Project Info

Bellemeade means, Beautiful Meadow!

There is a park behind the Bellemeade community center. Approximately 6.4 acres of land. Recently, walking trails and a community memorial garden for children who have lost family to drugs or violence have been added. Currently, they have 10 children who have lost one parent since September. They are planning to add trees to the memorial garden for those children.

A biking program has also been created. We will help clear and improve a circular bike path to surround the park. As well as, upgrade a bike shack where children can work in the gardens and earn parts and repairs on their bikes. To date, volunteers have collected and distributed over 1000 bikes in 5 years to local kids!

The park is adjacent to Bellemeade Elementary. It is a Pre-K thru 5th-grade school with a population of 700 children. All children enrolled in the school live within 7 tenths of a mile to the school. The city still provides busing, but organizers would like to see the paths and bikeways for getting to and from school be fixed and improved to benefit students.

Bellemeade Park is a Richmond City Park off Jefferson Davis Highway. We are working to help restore the park so that the families and older community can enjoy the outside space. 

During our initial project search, the LURVA team was delighted to meet Bob Argabright, he has a passion and vision for the neighborhood and over 700 children living around the park. We feel privileged to help him reach his goals. 

From a recent article in The Beacon-
Today, Argabright is a turnaround specialist of a different kind. Almost every day since his 2004 retirement, he has gone from his condominium in The Bluffs to “a different world” — Richmond’s southside, a community of working class and public housing homes around Oak Grove Bellemeade Elementary School.

He is on what he calls his “ministry” for the children there, most of whom are minorities. “Mr. Bob! Mr. Bob!” they call out when he arrives. The kids light up, and he lights up too: “Hello Princess. There’s little Reuben. There’s little Bradley,” first names flowing like melting chocolate.

Helping disadvantaged youngsters was never in his retirement plan, but it has become his life. “I don’t have to go to church on Sunday,” he explains. “I’ve been on my ministry all week.”

He’s clearly on a mission, multiple missions in fact, to give these youngsters a belief in their own potential, a feeling of belonging, and a sense of opportunity and hope. “We all need a sense of belonging,” he maintains.

Drawing on a network of governmental, corporate and nonprofit groups, Argabright is bringing resources to these youngsters — from field trips, to bicycles, to butterfly kits; material resources, human resources and most of all, hope.

“We’ve got work to do,” he insists. “Sometimes it’s hard to sleep. It never stops.”

Thank you too for joining us as we work together to Lift Up Our City! There is still time to invite some friends, many hands make light work! 

Where

1800 Lynhaven Ave, Richmond, VA 23224

Park at the community center or park at Oak Grove Elementary School and then walk up the hill to the park

When

  • Wednesday – Friday, June 26-28, 2019; 9a-12p & 1p-4p (help for half-a-day or the entire day)
  • Saturday, June 29, 2019; 9a-12p

The days may be quite hot, so feel free to come and go, as you need to. We ask that you check in when you arrive, and let us know when you leave.

Who

Anyone 8+ years old

Some of What We Will Be Doing

Carpentry Team

  • Benches, picnic tables, and low foot-bridge
  • Install in memorial garden, walking path, and entrance to Mr. Bob bridge
  • Memorial Garden – weed, edge, plant annuals, install a flagstone path, mulch
  • Wildflower Garden – clear weeds, edge
  • Birdhouses – weed around the base, clean out the houses

Walking Trail

  • Chainsaw team – cut down married trees
  • Reclaim walking trail
  • Spread granite dust
  • Tractor in advance to make clear path

Saturday 6/29 ONLY

  • Clean the stream day – weed eat along the banks, pick up trash, clear away debris
  • Finish any odd jobs
  • Church meet and greet
  • Bike clinic – give away helmets and locks
  • Donuts for the community
  • Rebuild Richmond to collect applications for next year’s projects

Tools Needed

  • Wheelbarrows
  • Shovels and buckets to transport dirt
  • Gardening gloves
  • Paint brushes, rollers, pans and extension poles
  • Wash buckets and brushes for bleachers cleaner
  • Rags for cleaning classrooms
  • Small garden hand tools
  • Sanding blocks for wooden benches and tables
  • Battery-powered sanders for rougher work

Additional Info

  • We recommend you wear long pants and heavy shoes or boots and a hat!
  • Wear your LiftUp RVA t-shirt (we will have some available at the worksite)
  • Volunteers should not wear leggings, shorts or open-toed shoes
  • There may be broken glass, pieces of rusty metal etc., on the site
  • Bring a water bottle, we will have some coolers of water to refill your water bottles
  • Bring your sunscreen and bug spray
  • There is one port-a-potty

Team Instructions

Get to know your teammates – work with some new people

If you have any questions throughout the day, ask at the sign in table or call Susan Chewning @ 804-306-1234

Drink lots of water and stay hydrated – it’s summertime in Richmond! Extra waters bottles are at the sign in table if you forgot yours.

A first aid and safety kit are at the sign in station if needed.

Please work in pairs, don’t wander off to work alone.

Work at your own pace – take a break when needed.

Lunch is a noon and will go roughly until 1pm. You are welcome to eat near the sign-in station. Please plan to pack a lunch; I am not sure what is in the area. Bring a soccer chair if you would rather not eat on the ground. Please let the sign in station know when you leave for the day.

Have fun! We want this to be a service project to our community, but also a time for you to meet some WEAGers you might not know.

Bellemeade Community Center

Bellemeade Community Center is located in the South side of the city. Amenities include a gymnasium, computer lab, kitchen, meeting rooms, fitness room, and a game area. A swimming pool, ball diamond, basketball and football field are the outdoor amenities at the center.

Recreation programs offered at this facility include sports, fitness, dance, cooking, games and computer classes. The center also hosts tournaments, clubs, camps, special events, workshops, summer camp, drop-in programs and after-school fun club activities at different times.

Bellemeade