More than a century-and-a-half ago the James River was the most important method of transportation in the region and the economic lifeblood of the city of Richmond. The arrival of the railroad brought a slow demise to the river’s usefulness as a means of transporting goods and raw materials.
Richmonders today are reclaiming the riparian character of their city, which is an overblown way of saying that we want to be near the river and use it to its full potential. We no longer need it for transportation, but we want to see it from our homes and from restaurants and while we exercise, we want to swim, kayak and paddle board in it, and we want to run and ride our bikes along its banks. We live in a river city and we want to embrace this reality in our daily lives.
The long-awaited Capital Trail bike path that runs along the river and links Richmond to Jamestown is receiving rave reviews. Inquiries about homes in Southside neighborhoods, especially those a short stroll from the river, are coming in during a season when most people do not have kayaking or swimming on their minds. Folks are excited about the redevelopment of the concrete slab known as Sugar Pad into a riverfront park area that could incorporate a beer garden for the coming Stone Brewing restaurant, an event lawn, a promenade, tidal pools and bicycle amenities for the Virginia Capital Trail.