Signature Park

In 2013, the Town of Christiansburg paid $2.5 million for 63 acres of former farmland off Peppers Ferry Road, with the intent of ultimately building a park in the location. The property is known by the name of its late owner Truman Wilson, who lived, farmed and operated a sawmill there. Since the purchase of the property and while planning efforts for the park were underway, the Town leased the land for cattle grazing.

The property is in an ideal location because it offers the opportunity to expand recreational amenities to the northern part of town, is close to several neighborhoods, will provide support to the many businesses located nearby, and is adjacent to the ever-expanding Huckleberry Trail. 

In 2016, the Town unveiled a conceptual master plan for the park, and in 2018, the Town received an unsolicited PPEA design and construction proposal to build the park. (More on the PPEA process below in our FAQs). Council chose to accept this proposal for consideration and directed Town administration to advertise for competing proposals.

The Town received additional proposals from two design-build teams and initiated the process to review the three proposals. After consideration of the proposals, the Town selected the proposal submitted by the Faulconer Construction team and entered into an interim agreement to design the park to the 80% completion stage and establish a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for the park construction.

Where are we now?

At the Nov. 10, 2020 Town Council meeting, Council approved a budget amendment to the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 budget, which includes funding for the park – moving the project forward. At its Dec. 8, 2020 meeting, Town Council voted to enter into a comprehensive agreement with Faulconer Construction Company to build the park. 

Since December, 2020, Town staff has worked with the Faulconer Design Team to finalize the park construction plans. The plans include the initial extension of Booker T. Washington Parkway to the park entrance and eventually connect to Cambria Street and North Franklin Street in the future when funds are available. All right-of-way and permits have been secured. The Town signed and approved the final plans on May 10, 2021. Construction has unofficially begun with an official groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for May 15, 2021.

The park is estimated to cost a total of $17,995,000 and will be paid for by a combination of monies from the Town’s General Fund, Town reserves, private contributions and sponsorships, revenue from the sale of commercial outparcels on the park property, grants, and bonds. The Town expects to borrow roughly $9.3 million to complete the project. 

The video below (filmed in January-February 2020) includes more information on the park, along with interviews from Town staff, Mayor Mike Barber, and a member of the Town’s PPEA Review Committee. Additionally, please see below for answers to Frequently Asked Questions, as well as park plans and supporting documents that have been shared throughout the planning process.

To view the Park Plans illustrated in the video in HD, please select 1080p video quality.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the PPEA process? Why did the Town choose to utilize a PPEA process?

The Public-Private Education and Infrastructure Act of 2002 (PPEA) enables public bodies to partner with private entities to bring private sector expertise to public projects and to encourage innovative approaches to financing construction and renovation. Qualifying projects include public buildings and facilities of all types, including recreational facilities. 

The PPEA process integrates the design and construction phases of a project, in contrast to traditional design-bid-build projects, which require the public body to contract separately with an architect/engineer and then a construction company. 

The Town contracted with a local architectural/engineering design firm team in 2016 to develop the original Park Master Plan. In 2018, the Town received an unsolicited PPEA design and construction proposal by a team that included the original design firm. Council chose to accept this proposal for consideration and directed Town administration to advertise for competing proposals.

The Town received additional proposals from two design-build teams and initiated the process to review the three proposals. After consideration of the proposals, the Town selected the proposal submitted by the Faulconer Construction team and entered into an interim agreement to design the park to the 80% completion stage and establish a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for the park construction. Faulconer has since provided 80% plans and a GMP of $17,995,177, of which the Town has already paid $999,050 for the 80% plans. Remaining cost to be paid toward the GMP is $16,998,627, and the Town estimates another $995,000 for right-of-way easements and start-up costs. That brings the remaining total estimated, rounded cost of construction to $17,995,000. Town Council voted on Dec. 8, 2020 to enter into a comprehensive agreement to build the park.

Ultimately, the PPEA process can:

  1. Save time
    • Construction begins earlier with a design-build approach compared to the traditional design/bid/build project delivery system. 
  2. Save money
    • The PPEA process saves time (which saves money), and the joint development of the design and build model eliminates construction issues before they occur because the contractor is involved from the start of planning.
  3. Eliminate upfront costs
    • Competing PPEA companies provide conceptual designs, cost estimates and time schedules to the client without a financial commitment from the jurisdiction.
  4. Provide access to different designs
    • The jurisdiction has the opportunity to review several different design concepts before deciding on the best one. The PPEA process requests proposals with minimal restrictions, fostering competition among bidders to provide the community with amenities in the most cost effective way.
  5. Guarantee a maximum price
    • The selected PPEA company provides a guaranteed maximum price, reducing risk to the local government. The jurisdiction receives a set price, and Town Council can set a budget accordingly. The contractor takes on all financial risks beyond that price.

