New Woolen Mills bridge installation underway

New Woolen Mills bridge installation underway
New bridge installed at Woolen Mills property (Source: WVIR)

ALBEMARLE COUNTY Va. (WVIR) - A new bridge will soon provide pedestrian and bicycle access to the newly renovated Woolen Mills property.

For many in the community, the bridge’s installation at Moores Creek in Albemarle County has long been a priority. Once completed, the bridge will span from the historic wool factory at the end of East Market Street to the Rivanna Trail.

Rex Linville of the Piedmont Environmental Council says this addition will turn an isolated spot into a resource for all.

“The core thing about this particular project is it’s an acknowledgement that bicycle and pedestrian connectivity that is vital to the community,” Linville said. “It is more than just parking, recreation. It’s more than just fun.”

It will also close a gap in the Rivanna Trail, which loops around Charlottesville.


PRESS RELEASE:

Piedmont Environmental Council Lauds New Woolen Mill Bridge Connection

ALBEMARLE, VA. (June 30, 2020) - Today, the Piedmont Environmental Council is celebrating this morning’s installation of a new 140-foot pedestrian bridge over Moores Creek in Albemarle, which will soon provide pedestrian and bicycle access from The Wool Factory at the end of East Market Street to the Rivanna Trail on the south side of the creek.

”This new bridge is significant in a number of ways,” said PEC Community Organizer Peter Krebs.

“By closing a critical gap in the 20-mile Rivanna Trail, which encircles the city of Charlottesville, it brings what had been a two-mile isolated and little-used trail section back into use providing everyday access to the outdoors for Wool Factory tenants and the entire community. It opens the door for future bicycle and pedestrian connectivity projects in the area, including a crossing of the Rivanna River, which is now being studied. And importantly, it changes the paradigm of thinking about bike and pedestrian trails as solely for recreation and recognizes their value as an economic development tool,” he said.

”We commend Wool Factory owner and developer Brian Roy and the Albemarle County Office of Economic Development, which provided $1 million toward the project, for their vision and commitment to adding value to this historic property and improving the lives of area residents by increasing their access to the outdoors and forging new connections,” Krebs said. “This is economic development that focuses on making the community a better place for all. By providing more places to walk and bike and everyday access to nature, projects like this support residents’ health, productivity and prosperity.”

A bridge at Moores Creek has long been a community priority, and the idea took its first steps toward reality when The Piedmont Environmental Council brought renowned urban green way planner Chuck Flink to Charlottesville to talk about the economic, health, and social benefits of greenways and community investment in bike-pedestrian connectivity. Flink met with leaders from several local businesses, including WillowTree Inc., which was considering a move to the new Wool Factory site.

In conversations with Roy about a potential move into Wool Factory, WillowTree Inc. CEO Tobias Dengel emphasized the value of local investment in bike-pedestrian infrastructure, historically seen as the purview of parks and recreation, as an important economic development feature that resonates with prospective employers and their employees.

”A deep network of bike and pedestrian paths throughout the county and city connected to our new headquarters is critical for us as we compete globally for talent. Today’s employees look for companies and local governments with environmentally conscious policies and communities that are authentically connected with each other and the world around them. Excellent bike and pedestrian paths play an absolutely critical role in achieving these goals,” Dengel said.

”We are profoundly grateful to Brian Roy for having the vision and perseverance to make this crucial Moores Creek crossing a reality. The generous support of private landowners enables Rivanna Trail Foundation to pursue our mission to connect communities and people to one another and to nature. We’ve dreamed for decades of making this key connection. I hope this exemplary public-private partnership will be a model for future efforts to improve the trail network inour community,” said Rip Verkerke, president of the Rivanna Trails Foundation.

”People need great places to live and do business, and when asked what that means, residents of Albemarle County consistently say that sidewalks, trails and bike lanes are top investment priorities. With the Moores Creek Bridge, we see the government, business and nonprofit sectors all playing critical roles in the creation of necessary infrastructure that will have a durable, positive impact,” said Krebs. “This is going to be an important step forward for Albemarle and Charlottesville.

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