Chip Johnson: Long Forgotten Richmond Park Getting a Makeover


For more than 20 years, long-forgotten Santa Fe Union Park at Second and Maine streets in south Richmond was an abandoned lot overgrown with weeds, cracking asphalt and a place where all manner of un-park like activities took place.

But those days are ending. On July 18, scores of Richmond residents, city officials and volunteers who are joining to rebuild the park will celebrate its re-birth. The park renovation is the brainchild of the Santa Fe Neighborhood Council, a revitalized community group that took the reins in the design, make-up and look of the park project.

The work is a collaboration of neighbors, city officials, community groups and trade unions that are volunteering time, money and sweat, said Kyra Worthy, executive director of For Richmond, the non-profit community group that coordinated the volunteer effort.

“Community members chose the (play) structures, designed the space and interviewed the vendors,” said Worthy. “It was empowering.”

The cost of refurbishing the city park is around $100,000, which helps pay for building materials and a new basketball courts. A picnic area for community gatherings and a futsal-soccer area is also being added.

“We didn’t just want to build a new park, we wanted the community to own it,” Worthy said.

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Photo: Santa Fe Union Park redesign, courtesy of

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