Riverfront Park (KGW)

A drawing of the proposed Riverfront Park.

Fredericksburg’s Riverfront Park will be fenced off when construction begins in late February or early March, which will impact parking in that area.

The City Council voted last November to award an approximately $4.56 million contract to Athena Construction Group in Triangle for the 3.63-acre park project, which is in the 700 block of Sophia Street. The work will close the public parking lot on that block and the parking area accessed across Sophia Street from Charlotte Street.

To mitigate the impact, city officials intend to take several steps. The specific date on which the parking lot closures will occur will be announced later this month.

The actions will be:

  • Increase the period of time that vehicles may be parked on the east side of the 600 through 800 blocks of Sophia Street (from Wolfe Street to just south of George Street) from two hours to four hours from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 8 a.m.- 7 p.m.)
  • Convert the surface parking lot along the river directly across the street from the Sophia Street Parking Garage to public parking. Only vehicles displaying a Fredericksburg resident decal may be parked in the lot from Monday through Friday 5 a.m.–8 a.m. Resident decals are available at the Treasurer’s Office at City Hall by providing proof of city residency.
  • Increase the period that vehicles may be parked in the Sophia Street Parking Garage from three to four hours for no cost. The rate for additional hours will remain the same: $1 per hour to a maximum of $8 a day.

City officials and a Riverfront Park task force have been eyeing various plans for the property for about a decade. The final version calls for two intersecting, semicircular promenades that help divide the property.

It will include a picnic area, a permanent stage, two play areas for children, an interactive water feature, a restroom and parking areas. There are also plans for a meadow with a mowed path where the land slopes down to the water.

Athena’s contract includes construction of sidewalks, paths, the water feature and utilities for restrooms, said Assistant City Manager Doug Fawcett. It does not include the stage, lighting and fencing that were in the original design, but they are included as separate “add alternates.”

City staff is working to see if some of the add alternates can be included through negotiations with the contractor or use of private funds, Fawcett said, but no decisions have been reached yet.

Questions about the parking changes may be directed to Fawcett at dfawcett@fredericksburgva.gov or by phone at 540/372-1010.

Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407

cjett@freelancestar.com

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