Residents angry over proposal to use city park land for Chesterfield water

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A proposal to use Richmond city park land to supply Chesterfield County residents with water is not sitting well with some city residents.

The plans call for constructing a water tank and pumping station on 1.3 acres of land inside Lewis G. Larus Park along Huguenot Road. It would sit next to Richmond Fire Station 25.

But the plan is drawing protest from some park users. At the park’s entrance, a sign reads “city hands off our park land, no water tank.”

Jan Sappenfield, whose home backs up to the park, opposes the plan.

“You see people all over walk their dogs and jogging, there’s even some wigwams in there,” she said. “It’s just a very special place, I hate to see anything done to it.”

Under the terms of the city administrations’ ordinance, Chesterfield pays for construction and maintenance of the tank while Richmond supplies the land and water. Chesterfield will buy 32 million gallons a day, up from its current use of 27 million gallons a day.

The county says its population has increased and they need more water to supply its residents in the Huguenot/Robious Road corridor.

Richmond’s mayor’s office says the deal has been in the works for years, but city councilwoman Kristen Larson says she and her constituents are just learning about it.

“Nobody was aware of it and nobody had heard of it,” she said.

Larson says they have questions.

“If we are using an acre and a half of our park land, then what is the benefit to our community? ” Larson said.

According to the Department of Public Works, the water tank would generate a gross of about $1.3 million dollars a year in revenue for Richmond. 8News has been told any trees cut down will be replaced.

Cher Williams, a Richmond resident, says she’s not opposed to it, although, “I would prefer that they would take care of the park and not put the water station there.”

“That’s why I bought this place, because of the park, so that would hurt,” Sappenfield added.

The city’s land use committee will take up the issue on July 18th.

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