CSX, which owns the rail trestle that runs along the planned beautification area into downtown Richmond, is donating $100,000 to support the project.
From the city press release:
CSX, Capital Trees, and the City of Richmond have signed agreements to begin the creation of the Low Line, a 5.5 acre environmental and beautification project along Dock Street adjacent to the Virginia Capital Trail, on the historic James River and Kanawha Canal. CSX, which owns the rail trestle that runs along the planned beautification area into downtown Richmond, is donating $100,000 to support the project.
“Rarely does an opportunity to do something so transformative present itself,” said Jeanette McKittrick, chairman of Capital Trees’ board of trustees. “The Low Line is the uncommon event where the necessary elements of timing, circumstance, will, and ability come together to recast a place of great historic, environmental, cultural and economic interest. It is Capital Trees’ vision to help Richmond live up to its stunningly beautiful natural gifts, to work harder to protect the James River, and to work harder, think harder, about landscapes and streetscapes. We’re very grateful that CSX and the City of Richmond have the vision to see the importance of this project and have joined in as true collaborators.”
Mayor Dwight C. Jones expressed his enthusiasm for the project, stating, “I am pleased that this partnership will enhance the beauty of the City’s riverfront as well as the Virginia Capital Trail. Creative partnerships among the City, corporate partners like CSX, and volunteer non-profits like Capital Trees are taking the Richmond resurgence to the next level.”
Project plans for the Low Line include enhancing the area between the Capital Trail and CSX’s rail trestles along the James River and Kanawha Canal, removing invasive weeds and creating an attractive landscape with primarily native trees, shrubs and perennials, along with storm water mitigation amenities, educational signage and space for interpretive public art. The Low Line takes creative inspiration from the High Line, an elevated unused CSX railway viaduct running through Manhattan that was transformed into a beautiful urban garden.
The Low Line concept is the creation of Capital Trees, which is responsible for the project’s design, funding and execution. Site preparation is underway and partial completion is expected prior to the UCI World Championships in September. In addition to the CSX and City of Richmond donations, the project has attracted significant support from The Cabell Foundation, the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, the Roller-Bottimore Foundation, the Rock Foundation, the Garden Club of Virginia, and individual donors.
“CSX aims to be a positive influence on the communities where we live and work, especially in the areas of environmental sustainability and preservation,” said Bryan Rhode, regional vice president – state government affairs in Virginia. “Richmond is a key part of our company’s history and our business today – including the nexus of three transportation networks, important rail and transfer facilities, and critical access to the Port of Virginia – so we’re proud to be able to support the exciting Low Line initiative.”
Image: Susan Howson