In bustling urban settings, parks can be windows into the past. In some cities there are historic parks that have been preserved since the founding of the city, in others, parks are created in an attempt to reclaim some of the land from development. Libby Park is located in Richmond, at the intersection of East Franklin and 28th streets. It is one of three original parks in Richmond. Libby Park looks straight down onto the James River; unfortunately, due to urban development a large white building obstructs this view and truly brings home the dangers threatening the park systems. Many parks in this country are in danger due to pollution, budget cuts, and unchecked development. If the white building at the base of the park is any indication, Libby Hill Park may be in danger, too.
The view of the river from the summit of Libby Hill is supposedly what inspired the name for the city due to the likeness of the view of Richmond on the Thames. Due to the encroachment of urbanization towards the banks of the river, the likeness of these views risks being destroyed. At the summit of the hill you can view the panoramic landscape of Richmond, it is both a reminder of how successful this city has become and how much the city has changed. Richmond is a bustling urban settlement with a lot to offer. It is a city filled with history, art, culture, and industry. Regrettably, industry throughout history has also been responsible for much pollution. As cities grow and industries boom precautions concerning the regulation of pollution and expansion are often pushed to the side as urban growth takes root.
In urban settings pollution can be one of the biggest concerns. Factory runoff and chemical output, erosion, over-illumination from various urban venues, and littering can all contribute to urban pollution problems. Parks can be decimated by air pollution, water pollution, and littering and trash pollution, while the views from these parks can be disrupted by construction and development, and light and visual pollution. Pollution can cause haze or smog to obstruct views, it can kill off animal and plant wildlife, harmful emissions can make it dangerous to be in these places, and acid rain can slowly eat away at statues, monuments and memorials. While Libby Park does not seem to be in an extreme state desolation yet, it would be pertinent to keep in mind that the urban development of the city has the potential to harm the parks in Richmond, and it would be wise to at least plan, if not enact some more rigorous legislation to prevent our Parks from destruction at the hand of development and pollution.
The only thing that seems to be bright in the future of Richmond’s parks is that they are not in danger due to budget cuts. This year the city has budgeted for almost sixteen million dollars to be spent on the parks, recreation, and community facilities of Richmond; this is almost a million more than last year. Also, in the capital improvement plan proposed by the city of Richmond to be implemented over the next five years, almost nine million dollars are pledged towards the improvement of parks and recreational facilities.
Libby Hill Park is in good condition for the moment, but the development in that area, around parks in general, should be watched, or else it could endanger one of the few sites we have left from the founding of Richmond. Libby Hill is an important part of Richmond’s history and it would be devastating to see it destroyed at the hands of development and urbanization. The city of Richmond has plans to keep the parks in good shape, but we need to realize that not all decay is visible. These parks need to be protected from invisible enemies, such as pollution, if they are to survive for future generations.