Work continues on a draft land-use plan for the area that includes River City Sportsplex and Southside Speedway – an effort that the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors is expected to approve later this year.
County officials held a community meeting Tuesday to showcase draft recommendations for the proposed Genito/288 Special Focus Area Plan and gather feedback. The plan is intended to provide guidelines to direct development of a 437-acre area where Powhite Parkway meets Route 288 in western Chesterfield.
At the core of the special focus area is the Sportsplex, a 115-acre facility for youth sports tournaments. Chesterfield officials have said the Sportsplex, where it is planning a $48 million expansion project, would benefit from more amenities in the immediate area, such as restaurants and entertainment options as well as a hotel.
The meeting came amid ongoing conversations between the county and an undisclosed developer who wants to build a mixed-use development that would feature racing and other entertainment on the former Speedway property.
The county held 48 sports tourism events in fiscal year 2021 that were attended by more than 180,000 people and generated an estimated economic impact of $32.2 million, according to a Monday post to the county’s Chesterfield On Point blog.
Stuart Connock of Chesterfield Parks and Recreation said tournamentgoers and organizers have expressed interest in a venue with such offerings nearby and it would help attract more business to the Sportsplex.
“It’ll be a great sales tool for us to attract tournaments here. That’s one thing we’ve heard: Can you have more restaurants close? We’d like to stay here, it’d be great if you had a hotel,” Connock said. “It makes sense to look at some types of facilities that will complement what we already have here.”
That’s where the former Southside Speedway property comes into play. County officials see the property, which the Economic Development Authority bought last year, as the potential home of future amenities to support the Sportsplex.
A more detailed proposed vision for development of the Southside Speedway property was on display at this week’s meeting, with a hotel and indoor recreation facility to the west, a brewery and restaurants fronting a water feature as well as retail and an “entertainment sports/recreation use” occupying the Speedway’s racetrack.
The county announced in a Chesterfield On Point blog post this week that it is discussing with a developer a proposal to build a mixed-use development at the Speedway site that would incorporate racing.
“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,” Economic Developer Director Garrett Hart said in the post.
The county declined to identify the developer during the community meeting.
“We have received one unsolicited proposal at this time. At their request we signed a non-disclosure agreement with them so we cannot get into the details,” said Jake Elder of the county’s economic development department.
Some county residents have expressed a desire for the Speedway, which is now closed, to continue to operate as a racetrack. A small group of people demonstrated their support for the racetrack to resume operations outside the meeting, which was held at Clover Hill High School.
Across Genito Road would be where the county would like to see commercial space that includes sports- and wellness-oriented offices.
The county is also diversifying the offerings at the Sportsplex with musical performances held by EventMakers USA. The 2022 season is expected to consist of at least eight shows, the first one being Aaron Lewis and The Stateliners next week, according to the Chesterfield On Point post.
The county expects to post the draft land-use plan to its website by the end of July. The Planning Commission is expected to discuss the plan at a work session next month and would later vote on whether to recommend the Board of Supervisors adopt the plan. The board is expected to consider the plan for approval this year.
The county presented an initial concept of the land-use plan late last year.