What amenities are included in the park?

The park may be constructed in two phases. Phase I includes four full-sized rectangular fields, two picnic pavilions, a splash pad, a small and large dog park, an inclusive playground, an adult fitness zone, a challenge course, nearly two miles of trails, and green space for passive recreation. Phase I construction began in May 2021 and is scheduled to be completed in November 2022. Phase II would provide the option for an amphitheater, additional parking, and volleyball and pickle ball courts. Phase II plans are deferred for longer-term potential future development, if Council votes to move forward.

Fields
  • The four, full-sized rectangular fields will be artificial turf and striped for football, soccer and lacrosse. The Town would also have the ability to stripe the fields for softball and youth baseball if needed. Because two of the fields are at a different elevation than the other two fields, there will be a natural divide allowing for different sports to be played at the same time. A concession stand and restrooms will be at this location, with a walking trail surrounding the perimeter of the fields.
Splash
  • The splash pad is an area with water spraying features that has little to no standing water. It provides an opportunity to safely incorporate water play without requiring lifeguards and will be a family-friendly way to enjoy water on a hot summer day.
Dog Park
  • There will be a dog park with separate areas for small and large dogs, with the animals separated by weight. The dog park will incorporate lots of shade, drinking water fountains for both dogs and humans, benches, obstacles for play and a double-gated entrance for safe entry and exit of humans and their pets. The dog park will be constructed with an antimicrobial artificial turf designed specifically for dogs. The turf blades are soft on animals’ paws and feel similar to natural grass. From a maintenance standpoint, the artificial surface will significantly increase the lifespan of the park and will not require constant rotation of the surface or replanting. The artificial turf contains nylon fibers that are treated with antimicrobial agents to neutralize bacteria and germs. It will be easy for crews to clean with water, but pet owners will still be required to pick up pet waste, as they would in a natural grass dog park. Additionally, the turf will be bedded with sand, which keeps the turf at a cooler temperature than the rubber used on multi-purpose artificial turf fields. The artificial turf will not require mowing or have any harmful or irritating fertilizers or chemical agents. Lastly, the artificial turf will significantly reduce the existence of pests, such as ticks and fleas, since they cannot live in the synthetic grass blades and cannot nest without soil. Our hope is that your pup will get back into your car and return home mud- and pest-free! 
Playground
  • There are seven fundamental principles of an inclusive playground design: be fair, be included, be smart, be independent, be safe, be active and be comfortable. This playground will provide amenities for everyone and will include items specific for children with social, emotional, cognitive, physical, hearing or visual disabilities. The playground invites inclusive interaction for all children.
Adult Course
  • A challenge course and ADA accessible, adult fitness zone will be an adult playground, providing fitness challenges and fun competitions for teenagers and adults to enjoy. The fitness course will incorporate a workout through stationary items, and the challenge course will include competitive obstacles to enhance exercise.
Pavilions
  • Two pavilions will be available for rent to the public: one at the splash pad and inclusive playground area, and the largest will be at the peak of the park. The hilltop pavilion will accommodate 100 guests and will overlook the Blue Ridge Mountains. This pavilion will feature restrooms and will be available for larger events. Other small picnic pavilions will be placed around the park in the future.
Trails
  • Nearly 1.5 miles of paved trails will be incorporated into the park and will provide connectivity with the nearby Huckleberry Trail. The trails will provide different levels of difficulty – ranging from relatively flat to a steeper hill climb – to meet the many needs of our community. 
Recreation
  • Passive recreation was important to incorporate in this park because it provides a calm environment for many different types of recreation, beyond organized sports. Green space allows for family and community connections, quiet walks, a space for an afternoon read or picnic and so much more.

What is the cost of the park and how will the Town pay for it?

Faulconer provided a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for construction of $17,995,177, of which the Town has already paid $999,050 for the 80% plans. Remaining cost to be paid toward the GMP is $16,998,627, and the Town estimates another $995,000 for right-of-way easements and start-up costs. That brings the remaining total estimated, rounded cost of construction to $17,995,000. 

