New Plans in the Works for Waynesboro's Constitution Park - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

New Plans in the Works for Waynesboro's Constitution Park

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The push to redevelop Constitution Park in Waynesboro began in the 1970s, but now there is funding to get started and new architectural plans that went public this week. However, the entire plan isn't getting rave reviews.

Constitution Park is right between the South River and downtown Waynesboro, but is not fully connected to either one.  The redeveloped park would change that, but one casualty of the proposed change would be the multi-use pavilion that hosts events throughout the year.

Constitution Park will be an entirely different place if the architect's vision eventually becomes reality.

One major change would be removing McElroy Street, that cuts much of the park in half.

"With the removal of the road, it really opens up for a larger festival space, and also possibly a multipurpose field that we could have sporting events but also, say, a large concert," said Waynesboro Director of Parks and Recreation Dwayne Jones.

The changes would also give visitors better views of and access to the South River, and seamlessly connect the park with future phases of the greenway.

"The general concept is great.  It's a rather barren park right now that needs some improvements," said Waynesboro Farmers Market Manager Jim Coate.  

But Coate is not sold on the entire plan.  It would spell the end of the pavilion that houses the Wednesday afternoon market. The new vendor space would be a row of tents near Main Street and Arch Avenue, at the gateway to the city's downtown.

"There's a lot of concern I've heard from the vendors in terms of it being a windy location and being in the afternoon when the pavement's already hot and thunderstorms and so on," said Coate. 

"We want to draw people - more people - into the park, and more people from the park into downtown.  So we've created a better access point, and sort of bringing a park-like setting into that corner of Main Street and Arch," said Jones.

The park plans will go up for public discussion at a meeting in January.

Waynesboro has landed a pair of state grants that will help pay for improvements to Constitution Park, but detailed design work will likely take up all of next year. No visible work is likely to happen until 2014.

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