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Public to get first peek at city river park plans

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Designers of Fredericksburg’s Riverfront Park will solicit feedback on two preliminary concepts at an open house on Saturday, May 3.

The staff of Rhodeside & Harwell recently presented general ideas to the city’s Riverfront Task Force and then used input from that group to craft the two rough designs that will be displayed to the public during the open house.

The Alexandria-based firm of of landscape architects, urban designers and planners signed a $129,970 contract in December to design the park by Aug. 1.

The park property is located on 3.6 acres between the Rappahannock River and Sophia Street. The downtown site is adjacent to Shiloh (Old Site) Baptist Church.

Task force members’ reactions were nearly unanimous in what they liked, said City Councilman George Solley, who chairs the task force.

The concepts that will be presented at the open house include themes gathered from surveys of residents such as having flexibility for multiple uses, open event space, and a quiet, contemplative area, said Derrick Wolbaum, one of the landscape architects on the project.

He said the designs to be unveiled include a fountain, play areas for children and event space.

He said they also include a plaza and gardens around the Masonic Lodge building, a structure on the site that they plan to keep in response to public requests.

There may also be aquatic gardens with rocks, plants and a walkway that ties into trails that will be established along the river.

The parking spaces currently within the park property will be removed, Wolbaum said.

The designers will use input from the open house and continue working with city staff and the task force to produce a final design.

Then, the design will be reviewed by the city’s Architectural Review Board, Planning Commission and City Council, each of which will hold a public hearing before taking action.

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972


Designers from Rhodeside & Harwell will hold an open house on May 3 to get feedback on two concept designs for the River front Park located along Sophia Street.

The open house will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Dorothy Hart Community Center, 408 Canal St.