Faced with the quickening pace of development in and around the city, Staunton, Virginia officials recognize the need for careful planning to maintain and strengthen their community’s unique quality of life. As proven by the growing number of successful greenway projects near Staunton, throughout Virginia, and across the nation, attractive connecting corridors provide important quality of life benefits by linking key locations within and between communities. Responding to Staunton’s advertised interest in having such a greenway plan, a graduate student in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Master of Urban and Regional Planning program produced the following document for the city between December 2004 and May 2005.
This plan proposes a citizen-led initiative to build a multi-use Staunton Frontier Trail network which provides attractive and convenient connections between neighborhoods, schools, parks, natural areas, businesses, and other important spots across the city. These linkages will enhance the city’s image and quality of life by expanding recreation options, encouraging different modes of transportation, protecting natural scenic character, and supporting economic development. Because of its broad scope, the plan does not address details such as specific site design or the intricacies of the trail’s impact on the key nodes being connected. Rather, the plan focuses primarily on two big-picture themes: providing justification for such a project in Staunton, and proposing trail routes.
Phase One of the network connects the Frontier Culture Museum to three new housing developments and a new 1.2 mile paved recreational loop around the base of Betsy Bell Park. The off-road trail descends to the future mixed-use development on the former Correctional Center property where it will be convenient to a number of businesses, homes, and a beautiful new park along Greenville Avenue. After crossing to the nationally-recognized, historic central business district the trail links up with the trolley system which takes people to the many unique shops and entertainment options downtown - as well as the always-popular Gypsy Hill Park. Phases Two and Three expand the network to Montgomery Hall Park, Lewis Creek, open space on school grounds, more neighborhoods, and the city’s rolling countryside. Upon its completion, the Staunton Frontier Trail will help growing numbers of residents and visitors better explore and appreciate a beautiful city in a more personal way.
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