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New pocket park opens along Elizabeth River Trail

Elizabeth River Trails Foundation Director Kindra Greene dedicates the trail’s new park. (Image: Laura Philion)
Elizabeth River Trails Foundation Director Kindra Greene dedicates the trail’s new park. (Image: Laura Philion)

Volunteers filled the brightly painted boat on the corner of Park and Lovitt Avenues with canned goods, deodorant and tampons.

It would be an odd sight, except the boat has been converted to a food pantry, standing on its stern and secured to the ground. It’s the central element of the new park along the eastern portion of the Elizabeth River Trail.

ERT Foundation director Kindra Greene said she wanted the boat-shaped pantry as both a symbol and a vehicle to connect the trail with the surrounding neighborhood.

“We worked on widening the trail … and as we were working on that project, we thought what an opportunity to have people stop here and experience this place as a place of rest and continue on their way to Norfolk State,” Greene said.

The park is a quarter of a mile beyond Harbor Park and the Amtrak station, nestled between I-264 and Lyon Shipyard. The Elizabeth River Trail runs past before ending at Norfolk State University.

The park has a native pollinator garden and a Little Free Library alongside the pantry. Greene wants to add a bench and a rainwater collection system to help the garden be self-sustaining.

Trail counters installed along the route tell Greene that many ERT users don’t go farther east than Dominion Tower or Harbor Park. Greene wants to change that by making the eastern end of the trail more appealing.

“Inequities exist in the built environment, and It is our responsibility to bring equity in every transaction, trailhead and amenity,” Greene told volunteers.

“And we are so excited to bring this community needs pantry to the ERT — here in this pocket park, built by the community for the community.”

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