Riverfront Park May Require Special Permits

Army Corps of Engineers advises current plans for Riverfront Park may need to change. City Council will discuss Tuesday.

The Riverfront Park plans might need to change, Fredericksburg City Councilman At-Large Matt Kelly says.

The changes may be needed to address concerns about riverbank stabilization and its potential effects on the battlefield historic area. 

City Council will discuss Riverfront Park in its Tuesday work session, which was scheduled following contentious debate at the last city council meeting.

In an email to his colleagues on City Council earlier this fall, Kelly provided information generated after a riverfront site visit with Hal Wiggins of the Army Corps of Engineers, John Tippet, executive director of Friends of the Rappahannock, and Kevin Utt, site development manager with the city's Building and Development Services, responsible for wetlands. 

"Based on Mr. Wiggins letter, and issues discussed as they relate to the Chesapeake Bay Act, the initial concepts for the river front park may not be possible," wrote Kelly. 

A letter from the Army Corps of Engineers (attached as a .pdf) warns any riverbank stabilization, dredging or boat mooring facilities associated with the project would require the city to apply for a Department of the Army permit.

"In addition to the above, our preliminary findings are that any proposed bank stabilization project may adversely affect the Fredericksburg Battlefield Historic District, a property that may be eligible on the National Register of Historic Places," Nicholas Konchuba, chief of the Northern Virginia Regulatory Section of the Army Corps of Engineers, said in the letter.  He explained this means the city would have to fulfill requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act before proceeding.

The Corps also recommends existing vegetated areas of the riverbank be left undisturbed.

"I would suggest that before any further action is taken regarding the river front that a work session be held to familiarize the council on these issues," Kelly wrote in his email.  "I would not like to see more tax dollars [spent] on plans that cannot be implemented."

Related Stories:

Council to Continue Riverfront Park Debate

Riverfront Park's Future: What's The Best Next Step?

City Moves to Buy Riverfront Lodge

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