ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Albemarle County is planning to turn donated land into a new park for the community. The announcement was made earlier Friday, September 28, at the Rivanna River Conference.

Brook Hill River Park is set to be located just off of Route 29 and Rio Mills Road on the South Fork of the Rivanna River.

The Oglesby-Haugh Family donated a little over 20 acres to the county to create the park.

"It didn't cost us anything. The original property was 500-something acres that was purchased in 1933 for $12,000,” donater Dayton Haugh said. “It just worked out that all the people in the family decided to give the property to the county so that everyone can enjoy it.”

The family says they've had many fond memories at the river and wanted to give back to the community.

"Right about where the dam is now there was a wonderful, big rock that all my friends use to like to come to sun bathe on, and there was a road across on Woodman Road - there was a bridge across the river - and people would stop to check to see what we were doing down there," donater Ann Haugh said.

Creating more recreation in urban areas is a goal of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, and Supervisor Ann Mallek says she's excited about what the new park has to offer.

"When you're floating you see otters, you see the gaurs - the foot-long spikey teeth fish that float in the sun - and the surface you can actually reach out and pat them. Eagles nesting… just a wonderful place right here at the boarder of the urban area that we can have access to nature right there,” she said.

However, in order for people to continue to enjoy the Rivanna, upkeep is needed: "Preservation of the Rivanna River is certainly going to be high on the priority list of everybody. It's how you can manage the preservation of it with understanding the proper rights and people's desires to develop, and all the time keeping water quality at a high level," said Chip Boyles, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission.

Plans for Brook Hill River Park include park hiking trails, picnic benches, parking, and an additional six miles of the Blueway Trail.


09/28/2018 Release from Albemarle County:

Albemarle County is pleased to announce the acceptance of a donation of land for a new park, Brook Hill River Park. The land, donated by the Oglesby Family, is located on the southwest corner of Route 29 and Rio Mills Road along the South Fork of the Rivanna River and totals 20.4 acres.

“The ecology of this property is fascinating, and sharing it with the community has long been a goal of mine,” shared Ann Mallek, Chair of the Board of Supervisors. “Creating recreational amenities in the heart of the County’s urban areas has been a strategic priority of the Board, and this park is a wonderful step forward. We are grateful for the generosity shown by the Oglesby Family in donating the land to the County.”

Brook Hill River Park, once developed, is envisioned to include a boat launch for kayaks and canoes, hiking trails, picnic tables, benches, educational signage, and river access for fishing, in addition to parking.

“Brook Hill River Park will open up an additional 6 miles of blueway trail to the community, by creating formal river access for paddlers. This donation comes at a time when enjoying the Rivanna River has never been more popular,” said Bob Crickenberger, Director of Parks & Recreation.