Chesterfield wants to make a bigger play for youth sports tournaments with an expansion of its River City Sportsplex as it aims to guide development on Genito Road near Route 288 to better support the county-owned athletics venue.
On deck are four new synthetic turf fields, a 3,500-seat outdoor stadium and a multi-purpose building, according to an estimated $48 million master plan presented by county officials at a community meeting last week.
The new fields would bring the 115-acre complex’s total to 16. One of the existing fields would be converted into the planned outdoor stadium. The master plan maps out new amenities for the fields like shaded shelters, a terraced hill for seating and more restrooms. The plan also includes additional parking and improvements to existing parking.
Community-oriented amenities like a playground with a splash pad, an adult fitness area, a picnic area and a 5K multi-use trail are also included in the master plan, among other additions. The multi-purpose building would feature a restaurant and rooftop observation deck.
Stuart Connock of Chesterfield Parks & Recreation, who presented the plan at last week’s meeting, said the department has submitted funding requests to implement the plan as part of the county’s upcoming annual budget process, and the construction timeline is dependent on funding through the county’s capital improvement program.
“We have, as part of this year’s request, put in several projects we think would be important to advance that master plan,” Connock said during the meeting.
Land-use plan for surrounding area
County officials last week also unveiled initial plans for the upcoming Genito/288 Special Focus Area plan, which is a type of land-use plan that maps out what sort of development the locality would like to see in a given area. In this case, the county wants to encourage development that it thinks will make River City Sportsplex a stronger contender for attracting more of the youth sports tournaments.
“Through the special focus area plan process, the county has an opportunity to get out ahead of redevelopment and establish a strategy that builds off the success and draw of River City Sportsplex,” Chesterfield Principal Planner Joanne Wieworka said last week.
The 437-acre special focus area includes the county-owned Southside Speedway site as well as River City Sportsplex and Oak Lake Business Park. Just outside the area’s borders is the future mixed-use development dubbed The Lake.
On the Speedway site, the county envisions a commercial and entertainment hub geared toward restaurants, retail and other uses to potentially include a hotel.
“Right now, there really isn’t much for people to do when they come to River City (Sportsplex),” Wieworka said.
There are tentative plans for corporate office and light industrial uses south of Genito Road, and residential development in the eastern part of the plan area.
The county is still developing the draft special focus area proposal, which would ultimately need to be approved by the Board of Supervisors.
The county plans for additional public comment as the draft works its way through to final approval.
Public feedback and development trends were used to get the process to this point, Wieworka said. The county used a survey to seek public comment and received responses from about 1,160 people.
The survey found that 46 percent of respondents felt parks and recreation and entertainment uses would be desirable for the Speedway site and surrounding area. The survey also found that 37 percent of respondents would like to see the Speedway, which shuttered during the pandemic, continue to operate.
The Chesterfield Economic Development Authority closed on its $5 million acquisition of the Speedway in a deal that was recorded in July. The county had not received a formal proposal to reopen the Speedway as of last week, Economic Development Director Garrett Hart said.
Chesterfield’s ambitions for growth at River City Sportsplex coincide with its plans to build a sizable ice hockey facility as part of the redevelopment of Spring Rock Green shopping center.