Parks and Recreation

Groundbreaking To Be Held For Riverfront Project

A groundbreaking ceremony for the North Fork Riverfront Project is set for Tuesday, August 2, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. in Johnson Park. The project includes river restoration, infrastructure enhancements, and the complete reconstruction of Johnson Park.

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.

“I am excited to see the efforts of so many come together and bring this project forward to the Norfolk community. The restoration and revitalization of Johnson Park and the North Fork Elkhorn River creates a great place for local residents to recreate in their own backyard, and a new destination point for visitors from all over. We’re excited to provide year-round recreation opportunities such as ice skating in the winter, white water kayaking in the summer, play features for children, trails throughout, an event stage, a beach, shelters and open space. These are exciting times for Norfolk and I am happy to be a small part of the project,” said Nate Powell, Parks and Recreation Director.

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.