Capital Trail project taking shape in Varina

Construction work on the Virginia Capital Trail is taking place along Route 5 near Buffin Road.

Construction of two sections of the Virginia Capital Trail – which will connect Virginia’s past and present capitals, while also promoting recreation, alternative transportation and economic development – is underway along the Route 5 corridor in Eastern Henrico County.

Citizens can expect to see heavy construction along the corridor until the September 2015 completion date. Sixteen miles of the trail between Richmond and Williamsburg are completed; just half a mile of that total is in Richmond, at its end point along Dock Street.

Nicole Anderson-Ellis, a longtime Varina-area activist for smart growth and member of the Route 5 Corridor Coalition, believes the Virginia Capital Trail is exactly what Henrico, and Varina in particular, need.

“Route 5 and The Capital Trail are practically married, and we are thrilled because this is the kind of economic investment that will bring the most benefits to the community with the least amount of negative,” said Anderson-Ellis, who also serves as an elected representative on the Henricopolis Soil and Water District Conservation Board. “It shows really great momentum and that Richmond is increasingly modeling and getting ahead of the curve. It is a profitable asset to the region, and I think people are just waking up to it.”

The trail is designed as a shared-use path for walkers, runners and cyclists and will give local residents the ability to use non-motorized transportation to access places, increase the public awareness of Virginia’s rich historical roots and provide an opportunity to preserve the wildlife while allowing users simply to enjoy the diverse forestry and farmland from Richmond to Williamsburg.

In Henrico, construction has begun on the New Market Heights Phase and the Varina Phase of the trail, with work on the Park Phase (the only portion of the trail that will not be built along Route 5) yet to begin. The Park Phase will break away from Route 5 just west of Wood Mill Drive (across from Buffin Road) and head north to Dorey Park, then loop east around the Four Mile Run subdivision, travel beneath I-295 and head south to reconnect to Route 5 at Rocky Hill Farm Drive Road near Dairy Queen.

The Varina Phase will be approximately 7.6 miles long and extend east from a half-mile south of the Richmond city limits to Longbridge Road in Varina. It’s scheduled for completion by next summer, according to VDOT officials. The 10.5-mile New Market Heights Phase will run from Longbridge Road just east of I-295 to Kimages Road (Route 658) near Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences in Charles City County, parallel to Route 5, and will be completed by fall 2015.

In order to minimize the impact to landowners in Henrico, VDOT officials adopted a path for the trail that crosses over Route 5 twice in the Henrico portions.

“The trail crosses Route 5 just west of Longbridge Road [from the south side to the north side of the road, as riders head west] and again just east of Midview Road [from the north side of the road to the south side, heading west], with both crossings in Henrico County,” said Lindsey LeGrand, communications manager with VDOT’s Richmond District. “The crossings on Route 5 will be at-grade crossings similar to the crossings on Route 5 along the James City County portion of the trail.

According to VDOT officials, a significant length of the project has been redesigned to minimize impact to the tree canopy, with most of the construction taking place away from the road for low traffic impacts. Some clearing and grading already has taken place, and citizens can expect to see more along the planned trail alignment in all phases of the trail.

Varina District Supervisor Tyrone Nelson doesn’t expect the construction to be an issue for residents of his district or others who travel the Route 5 corridor.

“The closer we get to the trail happening, I’m just hearing excitement and people are looking forward to it and completing it so we can use it,” said Nelson. “I don’t see it being a hardship on the community at all, and I don’t see it impacting traffic. The trail is 10 feet off the road, and there are places VDOT has set up for parking. It’s a positive thing for everyone in the community. We really want people to use this and connect neighborhoods.”

As part of the Varina Phase, construction is underway on a 14-foot-wide pedestrian/bike bridge that will cross all of Route 895 with a pier in the median of 895. The trail will cross under I-295 at the existing bridges over White Oak Swamp Creek and run along the existing abutment.

Once complete, the trail will span more than 50 miles, traverse through four jurisdictions and bring to life more than 400 years of history along one of the first inland routes in North America. The Virginia Capital Trail has been in the making for more 20 years; in 1991 VDOT recommended including a bicycle lane on Route 5 and preserving the scenic character of Route 5 to the fullest extent.

“Route 5 is a road that Thomas Jefferson used to commute on horseback between Williamsburg and Richmond and people will be traveling that same route, biking in places along the river, along the city and the forest,” Anderson-Ellis said. “Bicycling opens your eyes to the world around you, and if we’re careful about how we grow and protect the beauty [the environment] has to offer, it will pay dividends for us for generations.”
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McEachin to host Henrico town hall meeting

U.S. Congressman Donald McEachin (VA-4th District) will host a town hall meeting Aug. 29 at the Eastern Government Center, 3820 Nine Mile Road in Henrico. The event will run from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and is open to the public. McEachin will address issues raised by attendees and provide details about services available through his office. > Read more.

Nonprofit awards $38k in book scholarships

The KLM Scholarship Foundation awarded more than $38,000 in book scholarships to 36 students during its 2017 Book Scholarship Awards Ceremony at Linwood Holton Elementary School in Richmond Aug. 5. The students will attend 14 Virginia colleges in the fall. Each has excelled academically, maintaining a 3.0 GPA or better, while demonstrating strong community leadership qualities.

WWBT/NBC12 Raycom Media Vice President and General Manager Kym Grinnage was the guest speaker. > Read more.

Dave Peppler, pastor

Dave Peppler, pastor of Chamberlayne Baptist Church, remembers the epiphany he had on a cold afternoon in northern Ohio when God gave him a sense of direction, after he had been wondering what life had in store for him. It was then that he knew that he wanted to become a pastor and serve God.

Peppler, a Delaware native who grew up in Ohio, was ordained in Brownsboro, Ky. in 1998, but his education didn't end there. > Read more.

International goals

A group of youth soccer players – most from Henrico – and local soccer coaches spent a week in Kazakhstan this month as part of a VCU Center for Sport Leadership program.

The group's trip to Astana, Kazakhstan was made possible by a $700,000 grant awarded to CSL Executive Director Carrie LeCrom by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs through its Sports Diplomacy Division. > Read more.

Henrico promotional company changes name

Henrico-based brand merchandising company NewClients, Inc. has changed its name to Boost Promotional Branding.

The company is one of the nation's largest in the branded merchandise industry. Founded in 1981, its serves more than 5,000 clients – including many Fortune 500 companies – nationwide. > Read more.

Henrico Business Bulletin Board

August 2017

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