If you’ve visited a park, trail, or neighborhood center lately, you may have seen some construction work going on. Parks and Recreation manages over 300 acres of parkland, the Blackwater Creek Trails system, nine recreation centers, the City Stadium Complex, the historic Aviary, Miller Park Pool, and the Nature Zone Environmental Education Center. As you can see, there’s a lot going on!
While most of the work you are likely to see is routine maintenance, Parks and Recreation does have some large projects in the works. To help you stay in the loop, you can read more about some of them here, on Facebook, in our monthly e-newsletter, or call our main offices at (434) 455-5858 with questions.
The Parks & Recreation Department improves, expands, and develops parks and trails with a process known as Master Planning. Master Plans serve as a blueprint for future development of parks, trails, and other facilities. This process is collaborative, involving citizens, stakeholders, city staff, architects, engineers, and volunteers. View Master Plans below.
Riverside Park is Lynchburg’s second-oldest park. In 2009, the City of Lynchburg created a new Master Plan for the park, which developed conceptual designs for a complete renovation of all the major components of the park, including restoration of the historic outdoor transportation museum components, historic interpretation, renovation of the existing pedestrian pathways, improvements to lighting, signage, and park amenities, development of a new play area, protection and restoration of existing structures and amenities such as the tennis courts, stone overlook, and gazebo, and development of new amenities such as the spray ground area.
Renovations to the park began when the City received SAFTEA-LU grant funding from the Virginia Department of Transportation and appropriated additional monies in Capital Improvement Project funding for renovations to Riverside Park. The first fully-accessible public playground, known as the Playcore, was funded by a donation of cash and in-kind services by the Lynchburg Rotary Club along with City Capital dollars. The Lynchburg Kiwanis Club has donated countless hours of volunteer work to restore the locomotive, passenger and caboose cars of the train located in the outdoor Transportation Area, and the Lynchburg Historical Foundation raised funds to help build a protective shed over the remains of the hull of the historic packet boat, Marshall. The Lynchburg Garden Club funded and installed the new landscaped garden around the historic Gazebo, and the Lynchburg Junior League donated money for the wildly popular Sprayground. The Lynchburg Tree Stewards have funded and supported the planting of numerous new tree plantings in the park.
The work continues…
A new phase of improvements began in 2014, focused on enhancements to existing train exhibit and placement of ADA handicap pedestrian path from the Sprayground to restrooms and train exhibit. Other park amenities include interpretive signs, benches, trash receptacles and brick paver pads. A new park orientation sign has also been installed near the sprayground.
Former Allen-Morrison Brownfields Site
The former Allen-Morrison property, located in the Fort Hill neighborhood adjacent to Lynchburg Grows and the City Stadium Complex is a bit nearer to the next step in its evolution from factory to park. The former sign-making industrial site was abandoned in 1996, and the City of Lynchburg assumed ownership through eminent domain in April of 2003. Because of its proximity to the City Stadium Complex, the former Allen-Morrison property was identified as the site of a future park in the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Since the City of Lynchburg assumed ownership, the site has been managed primarily by the Parks and Recreation Department. Environmental concerns have been addressed through ongoing agreements with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) the state agency responsible for Brownfields management.
Site Manufacturing History
The former Allen-Morrison site began its long history as a manufacturing site in 1911, when the Thornhill Wagon Company began operating a farm wagon manufacturing facility in a building on the south side of Rutherford Street. In the mid-1950’s, the Thornhill Wagon Company sold the site to a furniture manufacturer, Lynchburg Veneer (also referred to as “Ferrum Veneer”). Lynchburg Veneer and Lynchburg Dry Kilns took over the western portion of the site sometime between 1955 and 1965. The Allen-Morrison Company, which manufactured and painted signs, began operating in 1951 or earlier in a large factory building north of Rutherford Street. Between 1965 and 1967, Allen-Morrison expanded to the building south of Rutherford Street that had previously housed Lynchburg Veneer and Thornhill Wagon Company. Allen-Morrison closed the facility due to bankruptcy in December 1996, and the Commonwealth of Virginia terminated the corporation in 1997. Metallo Chemicals also operated at the site; however, it is unknown when or for how long. The site was acquired by the City of Lynchburg in April 2003.
As a manufacturing site, the former Allen-Morrison property is considered a Brownfield, which simply means that the presence or suspected presence of environmental contaminants is on site. The City of Lynchburg has worked closely with VDEQ to address the environmental problems on site by entering into the voluntary remediation for Brownfields program managed by VDEQ. The site is now entering the final stages of remediation, after which it will be considered clean-closed by VDEQ. For detailed information about the environmental issues, please follow the links below.
