About the trail opening:
Peter Krebs, PEC Community Organizer
About the trail:
Carmelita Wood, Fifeville Neighborhood Association President
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. (Oct. 25, 2022) – After the effects of Hurricane Ian rained out a first attempt, community leaders and residents of Charlottesville will now celebrate the formal opening of the new Fifeville Trail with a 10 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 5, rain or shine. Just as originally planned, the Nov. 5 event will begin at the Tonsler Park recreation center (500 Cherry Ave, Charlottesville), followed at 11:30 a.m. by a guided trail walk with opportunities to meet some of the people who collaborated to make the trail a reality.
The result of collaboration between many community groups and organizations, with leadership from the Fifeville Neighborhood Association, the Fifeville trail addresses “safety issues of neighborhood children getting to the park as parents are concerned with kids going down Cherry Avenue and 5th Street,” said Carmelita Wood, president of the Fifeville Neighborhood Association.
The trail system, which is on private land owned by Woodard Properties but open to the public, makes it possible for neighborhood residents to reach the park, businesses along Cherry Avenue, and the heart of Charlottesville, without traveling on busy streets with fast-moving traffic. While the trail’s original purpose was to restore neighborhood connections, the trail is itself a space of nature and tranquility. ”People from the City of Charlottesville are excited that the neighborhood dug in and is doing something on its own. People are excited about it and I’m excited about it. I’ve already walked the trail quite a few times,” Wood said.
The Fifeville Trail came about as the result of extensive community dialogue, with support from the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation. The trail is truly a community-led effort and the result of the work of many, with the following groups playing specific roles:
The Fifeville Neighborhood Association conceived the idea as part of the Cherry Avenue Small Area Plan. The association has provided leadership and work throughout and has been the indispensable force behind the project.
Woodard Properties owns the underlying land and agreed to allow the trail, with the understanding that it would be long-term but that the precise alignment might be subject to change.
The Rivanna Trails Foundation provided technical assistance, holds the lease of easement for the trail and acts as fiscal sponsor for the Get Outdoors Grant.
The Piedmont Environmental Council also provided technical assistance, including program design, coordination and communications.
AMPPL Trails provided construction services, at a discounted rate.
Charlottesville Parks and Recreation has supported the effort throughout, created a new entrance to Tonsler Park and has provided some in-kind support, such as mulch.
Since 1972, The Piedmont Environmental Council has proudly promoted and protected the natural resources, rural economy, history and beauty of the Virginia Piedmont. PEC empowers residents to protect what makes the Piedmont a wonderful place, and works with citizens to conserve land, improve air and water quality and build thriving communities. PEC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and accredited land trust. Learn more at www.pecva.org.