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Greenways: Introduction

Staunton, Virginia is a city in transition amid a world of change.  Although Staunton faces a number of challenges common to many urban areas, events in the city’s recent past and plans for the near future point to bright days ahead.  As localities throughout the country work to use decreasing financial resources to create more livable communities for their citizens and to compete with one another in the global economy, having a unique quality of life has become increasingly important.  While “unique quality of life” is defined differently by different people, most agree that the goal is achieved if their city is a good place to live, work, and play.

betsybellwoodsAs the city’s demographics, economics, and future goals change, the best projects will be those which meet the needs and desires of both the existing population and anticipated future residents.  Effort and financial resources should be focused on initiatives that strengthen current community assets and reinforce their relationships to one another.  Certainly, such expectations are high, but a carefully planned multi-use greenway trail can provide these types of internal connections as well as external notoriety to attract visitors and future residents.  Undertaking such a project will give Staunton’s citizens the opportunity to work cooperatively to strengthen their community in an exciting way.

The purpose of this project is to study, justify, and plan in a more Staunton-specific way for the construction of a multi-use greenway in the city.  This multi-use trail will be multi-purpose as well because it will in some way affect each of the following:  transportation, economy, recreation, conservation.  The core of this plan will focus on justifying and proposing trail route recommendations between six primary nodes:  the Frontier Culture Museum, Betsy Bell Park, the Staunton Correctional Center / Original Western State Hospital property, the central business district (CBD), Montgomery Hall Park, and Gypsy Hill Park.  Although, some brief attention will also be given to trail design in key spots, road/rail crossings, and trail interaction with the nodes.

The remainder of the Introduction further explains the greenway concept and provides information about various greenway projects across Virginia.  This is followed by a look at the proven benefits of greenways and a quick overview of one recent multi-use trail study.  The section entitled “Staunton – Yesterday and Today” provides a brief history of the city, describes the existing conditions of important variables to be considered, and identifies the key trail corridors.  The Methodology section explains the general route planning approach and each factor used to decide the proposed route of the Staunton Frontier Trail.  Next, the Goals and Objectives section outlines the plan’s larger guiding principles, and finally, the trail’s route is described along with funding and land acquisition options.

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