In April of 2003, the City of Lynchburg acquired the 16-acre property through eminent domain. On site were seven buildings, all untended and open to the elements. They had been vandalized, and graffiti, broken windows, damaged stairs, and water damage created a public safety hazard. The City mowed the grass, secured the doors and windows with plywood, and demolished several of the small outbuildings. Subsequent actions included deconstruction of the Thornhill Wagon Works building as well as the former Allen-Morrison building located on the northern section of the property. Once final demolitions are completed, and the site is clean-closed by the VDEQ, the 16-acre site will be planted with grass and land banked by the City until funding becomes available for Master Planning of the land as a new park.
City Stadium Complex Improvements
The historic Lynchburg City Stadium Complex is in the beginning phase of a renovation to the Football side of the Stadium.The City of Lynchburg hired VMDO Architects, located in Charlottesville, to complete design development, drawings and specifications for improvements to the Football Complex at Lynchburg City Stadium. The finished work to date includes a facility assessment of current structural, access, and program conditions and development of conceptual drawings. The conceptual drawings are for the entire stadium complex, but this phase of construction focuses on the football field and the stadium itself.
This project will be completed in two phases. The first phase of construction, completed in 2015, focused on the conversion from natural turf to artificial turf on the football stadium. In addition, other improvements were made including a new stormwater collection system around the field, drainage repairs, new electrical and communications wiring and the regrading and paving of the walking track around the football field.
Built in 1939, the City Stadium Complex houses both football and baseball facilities. Over the years, both facilities have hosted a wide gamut of activities and special events. However, football field use was always limited by surface conditions which degraded exponentially with increased use.
The Football Complex is utilized primarily by the E.C. Glass and Heritage High School varsity football and soccer teams. Heritage High School will be using the refurbished football field as their primary field while the new Heritage High School is built. Heritage High School will hold the very first practice on this new turf on Tuesday, August 12.
The next phase of this project includes improvements to concessions, ticket gates, restrooms, and the stadium’s PA system. This construction is scheduled to begin at the conclusion of the 2014 Lynchburg high school football season.
Click here to view a slideshow of images from Phase 1 of this project.
Construction for phase two of this project began in early July 2015, to was completed by October 2016. Improvements include:
(1) Significant renovation of the football stadium’s main entrance. Once completed, the new entrance will include a new ticket booth, concessions booth, and restrooms. (2) ADA accessible seating area and ramp on the home side stands. (3) A 2-story facility addition behind the home side press box that will house a concessions booth, mens’ and womens’ restrooms, and locker rooms for the home team, away team, and officials, and (4) a new scoreboard and audio system.
By July 2016, the Creekside Trail will have expanded in length and have been made safer for our trail users.
Currently, Lynchburg Parks & Recreation is working to extend this trail to the Shirley Road cul-de-sac and the Lynchburg College campus. In addition, in June of this year, the members of the Trailblazers Program – selected high school students, parks personnel, and school resource officers – worked together to layout mileage and install mile markers along the active parts of the trail. Each marker will be equipped with a number that can be used to identify your location to emergency personnel if necessary.
Project includes extension of the Creekside Trail from (BCAA) to LC along the existing College Lake Trail up to Beaver Point and across Fox Creek to Shirley Rd. Repairs and additional trail amenities, such as mile/directional markers, kiosks, benches, and other items may be located along the entire Creekside Trail from Hollins Mill to Shirley Road. Volunteers from a Boy Scout group worked to place additional mileage markers every 1/4 on the Creekside Trail. Masters Engineers Consultant has completed the design for the boardwalk. Hurt & Proffitt, Environmental Scientist consultant has finalizing the required Joint Permit Application (JPA) that will be required to proceed with work in the wetlands area at Lynchburg College. This has been forwarded to LC for their authorized representative to sign as property owner. Once signed Hurt and Proffitt will forward to the US Army Corps of Engineers for review.
Blackwater Creek Athletic Area
The Blackwater Creek Athletic Area improvement project was completed in October 2015. With the goal of increasing potential use of the space, the project focused on replacing the current baseball diamond field with a multi-purpose field. The multi-purpose field will be primarily used for local lacrosse and football leagues, but can also be used for other sports events and leagues.
Additional improvements included:
replacement of field sports lighting
regrading/reseeding to convert to Bermuda grass irrigated field
placement of yard hydrants
ADA compliant drinking fountain
bench-style seating built into the existing hillside.