The City of Waynesboro and the Department of Parks and Recreation are excited to announce the redesign of Constitution Park in the heart of downtown Waynesboro. After the renovation, the South River Preserve (SRP) will emerge as a signature 26 acre park along the banks of the South River. The park will maximize water quality treatment using practices such as bio-retention, permeable pavers, compost soil amendments and native plantings. Additional features will include improved in-stream and riparian habitats, fishing and river access points, increased tree canopy and pollinator meadow trails. The restoration and replacement of these natural resources will be woven into an active park setting, home to a variety of special events and the South River Greenway. The project will be funded through the DuPont – Waynesboro Natural Resources Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) Fund.
Since the public input period last year, we have been working with the NRDAR Trustees to review restoration strategies proposed within the project and how to maximize the results within the budget. The City design team and the trustees now have a solid vision for phase one of construction. With this clear vision, we are now working toward construction documents and plan on being out to bid before the end of the year. This will allow for breaking ground on the project to begin early in 2022.
Over the last several months the Anhold design team has been meeting with City Staff and a host of stakeholders including NRDAR trustees, anglers, kayakers, bird experts, event organizers and museum representatives. Each meeting focused on creating a design that would blend and blur the lines between habitat restoration for fish, birds, and other wildlife and solid park planning for people. The result is a well-balanced design that checks off the NRDAR goals as well as those of everyday park users. The full master plan design lays out a solid plan for the future as Waynesboro’s downtown gateway is transformed over the next decade. Phase One improvements will utilize NRDAR funding to focus on the core habitat restoration projects including, better angler access, in-stream fish structures and migratory / songbird forests. More structured park facilities, such as restrooms, picnic shelters and nature play areas will be built over time and may be funded from a variety of sources. This exciting, transformative project now needs your input. Please set aside some time to review the plans, renderings and watch the Zoom (YouTube) presentation and email us your feedback
Invista donated additional properties to the City which were incorporated into the South River Preserve project. This is an additional 14+/- acres composed of the large "Invista" parking lot currently being used for Greenway parking off Short Street and another parcel across the river adjacent to Rockfish Run which is a small tributary of the South River. With this donation the full project is closer to 26 acres.
In 2019 the City put out a Request for Proposals to select a design/engineering team. Numerous proposals were received and four teams were interviewed. At the end of the process Anhold Associates was selected. Their team includes Timmons Group as well as Dr. Dan Cristol, David Hirschman, Bushman Dreyfus Architects, and HugoRender. They will work with stakeholder groups to refine the initial conceptual plan beginning in early 2020. A complete timeline is currently in development. However, the current NRDAR award has a performance period ending December 2023. This is the expected project completion time frame.
Parks and Recreation, joined by other City Staff, met with the Anhold team for a kick-off meeting in December 2019 to walk the sight and review current conditions. The team quickly went to work on survey, stream study work, research, and the like in an effort to gather as much pertinent information about the site as necessary for the design process. In January, some of their initial work was shared with select public stakeholder groups. Three meetings were held with River Special Interest Groups (fishermen, paddlers, birders, etc.), Event/Recreation (special event planners, soccer, etc.) and Downtown District (merchants, arts, education, etc.) stakeholders. These meetings were held January 28-30, 2020. Input was also gathered from each of these groups as they each have a unique set of interests, desires, and ideas for the park. Below you will find some information shared and gleaned from the meetings:
Stakeholder Meeting PowerPoint Presentation (Downtown District Meeting presentation included some additional information about economic impact)
Stakeholder Survey Summary Participants were asked to rank common park elements on a scale from 1-5 where 5 is most important and 1 is least important. This is a composite of all the surveys received from each meeting.
The Anhold team will utilize this information as well as guidance from the NRDAR Trustees to shape the conceptual design of the park. Additional public meetings will be used to share the conceptual design and further finalize the design plans. Public meetings and comments were expected in April of 2020. These meetings were canceled due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. The public comment period from July 20, 2020 through August 07, 2020, was intended to take the place of face-to-face meetings.