A draft conceptual plan for the Genito/288 corridor shows potential uses that would be complementary to the county-owned River City Sportsplex.
Nine months after they presented initial concepts for guiding future development in a 437-acre area around the intersection of Genito Road and Route 288, staff in Chesterfield’s Planning Department will share a series of draft recommendations from the Genito/288 Special Focus Area Plan at a July 12 community meeting.
The meeting will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Clover Hill High School, in an open house format designed to allow citizens to come and go as they please.
Instead of a formal presentation, staff will be available to answer any questions and record your feedback regarding the draft plan, which is expected to be posted to the county website by the end of this month for community review and additional input.
A special focus area plan is a long-range document that provides detailed development guidance to areas currently undergoing or having a high potential for change, with an emphasis on redevelopment strategies and placemaking.
“We’re beginning to see potential uses for this area take shape,” said Clover Hill District Supervisor Chris Winslow, who will cohost the community meeting with the district’s planning commissioner, Gloria Freye. “It’s a vision that incorporates the best of family and youth recreation and entertainment in Chesterfield, while acting as a catalyst for revitalization of the surrounding area.”
Enhancing the Genito/288 corridor is vital as the county seeks to build on its 2016 investment in acquiring River City Sportsplex, a 115-acre athletic facility that has made Chesterfield one of the most sought-after sports tourism destinations on the East Coast.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Chesterfield hosted 48 sports tourism events in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2021, attracting more than 180,000 visitors and generating an estimated impact of $32.2 million to the local economy. Most of that activity resulted directly from youth sports tournaments held on the sportsplex's synthetic turf fields.
Those numbers will be bolstered by the launch of the Chesterfield After Hours summer concert series at River City. (The 2022 season is expected to include at least eight shows, beginning with Aaron Lewis and The Stateliners on July 22).
While Chesterfield has upgraded parking and other infrastructure at the facility over the past 5½ years, and has developed a plan for additional capital improvements, there still aren’t many eating, lodging, shopping or entertainment options for visitors in the immediate vicinity.
An opportunity to fill that void – and attract commercial development that complements the sportsplex – presented itself when the 47-acre former Southside Speedway property went on the market last year. Chesterfield’s Economic Development Authority acquired it at the direction of the Board of Supervisors.
“The property was purchased in order to keep it from being divided and used in ways that would not be compatible with the development of River City and the development desires of the community,” said Garrett Hart, director of Chesterfield Economic Development. “The vision for the property is for it to be developed in a manner that will enhance the work and play experience of all people visiting or living in the area.”
The draft conceptual plan for the Genito/288 special focus area recommends a hotel site, restaurants and a brewery, destination retail and community green space adjacent to River City. All would be located along a newly constructed access road, with pedestrian accommodations and streetscaping, leading to the sportsplex.
It also calls for entertainment/sport/recreation uses on the site of the former 1/3-mile racetrack, as well as community commercial and sports/wellness/office uses on EDA-owned property south of Genito Road.
As Hart noted, “the EDA has no specific plan for the site’s development.” Rather, the Genito/288 Special Focus Area Plan will serve as a guide for developing near the sportsplex in the future.
The document is expected to be voted on by the Board of Supervisors later this year. If approved, it will be incorporated into Chesterfield’s countywide comprehensive plan.
Hart acknowledged the EDA has received input from citizens who want to reopen Southside Speedway, but said that to date it has not received a proposal that would accomplish that objective “in a sustainable manner.”
“Economic Development staff is currently working with a local development group that wishes to build a multi-event mixed-use development that brings racing back to the property,” he said. “We are assisting them with information on the site and development costs. In the next few weeks, we should be in position to evaluate the potential of this proposal. Following that, the EDA will report back to the Board of Supervisors on the next steps for the property.”
Economic Development staff also are working with the owner of Chesterfield Auto Parts, which is adjacent to River City Sportsplex, on a possible relocation “that would both allow for a different future for that property and enhance the operations of a long-term existing business in Chesterfield,” Hart added.