Last Updated: 2019-07-01

Richmond VA > Parks, Recreation & Community Facilities > Mission

Last Updated: 2015-11-19

Facts about the Department

The Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities is home to more than 169 parks, open spaces, athletic fields, playgrounds and tot lots. Within the department's inventory are:

Inventory Type Quantity #
Athletic Fields 27
Baseball Fields 21
Basketball Courts 73
BMX Bike Trails 1
Disc Golf Courses 2
Horseshoe Pits 41
Park / Playground Houses 35
Picnic Shelters 13
Swimming Pools 9
Tennis Courts 136
Tot Lots Playgrounds 58
Softball Fields 34
Walking, Nature, Bike, Exercise Trails 24   (Totaling 27 Miles)

We oversee 21 community centers while providing a full spectrum of recreational services and programs for all of Richmond's citizens. Included in the park system is the James River Parks System which has been rated as the top municipal park in the United States. Additionally the Department has in its inventory more than 90 monuments/statues/memorials, nine decorative fountains, Dogwood Dell, the Carillon and seven cemeteries.


The first Parks and Recreation properties acquired were Western Square (now called Monroe Park), Marshall Square (now called Libby Hill Park) and Gamble's Hill Park (now the property of NewMarket Corporation from a property trade in the 1980s to acquire our Brown's Island Park in the James River). These first properties were acquired between 1851 and 1854

Surprisingly, active recreation programming began as a private enterprise in the early 1900s. In a display of civic leadership through the support of the local business community, the first "public" playground was established in the backyard of a Methodist Settlement House at 17th and East Main Streets. The playground was opened at this location to provide a few moments of relief, enjoyment and comfort for the many children working as laborers in the nearby tobacco factories.

By September 1908, Richmond City Council had seen from this first "experiment" in public recreation the importance and value of what should be a child's main work: wholesome, constructive and active play. Council passed the first resolution concerning supporting, funding and establishing a municipal recreation program.

In part, their September 17, 1908 resolution states: "Whereas, it is of the utmost importance to both the morals and health of any community that its children should be afforded opportunity for innocent and healthful recreation in the open air; and for such enjoyment, in every city, a large number must depend upon the generous care of the municipality."


The EnRichmond Foundation - Individuals or corporations can help citizens of Richmond improve the City's parks and recreation facilities by making contributions to our programs.

Visit, Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Advisory Board for more information about their organization.

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