With some sizable developments getting underway around it, the former Taylor Farm in eastern Henrico is set to undergo its own transformation as the county’s newest large-scale park.
County officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday to kick off construction for Taylor Farm Park, a $20 million project slated to fill 100 acres on the south side of Williamsburg Road east of Sandston.
Funded primarily through Henrico’s 2016 bond referendum and conceptualized with input from the Sandston community, the park is planned to retain much of the site’s natural features while also adding a 17,000-square-foot skate park and a 12,000-square-foot pump track – a paved bicycle skills course similar to those at Henrico’s Deep Run Park and Richmond’s Gillies Creek Park.
Varina District Supervisor Tyrone Nelson said those facilities, along with paved trails and connections throughout the park site, would make Taylor Farm Park the largest known “all-wheel” park in Virginia, conducive not only to bikes and skateboards but also roller skates, roller blades and scooters.
“There is nothing like this in the region or the commonwealth,” Nelson said at Monday’s ceremony.
Noting planning meetings and community outreach over the past two years, Nelson added, “We are excited about what this park will be – all of its features, all of its amenities, that will be available to our citizens. Not only will these features be available for our citizens, but they will draw guests from all over the commonwealth.”
Located next to the Chickahominy Family YMCA, the park also is planned to include a splash pad, an off-road bike trail, a memorial garden, shelters and other facilities. A planned playground, interpretive farm and additional trails are to be added in a later phase due to bids exceeding the project budget by $4 million.
County supervisors this month awarded a $20.1 million contract to Henrico-based Loughridge & Co., which provided the lowest of three bids received in response to a solicitation. Its bid came in at just over $24 million, prompting the county to break the project into phases.
At Monday’s groundbreaking, County Manager John Vithoulkas credited the Taylor family for helping the county keep the cost of purchasing the land low as well. County records show Henrico bought the property in 2016 for $1.4 million, which Vithoulkas described as half the price it was listed for at the time.
“The reality is the county couldn’t afford to buy this property. The asking price was higher, it was likely to be sold to developers,” Vithoulkas said, noting a meeting he and Nelson had with seller Sally Taylor. “Mr. Nelson basically told her we can’t pay this much for this land, but if you sell us this property, we will honor your family forever by putting your family’s name on this park.”
The land was assessed by the county in 2016 at $944,300. It’s currently assessed at $905,900.
Slated to open by late spring next year, Taylor Farm will be the first large-scale park built in Varina in 40 years, since Dorey Park opened in 1982. It’ll be the newest park countywide since Glover Park, in the Brookland District, was opened in 2018. Timmons Group is providing engineering and planning work for Taylor Farm Park.
900 homes approved across the street
Taylor Farm Park also adds to an area of the county that’s seeing new development on both sides of Williamsburg Road. Adjacent to the park site, Ryan Homes is about to start construction on Taylor Green, a 50-lot townhome development on 5 acres owned by Varina-based firm Godsey Properties.
And on the other side of Williamsburg Road, Godsey has started site work for Landmark, a nearly 900-home development approved for about 150 acres generally between Dry Bridge Road and Interstate 295.
Formerly known as Drybridge Commons, the project includes that 100-acre site, which was approved in 2020 for nearly 400 homes, along with a commercial section to include a restaurant, convenience store and gas station.
Last year, Godsey secured approval for Gateway at Landmark, an extension of Landmark that’s planned to fill 54 acres immediately west of 295 with nearly 500 homes, mostly townhomes and condos.
Godsey bought the 100-acre site in 2018 from developer Salvatore Cangiano, who secured initial zoning for the project. The 54-acre site, adjacent to the 295/I-64 interchange, remains owned by Henrico County Vocational/Technical Education Foundation, a local nonprofit.
Plans for Drybridge Commons date back to the late 2000s, when Virginia Beach-based Tetra Cos. planned a retail center and other development there before dissolving in the wake of the real estate market downturn. A sign still posted along Williamsburg Road markets the retail center as “coming soon” in spring 2009.
Today, land has been cleared and site work is underway on Godsey’s project, infrastructure for which Edit date and time was coordinated with planning for Taylor Farm Park. Company principal Doug Godsey has said a sewer line enhancement was coordinated for both sites. Attempts to reach Godsey last week were unsuccessful.
Godsey Properties developed Timberlake Commons, a 73-home subdivision in Mechanicsville that the company took over from another builder several years ago. It’s also slated to develop the former Glenwood Golf Course, where it’s approved to build 290 homes.
Why is that guy wearing a mask outside, it doesn’t look dusty?
Agreed, people need to stop being fearful of the scamdemic lol.
Why do you care?
Because he looks goofy with it lol.
Then… Don’t look at him? Jesus Christ, you guys are allegedly all in on personal liberty, then lose your minds when someone exercises theirs in a way different from you.
Maybe he’s got a cold or other contagious condition and doesn’t want to spread it, but feels well enough to work. Maybe he’s taking a medication or just finished chemo, or has another condition that suppresses his immune system. Regardless, why does his choice bother you, who is completely unaffected by it?