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Planned Overhaul of Historic Jackson Ward Park Gets Mixed Reviews

Abner Clay Park
(Photo: Yasmine Jumaa/VPM)

After about a decade of planning, Abner Clay Park in Richmond’s historic Jackson Ward neighborhood is undergoing renovations. However, the project has garnered mixed reviews from community members. 

The city contracted the Timmons Group to complete the project. Plans for the park include upgrades to the basketball court, plaza, and sidewalks. Second District City Councilmember Kim Gray said she’s looking forward to the changes. 

“Other parks have been renovated over and over and we’ve been neglected for decades. I think it’s a positive thing for the community,” Gray said.

Gray said the park’s revamp is estimated to cost the city over $1 million.

Earlier this week, some community organizers expressed concern over getting little to no notice about fences going up along the park’s perimeter. 

Aaron Bish is with Richmond Food Not Bombs. a nonprofit that’s been distributing food out of Abner Clay Park since construction forced them out of Monroe Park in 2016.

“At least when they closed down Monroe Park for Construction three years ago, they had people going around to everyone who used the park telling them that the park would be closing,” Bish said. “ There was none of that happening here.”

The organization will relocate to Monroe Park starting this Sunday.

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