Throughout its long history, the village of Ettrick has served as an important gateway into Chesterfield County. According to the Chesterfield County revitalization department, under the leadership of Tom Jacobson, that gateway will now be enhanced. A conceptual plan was introduced at a ceremony last week in Ettrick, previewing what the proposed improvement would bring.
The Ettrick Village Plan, adopted in 2004, suggests that “functionally and visually distinct communities and historic villages (such as Ettrick Village) should be preserved … the future of the village as a distinct, historic community could be jeopardized unless future growth is directed in a manner that respects, preserves and reinforces the village’s traditional appearance, scale, form and function.”
Its location adjacent to Virginia State University (VSU) is also important, according to the project planners, the Timmons Group. Planners see Ettrick as becoming a vibrant college town that would incorporate a distinct retail shopping district. The streetscape would provide a unified and interesting experience for pedestrians and vehicular traffic. New signage, lighting, site furnishingS such as benches, paving and plants, as well as well defined parking areas will help provide an appealing and safe experience for village and university residents; plus all utilities would be relocated underground, according to the plan document.
“I can see children playing and couples walking in the wayside park. I can see the benches along Chesterfield Avenue and the pretty mix of indigenous evergreen and shade trees,” commented the Chesterfield Avenue Enhancement core group members as part of their vision. “I can see a fancy restaurant and moonlight serenades on the cobblestone walk overlooking the Appomattox.”
The first phase of the project is complete, which consists of about a block on the north end of Chesterfield Avenue, and paid for by a Community Development Block Grant (CDGB). The next phase, which begins in the fall and includes bumping out the sidewalk and planting areas, will also be covered by CDBG funding, according to Chesterfield’s revitalization department. The cost of the project is broken down into two parts – Chesterfield County and VSU. Chesterfield would bare approximately $900,000 of the project, while VSU’s part would cost more than $1.7 million. VSU has also stated that they would kick in an additional $300,000 in matching funds to help Chesterfield move on the project.