host open house

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Designers of Fredericksburg’s Riverfront Park will host an open house on Saturday for residents to offer their ideas and get an update on the project.

People also will be able to fill out a survey on the much-debated park that is planned not only to provide a welcoming venue for residents and visitors, but also to capitalize on the Rappahannock River’s beauty and history.

Anyone who can’t attend Saturday’s event will have until next Friday to complete the survey online at (freder, said City Councilman George Solley, who chairs the city’s Riverfront Task Force.

The park site is 3.6 acres between Sophia Street and the river, and is adjacent to Shiloh (Old Site) Baptist Church.

The Alexandria-based firm of Rhodeside & Harwell won the $129,970 contract in December to come up with a design by Aug. 1.

Once complete, the design will be reviewed by the Architectural Review Board, the Planning Commission and the City Council, each of which will hold a public hearing before voting on the final plan.

In the meantime, the firm, made of up landscape architects, urban designers and planners, will continue gathering and assimilating ideas from the public to craft initial concepts.

Last month, the designers held a series of focus group meetings that drew more than 100 people representing the city’s historic interests, environmental groups, adjacent property owners, arts and events groups, downtown residents and outlying neighborhoods. People involved in health, wellness, schools, recreation and children’s interests made recommendations.

They also heard from people concerned with economic development interests as well as city staff, the Planning Commission and City Council.

The design team’s next step is to present three design options to the Riverfront Task Force in early April.

Later next month, the task force will hold a second open house to get feedback from the community on the concept designs and their preference.

In early May, the designers will meet with city staff and the task force to decide the preferred concept to develop.

One month later, the Rhodeside & Harwell team will present its final concept design to city staff and the task force for any final changes before the Aug. 1 deadline.

Husband-and-wife team Deana and Elliot Rhodeside will be on hand for Saturday’s open house, along with members of the Riverfront Task Force.

People can drop by the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Fredericksburg any time between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. A formal presentation of the project will be offered at 11 a.m.

The task force is soliciting public input through the open house, a survey, a comment section on the city’s website and through the Riverfront Task Force Facebook page.

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972


WHAT: Fredericksburg residents can bring their ideas and gain additional information about Riverfront Park this weekend.

WHEN: An open house will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m with a presentation on the project at 11 a.m.

WHERE: Courtyard by Marriott, Fredericksburg Historic District, Mary Washington Room, 620 Caroline St.