This inclusive playground eliminates the barriers to exclusion, both physical and social, and provides a sensory rich experience for all. Following the completion of the Embrace Park playground in 2017, a splash pad and multi-purpose field were added to the park in 2018.
The $5.4 million project included a new bridge, a new trail under the bridge, a new waterline crossing the river, and a new roadway section from 1st Street to Cottonwood Street. The street scape was also updated to reflect the look and feel of the downtown district.
At its core, the North Fork River Restoration project includes the removal of a 6’ drop structure and a 6’ spillway at the bridge on First Street and the incorporation of eight, 18” drop points between the railroad bridge and the take-out point immediately south of the newly, redeveloped Norfolk Avenue bridge. The drop points will introduce white water characteristics to the river, provide beautification along the bank corridors, and enhance aquatic habitat including fish passages at each drop restoring the ability for fish to easily move upstream.
Braasch Avenue is being restructured from First Street to Fifth Street. Unlike routine public works projects, the proposed improvements to Braasch Avenue will 1) enhance the connectivity from downtown Norfolk to the North Fork River and Johnson Park, 2) provide extensive landscaping to provide a cohesive sense of beauty for the area, and 3) ensure that the street will equitably serve the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, and automobiles.
A complete replacement of the existing bridge is needed to remove the concrete obstacles within the river, as well as create a trail underpass thereby removing the dangers pedestrians encounter with the current at grade traffic crossing.
This community gathering place will provide a green space for individuals that live, shop, work and visit Downtown Norfolk. River Point Square will include extensive landscaping, the introduction of shade structures, musical play elements, and increased lighting.
The Johnson Park revitalization plan focuses on the rehabilitation of a park that was once considered an integral part of Norfolk’s economic and cultural identity. The plan includes varying degrees of grading to provide safe, ADA access to the river, introduces additional parking, provides for enhanced festival space, and cultivates the expansion of youth amenities. The introduction of an amphitheater with a permanent stage and grass seating for hundreds will establish another unique, outdoor venue for concerts, plays, and ceremonies in Norfolk.