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New fishing pier and ‘glamping’ are now at Chickahominy…
JAMES CITY — Changes are afoot at Chickahominy Riverfront Park, with several improvement projects completed or in the works.
A ribbon cutting event was held at the beginning of November for the park’s new-and-improved fishing pier. The project, which began in June, was completed about two months ahead of schedule, with the pier reopening to the public at the end of October.
“The previous pier, built in the 1970s, was popular with the community but had long outlived its useful life,” said Alister Perkinson, the county’s parks administrator. “The pier experienced frequent flooding during high tide events, was not accessible to all, and required significant annual maintenance.”
The old pier was demolished as part of the project, with a “substantially larger” pier constructed at the same location. The new fishing pier can now accommodate all visitors, including those with disabilities. In addition, the pier offers solar lighting, a fish cleaning table and ADA parking.
“The pier is lit for night fishing and is free and open to the public 24/7,” Perkinson said. “The public reaction has been great, and we have seen daily use of the pier, even as the weather has gotten colder.”
James City County Parks & Recreation is also collaborating with the Williamsburg Boat Club on a rowing center for the organization’s growing program. The club’s new boathouse will be located at the back of the park along Gordon Creek, where both Williamsburg Boat Club as well as William & Mary hold rowing programs.
Perkinson said county staff has been working with both groups to develop a conceptual plan for this section of the park, which will also include space to launch canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards as well as upgraded parking and restroom facilities.
“There has been a need for covered boat storage and a bad weather shelter/training facility since the club expanded its youth program in 2014, but serious discussions did not start until about 2018,” said Bruce Lifka, president of Williamsburg Boat Club.
The boat club is leading fundraising efforts for its own boathouse, with roughly $55,000 of a goal of $200,000 raised so far. The entire project, including the paddlecraft launch, restrooms and parking, is slated for completion in late 2027 or early 2028.
“The overall plan in the park beyond the rowing center will be a beautiful park transition from storage/maintenance to ‘parkland,’ with vastly improved water access for small non-motorized boats and handicapped/adaptive rowing and kayaking,” Lifka said. “The water and the preserved land with increased accessibility is pristine and a real hidden gem of our area.”
Other projects currently underway include replacement of the existing well that serves the 140-acre park and campground, as well as the construction of a new long-term RV storage area. Perkinson said the well project is still in the design phase, with an anticipated completion date of early 2025.
“The RV storage area will provide a screened, ample parking area for people to store RVs over a longer period of time for a monthly fee,” Perkinson said. “While we provide this service currently, the storage area is small and not screened from view for other park users. That project is under construction now and will be complete this coming April 2024.”
Also in the works at the park is a new paved multiuse trail, which will connect to the Virginia Capital Trail and run along the shoreline of the Chickahominy River from the new fishing pier to where the river meets Gordon Creek. The trail is expected to open in late 2026 or early 2027.
In addition, Parks & Recreation entered into an agreement with Timberline Glamping Co. earlier this year to provide six glamping tents within the park along the creek. The tents feature hotel quality beds, air conditioning and heating, a mini-fridge, coffee maker, home décor and electrical outlets.
“Each site also includes a deck with a ceiling fan and chairs to lounge and enjoy the beautiful views,” Perkinson said. “The tents are open for reservation year-round. We are excited about adding this amenity to the campground, and the glamping tents were very popular in the first summer season.”
A shoreline stabilization project, which involved the establishment of living shorelines along the Chickahominy River and Gordon Creek, was completed at the park in 2022.
For more information about Chickahominy Riverfront Park, visit www.jamescitycountyva.gov/Facilities/Facility/Details/Chickahominy-Riverfront-Park-2.
Brandy Centolanza, firstname.lastname@example.org
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