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April 13, 2012

Grant Received for Riverfront

From the News Virginian

$163,875 Grant Received for Riverfront

It was announced Thursday that the city of Waynesboro will be one of six recipients of grant money from American Rivers and the EPA as part of a comprehensive initiative to protect and restore rivers in the Potomac Highlands region.

The $163,875 award will go toward implementing the city’s “Restoring Waynesboro’s Riverfront Parks” project.  Director of Parks and Recreation Dwayne Jones said Thursday that the project will improve sections of Ridgeview Park and the Wayne Mini-Park facing the South River by “putting nature back along river streams.”

Due to heavy phosphorous, sediment and bacteria pollution, the river has made its way onto Virginia’s list of impaired waters.  In Ridgeview Park, Jones said that a permeable paving and rain garden approach will lend itself to capturing storm water runoff from the parking lot before it reaches the South River.

He added that the steep river banks of the Wayne Mini-Park have undergone years of erosion, which has led to sediment pollution in the river, and he hopes that the addition of vegetation along the banks will act as a buffer to prevent further pollution.

These restoration projects will not only improve water quality for trout fishing and other recreation, but also reemphasize the South River as a vital part of the community. The first phase of the South River Greenway Trail opened last month, and on Monday, the Waynesboro City Council endorsed the city applying for an $80,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation that would go toward the Greenway's second phase.

City Engineering Assistant Trafford McRae was the primary author for the American Rivers and EPA grant, submitted in December. He spoke of how he looks forward to working with several partner organizations, including the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the  DuPont Corp., as part of the Restoring Waynesboro’s Riverfront Parks project.

“We’re obviously very excited about the project and working with all these different partners to complete what are some highly visible and needed projects in the community,” McRae said. McRae noted that the projects are currently in the permitting and planning stage, and he is hopeful that the construction along the river banks will be under way by summer 2013.

American Rivers and the EPA awarded a grand total of $1,373,119 in grant money to six projects in the Potomac Highlands region of Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, with Staunton being another recipient.

It was awarded a $209,244 grant to restore Peyton Creek, which serves as part of a corridor connecting Gypsy Hill Park with the Staunton’s central downtown districts and often experiences storm-related flooding.  The restoration will include re-establishing the floodplain with native vegetation, removing a culvert in Gypsy Hill Park and creating a rain garden to better manage runoff along North Central Avenue.  “The project will further enhance the natural beauty of our entryway to our historic downtown,” Staunton Mayor Lacy King said in a release.