Plans Unveiled at Groundbreaking for City Park Improvement Project Funded by $150,000 American Water Charitable Foundation Grant

HOPEWELL, Va. (March 1, 2017)—The City of Hopewell Recreation and Parks Department, the American Water Charitable Foundation and the National Recreation and Park Association held a groundbreaking ceremony this morning for the City Park Improvement Project. Local elected officials, American Water representatives and city leaders spoke about the proposed improvements and unveiled plans for a new play space and general park enhancements. The improved City Park will open to the public in April 2017, with a grand opening celebration in May 2017.

The City Park Improvement Project is made possible through a $150,000 Building Better Communities grant offered by the American Water Charitable Foundation and administered by the National Recreation and Park Association. The grant program enables communities to build nature-inspired play spaces that highlight the importance of natural resources and the environment.

“The American Water Charitable Foundation is proud to help the City of Hopewell create this public project,” said Kathy Pape, senior vice president, Mid-Atlantic region, American Water, and board member, American Water Charitable Foundation. “City Park will encourage greater interaction with, and appreciation for, the Appomattox River—the source of Hopewell’s drinking water supply— and also our nation's water resources.”

Hopewell was one of two communities to receive the Building Better Communities grant in 2016. Once completed, the space will promote water stewardship education and foster a greater sense of community.

“NRPA is proud to partner with the American Water Charitable Foundation to help provide this unique play space to the residents of Hopewell,” said Lori Robertson, NRPA director of conservation. “This enhanced space will increase opportunities for physical activity and connect children and families to the wonders of nature through their local park.”

Hopewell Recreation and Parks will install two separate play areas that incorporate natural materials and nature-inspired play opportunities, designed by Timmons Group. The City has hired Sparks@Play to construct and install the nature-inspired playground equipment, including a slide that will be installed in a naturally occurring hill. Other playground components will include a discovery climber, log crawl tunnel, talk tube, log balance beam, natural climbing boulders, natural log steppers and a replica eagle's nest.

Additionally, improvements will be made to the existing park trails, footbridge and interpretive signage. The enhanced City Park will serve as a trailhead for the future Appomattox Riverwalk, a trail that will connect City Park with the Hopewell City Marina along the shoreline of the river.

"City Park is a valued asset for the City of Hopewell because of its location on the Appomattox River and the opportunities for varied recreation," said Aaron Reidmiller, director of Hopewell Recreation and Parks. "It is our intention to design a play space like no other in Central Virginia and to improve the overall experience for park patrons."

The Building Better Communities philanthropy initiative is designed to enhance the quality of life in the communities American Water serves. Virginia American Water employees from the Hopewell operations and treatment plant will participate in landscaping City Park prior to the opening of the play spaces.