In 2017, Time Magazine ran an article identifying Newport News/Virginia Beach at the very top of their “The 25 Cities Where Millennials Are Moving” list. Richmond was a close second. Since it is positioned between these two areas, the Northern Neck has seen a rise in attention from younger generations. Locals in the community hope to further attract and sustain this interest with experiences like the TriWay Trail.
The TriWay Trail is a proposed nine and half-mile multi-use trail that will connect three historic communities located in Lancaster County; Kilmarnock, Irvington, and White Stone.
Who’s behind it?
Jimmie Carter is known throughout the Northern Neck as a local Real Estate Developer and a community leader. He serves on the Chesapeake Bank Advisory Board for the Northern Neck and he chairs the Bay Aging Board. Carter has had a hand in various projects like the Rappahannock General Hospital expansion and the Tangier Island Clinic.
Jimmie is also currently working with the town to build two new schools on part of his 360 Acres (a former Golf Community) located at 480 Old Saint John Road.
By the numbers:
The Northern Neck has long attracted water lovers everywhere as it connects the Potomac River, Rappahannock River, and the Chesapeake Bay. It has a special following for its artisan, oyster, and wine trails.
Jimmie adds that part of its uniqueness is its access to more sophisticated amenities, naming the Tides Inn, Hope & Glory Inn, Compass Entertainment Complex, Adrift, and Vine. “We’re more distinguished than our rural counterparts and community leaders want to take that a step further,” says Jimmie.
He says the idea came to him while he and a friend had gone for a 42-day bike trip across the country. “Everyone seems to agree that we need more biking and no one wants to ride or put their kids on the highway,” says Jimmie.
He spoke to John Bolecek, Statewide Bicycle, and Pedestrian Planner, with the VA Department of Transportation, and Champe Burnley, President of the VA Bicycling Federation before proceeding to see if the idea had wings. They all encouraged him to move forward.
Within the last year, Jimmie, the TriWay Trail Board, and county officials surveyed the community and hoped to get 100 responses. Imagine their surprise instead receiving nearly 700. “To get 700 people to take the time to fill out an online survey, is a good thing,” says Jimmie. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm about the trail.”
TriWay Trail Connections
The proposed trailhead would begin in Kilmarnock at the Town Centre Park across from Chesapeake Bank, come through Carter’s property (the former King Carter Golf Course), then through the Golden Eagle, Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury (RWC), to Irvington.
Most of the right of ways are already worked out and the trail was thoughtfully designed so that it could nourish existing businesses and accelerate opportunities. “We want it to appeal to all generations with nodes of activity throughout the trail,” says Jimmie.
Some of the nodes described are a possible BMX park behind Town Centre Park where a garbage dump used to be. Between the hospital and YMCA, there could be a fitness circuit that would help the YMCA with fitness goals and the hospital with rehabilitation efforts.
Jimmie has also been talking to the leading sculpture artist in Virginia, Paul Deposquali, about adding a sculpture garden in another area of the trail. “The more juice we can put into it, the more people will realize that it’s fun and so much more than just a trail,” says Jimmie.
The exciting news is that since the right of ways are mostly worked out, it already falls under a variety of federal funding programs, like the Rails to Trails Program.
The Cole Charitable Trust, managed by Chesapeake Wealth Management, was able to give the first gift as seed money. With contributions from others, it is now up to $175,000. Jimmie hopes to take advantage of federal funding on the means of assisting elderly health, rural economic development, and attracting millennials.
“Once we know what fed money we can receive, we’ll need to match funds or set other fundraising goals,” says Jimmie.