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 was named at the time after Truman Wilson – its late owner, who lived, farmed and operated a sawmill there. Since the purchase of the property and while planning efforts for the park have been underway, the Town has leased it 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 and is adjacent to the ever-expanding Huckleberry Trail.
In 2016, the Town unveiled a conceptual master plan for the proposed 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. The park is proposed to be completed in two phases, with construction on Phase I starting as soon as summer 2020. Phase II includes deferred plans for future development of the park, if Town Council chooses to pursue it. Once the 80% plans are completed, Town Council will vote on whether to move forward with construction of Phase I of the park.
The park is estimated to cost $16-18 million and will be paid for by a combination of monies from the Town’s General Fund, Town reserves, bonds, private contributions and sponsorships, revenue from commercial outparcels on the park property, and grants.
The video below 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. Town Council will have the ability to accept this GMP and enter into a comprehensive agreement to build the park or reject the GMP and advertise the plans that have been prepared for competitive bids.
Ultimately, the PPEA process can:
- Save time
- Construction begins earlier with a design-build approach compared to the traditional design/bid/build project delivery system.
- 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.
- Eliminate upfront costs
- Competing PPEA companies provide conceptual designs, cost estimates and time schedules to the client without a financial commitment from the jurisdiction.
- 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.
- Guarantee a maximum price
- The selected PPEA company provides a guaranteed maximum price. That means 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 is proposed to be constructed in two phases. Phase I includes four full-sized rectangular fields, three 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. If approved by Council, Phase I could begin as early as Summer 2020. Phase II would provide the option for an amphitheater, additional parking, and volleyball and pickle ball courts. Phase II plans are deferred for future development, if Council votes to move forward.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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. Your pup will get back into your car and return home mud- and pest-free!
- 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!
- 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.
- Three pavilions will be available for rent to the public: one at the multi-purpose fields, another 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. Other small picnic pavilions will be around the park.
- Nearly two 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.
- Passive recreation was important to incorporate in this proposed 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?
The Town will not know the Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for the construction until the 80% plans are complete in late spring or early summer 2020. However, the current estimate for constructing Phase I of the park is $16-18 million. The park will be paid for by a combination of monies from our General Fund, Town reserves, bonds, private contributions and sponsorships, revenue from commercial out-parcels on the park property, and grants.
Will the park be built in phases?
Yes. Phase I includes four full-sized, artificial turf rectangular fields, three 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 II would provide the option for an amphitheater, additional parking, and volleyball and pickle ball courts. After receiving the 80% plans of Phase I in late spring or early summer 2020, Christiansburg Town Council will vote on whether or not to move forward with construction. Phase II would be a future development option for Town Council to vote on constructing at a later date, after Phase I is completed.
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, and lighting. This infrastructure will also support the development of commercial out-parcels proposed with 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?
The park’s 80% design plans are scheduled for completion in late spring or early summer 2020, with the potential to begin construction in early summer of 2020. Phase I construction is anticipated to take up to two years from the notice to commence construction.
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 Quinn 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 Quinn 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 is being installed as part of the Town’s current 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. The Town is in the process of applying for Recreation Access funding through VDOT to help pay for this construction. The Town may receive up to $250,000 for an access road project, with an additional $100,000 if matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis by the locality.
The Connector Road plans are being 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 submittal planned for the fall of 2020. Connector Road Smart Scale funding and construction potentially could occur in 2027 if the project scores well enough to be selected.
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 of the Park Planning Process
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
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.
- Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission and Regional Park PPEA Committee Meeting Presentation Nov. 4, 2019 (PDF)
- Updated Park Master Plan (PDF)
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.
- Architectural Drawings & Designs (PDF)
- Aerial View & Amenities (Phase 1) (PDF)
- Aerial View & Amenities (All Phases) (PDF)
- Ground-Level View (PDF)
- Lighting Proposed (PDF)
- Connector Road Display Board (PDF)
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.
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.