Construction of the park will be paid for by a combination of monies from our General Fund, Town reserves, private contributions and sponsorships, revenue from the sale of commercial out-parcels on the park property, grants, and bonds. Currently, the Town has allocated: $1.304 million from its Recreation Reserve fund; $1.04 million from its Capital Project Reserve fund; $2 million from its additional reserves; and $1,000 from general fund. The Town estimates at least one grant will be awarded for the project at roughly $350,000, and sponsorships, donations and the sale of commercial out-parcels on the property will provide at least $4 million. The Town expects to borrow roughly $9.3 million to complete the project. 

In addition to the $999,050 the Town has already spent for the 80% plans, the Town has also previously spent $2,720,255.60 toward the park project. That total includes $2,509,123 for the purchase of the property; $67,143 for the demolition of structures and asbestos removal; $21,584 to move a gas line; $79,555.60 to McDonough Bolyard Peck Inc. for the review of park proposals and plan development review services; $38,000 to Norfolk Southern for an easement; and $4,850 to SC Stevenson Consulting for ground penetrating radar services. Adding the cost of the 80% plans and the previous expenses together, as of December 2020, the Town has spent $3,719,305.60 on the park project.

Spending
Funding

Will the park be built in phases?

Two phases have been identified, with Phase I construction approved and moving forward. Phase I includes four full-sized, artificial turf rectangular fields, two pavilions, a maintenance building, a splash pad, a small and large dog park, an inclusive playground, an adult fitness zone, a challenge course, nearly 1.5 miles of trails, and green space for passive recreation. Phase II would provide the option for an amphitheater, additional parking, and volleyball and pickle ball courts. Phase II would be a longer-term future development option for Town Council to vote on constructing at a later date.

In addition to the amenities, Phase I will also include mass grading of the entire park property and support infrastructure, including roads and parking lots, stormwater collection and management systems, water, sanitary sewer, gas, wi-fi and lighting. This infrastructure will also support the development of commercial out-parcels included in the park development that will be sold by the Town in the future to help offset the park construction costs.

What is the timeline for Phase I?

At the Nov. 10, 2020 Town Council meeting, Council approved a budget amendment to the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 budget, which includes funding for the park – moving the project forward. At its Dec. 8, 2020 meeting, Town Council voted to enter into a comprehensive agreement with Faulconer Construction Company to build the park.

Phase I construction began in May 2021 and is scheduled to be completed by November 2022. 

What are the expected traffic impacts of construction for Phase I?

There are no major traffic impacts associated with Phase I construction. The new access road to the park will require construction of a right turn lane on Peppers Ferry Road (Route 114), which may require a lane closure but no detour. The traffic signal serving the park entrance and Quin W. Stuart Boulevard was constructed under a previous Town project. The construction traffic entering Peppers Ferry Road will be controlled and protected by this traffic signal.

What is the Connector Road, and is it part of the park project?

While the Connector Road will run through the park property, it is a separate project and is dependent on future funding. The Connector Road would provide another north-south thoroughfare for the town by ultimately connecting Peppers Ferry Road (adjacent to the park) to North Franklin Street (near the Food Lion Shopping Center/Waffle House). 

Phase I of the Connector Road is primarily a two-lane road extension planned from Peppers Ferry Road (Route 114) at the recently installed Quin W. Stuart Boulevard traffic signal to a roundabout planned at the Cambria Street and Providence Boulevard intersection. Phase II of the Connector Road extends the two-lane road from the roundabout to the new North Franklin Street intersection, where a traffic signal was recently installed as part of the Town’s North Franklin Corridor Improvement Project.

A section of Phase I of the Connector Road will be constructed from Peppers Ferry Road (Route 114) to the main park entrance as part of the first phase of the park development. It will provide interim park access until the full road is constructed. In January 2021, the Town was awarded $425,000 in Recreation Access funding through VDOT to help pay for this construction. Of these funds, $350,000 ($250,000 unmatched from VDOT and $100,000 matched from the Town) will be allocated to construct the access road and $75,000 ($60,000 unmatched from VDOT and $15,000 matched from the Town) will be allocated to construct the bikeway to the park.

The Connector Road plans were developed to the 35% stage to establish the horizontal and vertical alignment for the park access road and to support a Connector Road Phase I VDOT Smart Scale funding application submitted to VDOT in late summer 2020. The Connector Road was not selected for Smart Scale funding during this round, but the Town continues to pursue VDOT funding opportunities. 

