Lancaster unveils conceptual renderings for waterfront projects

  • Windmill Point

by Jackie Nunnery

LANCASTER—The irony for many residents in the Northern Neck is that despite being surrounded by water, they cannot always gain access to it.

That will be changing as the Lancaster board of supervisors on Thursday, August 31, reviewed master plans for three waterfront parks to increase opportunities to boat, bike, fish and hike along with taking in scenic views along Taylor Creek, Carter Cove and the Rappahannock River.

Carter Cove

Since the concepts were first presented to the board in June, the teams at Guernsey Tingle, Bay Design Group and Land Planning and Design Associates (LPDA) revised plans to simplify the boat launch and move the entrance farther down Carter Cove Drive. According to LPDA landscape architect Chris Basic, the new entrance location toward the center of the park will offer better visibility and safer turning as well as create a larger buffer for an adjacent residence. Short nature trails lead to the waterfront with a fishing pier, boat launch and picnic pavilion.

An old oyster house currently on the property cannot be saved, according to Tom Tingle, president of Guernsey Tingle. “But what we do as architects when we’re looking at buildings that just can’t be preserved, is we document everything.” Tingle said they have “interpreted the building in a way that pays homage to the history and culture” while keeping the same footprint. A pavilion with outdoor terraced seating could be used for educational events.

Taylor Creek Park

The entrance to the future park is off of Weems Road at the new housing community serving The Tides Inn. Plans show small parking areas spread throughout the park that will lead to biking and nature trails that include a boardwalk overlooking wetlands, ADA accessible kayak launches, pavilions with picnic tables and the potential to create outdoor education spaces. Basic said the greatest advantage of the project would be on the point where a picnic pavilion would provide a “270 degree view of the water, which will be spectacular.”

Windmill Point

Most of the effort will be restoring and preserving Westland Beach, much of which has been lost to erosion over the years. The public portion of the beach would be sandwiched between the private beaches of the neighboring condominiums and marina. A long fishing pier and boardwalk, currently jutting out 565 feet into the Rappahannock, is planned along with small beach pavilions to provide shade while not blocking views of the water. Centralized restrooms, complete with outdoor showers and additional parking are also planned.

Chesapeake Trail

Another county amenity, the Chesapeake Trail, will also see upgrades thanks to a $219,765 grant from the Department of Conservation and Recreation and funded by the Federal Highway Administration. Improvements include an expanded parking lot off Mary Ball Road with ADA compliant parking, restrooms, picnic tables, renovation of an overlook and deck and a kayak launch on the Corrotoman River.

By a 5-0 vote, the board unanimously accepted the grant which includes a required 25% match of $54,941.25. Director of planning and land use Olivia Hall, who secured the grant, said she plans on securing an additional grant to provide the matching funds.

In a related vote, the board unanimously approved an estimate of $22,700 in engineering services for the trail improvements along with $5,000 for a geotechnical report for the Kilmarnock Convenience Center and $6,000 for a bathymetric survey at Windmill Point.

Tri-Way Trail

The county also continued progress on the Tri-Way Trail, awarding a $339,000 bid for Phase 1A construction to William Wills Contractor Inc. in Hartfield. The work will include clearing and constructing parts of the Harris Road entrance and trails that will connect Harris Road to the Compass Entertainment Complex.

As the bid was $59,000 over the original estimate, the board also unanimously approved the additional amount to come from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to pay for the construction costs.