North Bank Park, including Texas Beach (AREA 1-F)

Park Parcel Map, Boundary and Features:Exhibit CE 002 and Exhibit CE 003       
Map Title:   Parcels Fronting On New York Avenue and Fronting Texas Avenue
Exhibit CE 003revised 
 
Map Title:   Property North of the James River & Kanahwa Canal and East of Texas Avenue
Common Park Name: North Bank Park or Texas Beach

Description of Location

North Bank Park is located at the end of Texas Avenue, accessed by the Kansas Ave cul-de-sac.  It is bordered on the north by a residential community, on the south by the James River, on the east by Mt. Calvary Cemetery and on the west by Maymont Park.

Existing Conditions

North Bank Park is actually a large park bisected east to west by twin barriers: the Kanahwa Canal, and the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks.  Four acres are located along the northern side, on a high terrace east of Texas Avenue.  

On the south side of the canal and railroad tracks is an additional 11 acres of the park, a long, isolated, wild strip of forested wetlands, floodplain, and low upland areas running along the north shoreline of the James River.  It also includes some small secluded  beaches, levees and swales, sandbars, rounded rock outcroppings and small and medium-sized islands.  

Buildings and Structures

North Bank Park has three existing structures,  a parking lot that can accommodate 35 vehicles, and an information kiosk, additional signage, trash and recycling recepticles.  At the end of the main path from the east end of the upper park, there is a concrete and steel pedestrian overpass, (much like the structures in the main Park Area) which crosses the railroad tracks, and sculptural steps leading to the lower portions of the riverfront side of the park.  Lastly, southwest of the bridge stands the remaining four walls of a historic eighteenth century mill, on river’s edge, built by William Foushee, first mayor of Richmond. 

The east end of the parking lot gives way to various mountain bike and pedestrian trails, which connect this park to eastern Oregon Hill Park and the riverside trails and greenway being developed there.  It also connects to the bike ped trail heading west to Maymont and the Boulevard Bridge.  There are several footbridges (ppt F. 4) and small benches in the park

There also appears to be a small parcel of the park north of the Kansas Ave cul-de-sac, adjacent to Mt Calvary Cemetery.

Utilities

North Bank Park has a 50’ VEPCO easement along its northern edge, and the railroad easement which runs east-west, bisecting the park.  There is a large CSO pipe submerged in the Kanahwa Canal.

Conservation Values

Natural Resources Values:  The North Bank Bark contains approximately 1,000 linear feet of riverfront property on the north shore of the James River.  Although it is not very large, it plays two important roles:  it includes a RR Overpass bridge, providing safe access to the lower portion of the park, along the river shore and throughout the flooplain.  It also serves an important connection point for eastern bike and ped trails to Oregon Hill (with adjacent, easy access to Belle Isle and the downtown Canal Walk, but it is also providing good bike and pedestrian access west to Maymont Park (with its Zoo and new Nature Center), William Bryd Park, and the Pumphouse/3 Mile Lock complex (CE Area II-P).  

The Park’s natural resources include the wild areas of the shoreline and floodplain, wetlands, swales and islands, lowlands and steep sloped terraces.  Because of its unusual location (tucked away in a residential neighborhood) and relatively challenging accessibility (steep trails, the RR overpass steps, thickly overgrown floodplain, and aimless collection of trails, the park is underutilized.

Limited but nice views of the river and the James’ southern shore are available from the small, overgrown beaches, and some of the rocks and island areas.  Plant, amphibious, and animal life is plentiful.  The park includes some wetlands and swale/ levee areas, and a network of small paths throughout the floodplain.  Natural Heritage resources unknown.   

Scenic Values: Good views of the James River and the wooded floodplain below and   the Kanahwa Canal can be seen from the park’s RR Overpass.  Below, small sand beaches, sandbars, and the variety of small to large rock outcroppings in the river, nude and wooded islands, and immense driftwood trees and immense debris offer many visual treats.   

Landscape Values: The lower portion of the park has nice wooded shorelines with small sand beaches, sandbars, and islands, as well as wetlands and swampy areas.  The rest of site is mostly wooded with undisturbed floodplain, wetlands, swales and wild upland areas.

Historic Values:  The historic Kanahwa Canal, and the remains of a historic eighteenth century mill on river’s edge, built by William Foushee, first mayor of Richmond.  More historic and cultural resources may be on the site.

Other BLD Materials

  1. NBP I –F: Pictures & Captions: 5 pages, 17 pictures with captions
  2. NBP Appendix F: GIS coord points, photos, captions and/or descriptions
  3. GIS map with major features identified, 17 GIS photopoints