The Trust for Public Land, City of Richmond Announce Construction of Richmond Wellness Trail

The Trail will connect downtown Richmond and the Iron Triangle with the waterfront

June 8, 2021
RICHMOND

The Trust for Public Land and the City of Richmond are proud to announce that construction of Phase 1 of the Richmond Wellness Trail will begin this week. 

The Richmond Wellness Trail will be a safe and inviting, bike and pedestrian route that will connect Downtown Richmond, the Iron Triangle, and the natural and historic features of the waterfront and the Rosie the Riveter visitor center.  

“Every Richmond resident deserves access to open space. This project was designed with and for the existing Richmond residents to provide a green and safe connection to the shoreline and to bring health, community, and climate resilience to our community,” says Mayor Tom Butt.  

Phase 1 will run from Richmond BART to Cutting Boulevard down 16th Street and Marina Way South, and will include new bike lanes and improved sidewalks for safe, equitable transportation, rain gardens to clean our community’s water, and new street trees to build Richmond’s urban forest.   

The project will primarily be funded by a California Natural Resources Agency Urban Greening grant, with additional funding from the City of Richmond, MUFG Union Bank, TPL California Advisory Board, Kaiser Permanente and the Hellman Foundation. 

The Trust for Public Land is managing the project in partnership with the City of Richmond. Ghilotti Bros., Inc. is the General Contractor, PlaceWorks is the landscape architect and prime design consultant, and mack5 is the construction manager. Community partners include Groundwork Richmond, The Watershed Project, Rich City Rides, and the National Parks Service. 

In 2016, the Urban Fellow for the National Parks Service, Kieron Slaughter, led a community engagement process to envision a four-mile trail in Richmond that would build health and wellness into Richmond residents’ daily lives.   

“I worked closely with Richmond residents, stakeholders and open space practitioners for over two years to envision what the Richmond Wellness Trail could be, and I’m excited to see this community planning effort come to fruition. This trail is going to link numerous publicly accessible neighborhood amenities such as parks, schools, open space, gardens as well as local history and community-based organizations. It’s also noteworthy that so many of the people that helped shape the project will be able to reap the benefits from this collaborative planning process and visionary plan. I’m hopeful that a Wellness Trail can serve as a model that can be duplicated in other parts of Richmond and throughout the United States,” said Mr. Slaughter, who also used to work as a Planner for the City. 

“Connecting downtown Richmond to the Rosie the Riveter Visitor Center site is really important to local communities and visitors,” said Tom Leatherman, Superintendent at Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park. “The Trail is a great way to connect this historic waterfront resource with the heart of the City.” 

In 2018, The Trust for Public Land was awarded a $3.1 million grant from the California Natural Resources Agency to fund Phase 1 of the project.  

“The Trust for Public Land works to increase access to the outdoors through creating parks and green schoolyards, and we know the importance of having safe ways to access these spaces,” said Alejandra Chiesa, Bay Area Program Director at The Trust for Public Land.  “The Wellness Trail will provide this access, with a focus on improving park equity and community health.”   

The project has three critical greening elements: non-motorized transportation, water, and trees. 

By building a bike lane and improving sidewalks from Richmond BART down 16th Street and Marina Way South to Cutting Boulevard, this project promotes equitable transportation. The project provides space for people to walk and bike safely, not just drive cars. Rich City Rides has been leading Sunday Care Rides around the City for many years to create a culture of biking in Richmond, and the shop has been used as a community center for outreach for the project.  

The project includes rain gardens that will filter and clean runoff from big storms. Juliana Gonzalez, Executive Director of The Watershed Project says, “The Watershed Project works to educate Richmond youth about our watershed and environments. We were involved in the planning and design of this project, and eager to see the new bioswales that will filter stormwater as part of the Wellness Trail.” 

Groundwork Richmond, a local community group, will plant 113 trees as part of this project. ”Groundwork Richmond will be planting trees on 16th Street and Marina Way South. Our Green Team, made up of young-adult Richmond students, will be doing the planting. The trees will filter pollution from the air and keep our streets shaded and cool,” says Lorena Castillo, Co-Executive Director of Groundwork Richmond.  

Ghilotti Bros., Inc. started exploratory surveying and potholing last month, and will start digging for the project next week. We anticipate Phase 1 of the project will be complete in spring of 2022, and The Trust for Public Land and the City of Richmond are seeking funding for Phase 2, which would complete the trail all the way down to the shoreline. 

For additional information, please contact: 

Rebecca Bullis, [email protected], 908-329-0321 

About our partners:   

The City of Richmond is a diverse urban community in the San Francisco Bay Area that is working to achieve residents’ goals of a more healthy, equitable, accessible city. www.ci.richmond.ca.us/3252/Richmond-Wellness-Trail-Plan 

CA Natural Resources Agency manages the natural and cultural resources of the state for current and future generations and works to expand equitable access to parks, open space, nature and cultural amenities to realize a “California for All”. www.resources.ca.gov/  

Groundwork Richmond is a Richmond-based nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting communities with their local environments and focuses on supporting the next generation of environmental leaders.  www.groundworkrichmond.org 

The Watershed Project is a Richmond-based nonprofit that builds environmental resiliency and equity and promotes environmental stewardship of local watersheds by connecting people with urban nature through education, community outreach, green infrastructure and restoration projects.  www.thewatershedproject.org/  

Rich City Rides is a Richmond-based nonprofit and bike shop deeply committed to using bicycles as the catalyst for improving community health, economic stability, sustainability as well as an antidote to displacement. www.richcityrides.org  

National Parks Service Urban Agenda strategically aligns NPS assets through community collaboration in order to increase public access to parks, particularly among underrepresented groups. NPS Urban Fellow Kieron Slaughter developed the NPS Urban Agenda in Richmond to directly reflect the goals of the residents of the city, and the resulting projects foster wellness and livable cities by connecting community members to parks and programs. RWT is the signature project of the NPS Urban Agenda in Richmond.  nps.gov/subjects/urban/richmond-ca.htm