Town Council voted on Jan. 12, 2021 to name the proposed Connector Road the Booker T. Washington Parkway. Washington served as superintendent of Christiansburg Industrial Institute (CII) from 1896 until his death in 1915 and was instrumental in expanding the curriculum to include both classical instruction and practical instruction in industry and the trades. The school was relocated to Lattimer Plantation in 1898 and was significantly expanded in the following years, growing to 14 buildings and 185 acres—some of which Booker T. Washington Parkway will reside on. George Washington Carver and other members of the Tuskegee University staff visited CII, and prominent industrial engineer John Wines Lester lived on the CII campus.

Today, Christiansburg Institute, Inc. (CI, Inc.) is a 501(c)3 grassroots, cultural heritage and historic preservation non-profit organization with a mission of education and empowerment. CI, Inc. operates a museum containing archival collections and artifacts from CII’s 100-year legacy. The non-profit offers community education and cultural programming; partners with local community agencies, schools and local government; and manages the historic preservation and adaptive reuse of the Edgar A. Long Building and adjoining CII properties. Learn more about CII history at CI, Inc.’s exhibit here: tinyurl.com/CIExhibit. (Source: Christiansburg Institute, Inc.)

Will there be lighting incorporated into the park?

Yes, lighting will be provided for the four multi-purpose fields, the roadway and the parking lots. There will be minimal to no light spill beyond the boundaries of the sports fields. Faulconer Construction is partnering with a lighting company specialized in the design and manufacture of sports lighting solutions and providing affordable ways to control spill light and glare. This sports lighting directs light with pinpoint precision, because it’s focused on lighting the fields, not the neighborhoods surrounding them. In addition to the pinpoint precision, the lights on the fields will also have a 25-year warranty.  

Trail lighting opportunities throughout the park are being evaluated to provide a safe experience for park users.

Timeline for the Park Planning Process

Park Master Plan 11.18.19

View a pdf of the current master plan for the park here (pictured above).

May 10, 2021

The Town approved the 100% plans for construction of the signature park and the Booker T. Washington Parkway. The Town has issued the permit allowing grading operations to begin.

Jan. 12, 2021

Town Council voted to name the proposed Connector Road the Booker T. Washington Parkway.

Dec. 8, 2020

At its Dec. 8 meeting, Town Council voted to enter into a comprehensive agreement with Faulconer Construction Company to build the park. View the presentation regarding this agreement here.

Nov. 10, 2020

At the Nov. 10, 2020 Town Council meeting, Council approved a budget amendment to the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 budget, which includes funding for the park – moving the project forward. Town Council will hold a public hearing at its Dec. 8 meeting at 7 p.m. in Town Hall to discuss the issuance of debt for the project. Town Council will also need to vote at an upcoming meeting on whether to accept the GMP from Faulconer Construction and enter into a comprehensive agreement to build the park.

Oct. 29, 2020

At a Town Council work session, Faulconer Construction presented a report, completed by Victus Advisors, that included a market demand study and sports opportunity assessment on the park. The full report can be found here, and a summary of the report can be found here

July 2020

Faulconer Construction presented the 80% plans to the Park PPEA Committee. 

Jan. 16, 2020

Faulconer Construction presented the 35% plans to the Park PPEA Committee, which are being reviewed and commented on by staff. 

Nov. 19, 2019

Christiansburg Town Council voted 6-0 to move forward with 80% plan development of Phase I of the park. 

Nov. 18, 2019

Christiansburg Town Council held a work session with Faulconer Construction to discuss updates to the park plans.

Nov. 4, 2019

The Park PPEA Committee and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission held a joint meeting to discuss updates to the park plans.

Sept. 9, 2019

The Town of Christiansburg held an open house information session on the park to provide an update to residents about where we are in the process of designing the proposed park and to collect feedback from residents so that those comments can be taken into consideration as the design process moves forward.  

The information displayed during the meeting can be found at the links below.

July 23, 2019

Christiansburg Town Council voted 6-0 to enter into an agreement with Faulconer Construction Company for the design of a park on the former Truman Wilson Property off Peppers Ferry Road. 

January 2019

The Town began reviewing three PPEA proposals. The Town initially received an unsolicited design proposal from Branch. After advertising for competing proposals, the Town received a revised proposal from Branch, as well as a proposal from EC Pace Company and Faulconer Construction Company. All three proposals are linked below.

Documents supporting the conceptual design proposal solicitation can be viewed here.