Plans for Farmville River Walk move forward

Published 12:06 am Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Construction hasn’t started yet, but work continues to map out when phases of the planned Farmville River Walk project will begin. During their Wednesday, Sept. 13 meeting, the town council unanimously approved a resolution, asking the Commonwealth Transportation Board to begin work for Phase II of the project. 

First proposed in 2019, the town received a $1.074 million grant for Phase I in 2021. To be clear, that’s the only portion that Farmville is committed to, a trail for pedestrians and bikers that creates a walkable path from High Bridge Trail down to Riverside Park near Main Street. Construction on that section is set to begin in summer 2026 and finish by 2028. 

Phase II would be a raised boardwalk area, going over some wetlands and ending at Building 8 of Greenfront Furniture. That would cost $3.568 million based on today’s estimates and go into construction in 2030. 

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“The third phase will probably be the most expensive one,” Farmville Town Manager Scott Davis told the group during their Sept. 6 work session, adding there’s no price tag for it yet. “That one goes along the river, behind Charley’s, behind the tasting room and connecting to the High Bridge Trail.” 

Who pays for Farmville River Walk? 

This is a joint project, with federal and state funds providing 80% of the money. The specific grant Farmville will be applying for each time is only available once every two years, which is why the first two phases are so far out. Also, as we’ve seen with the construction involving Prince Edward Elementary, a lot can change in terms of pricing within six months, let alone two years. 

Phase II of the River Walk would currently cost an estimated $3.568 million. The 20% local match of that would add up to $713,776.60. As the town has not received grant funding yet for Phase II, no decisions have been made about it or Phase III. 

That resolution adopted last week does commit the council to a couple things, at least when it comes to Phase II. First, once it’s built, the town agrees to handle all maintenance and operating costs. Also, if at some point the town decides to cancel Phase II, it will have to reimburse the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) for the total costs of planning, development and everything else spent by the agency up to that point.