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Success Stories

St. Paul, VA

Bluebell trail concept rendering with a boardwalk, flowers, and trees and two people exercising

CDAC worked with the Town of St. Paul and St. Paul Tomorrow, Inc. to develop a conceptual master plan for the Bluebell Island Trail, a trail that would link together St. Paul’s other trail systems, as well as a redesign for A.R. Matthews Park.

The CDAC team realized that A.R. Matthews Park and Bluebell Island are well situated to be key elements in the town that connect the vision for a dynamic community that embraces the Clinch River and its heritage and invites visitors to come experience its grandeur. Enhancing and updating the elements of A.R. Matthews Park with an ecological theme serve to reinforce St. Paul’s identity as an eco-tourism destination. Creating a simple boardwalk loop through Bluebell Island increased universal access to the island and created a strong start to the future Clinch River Trail System network, connecting through downtown and along the river. This trail network will link the main attractions in St. Paul into a cohesive landscape for both residents and visitors.

The Bluebell Island trail system was opened in 2013. In addition, $205,000 was garnered by the town for the redesign of A.R. Matthews Park, which was also completed in 2013.

Cleveland, VA

Rendering of the access point of Cleveland Ball Park and the riverway.

In 2013, CDAC worked with the Cleveland community and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to design a number of tourism sites. These included an RV park and campground at the former elementary school, improvements to an existing public park, and a river walk that would link the campground with the existing park and the downtown.

These plans were designed to be ecologically sensitive and to minimize disturbance along the river and other riparian areas. In areas without riparian buffers, river banks were stabilized and protected from nonpoint pollution. The campground provides a potential income source for the town with the establishment of the Clinch River as a blueway. In addition, upgrades to the park allow for multiple events, concerts, and baseball tournaments to occur in Cleveland. Other park upgrades, such as a walking trail with fitness stations, playgrounds for different age groups, a climbing wall, and basketball court, as well as the river walk, provide exercise opportunities for all ages.

In 2014, Cleveland received a Community Development Block Grant for $799,880 based on CDAC’s work and implementation for portions of the project has begun.

Our experience working with the CDAC team was wonderful.  They really listened to what we were saying and what we wanted.  Their conceptual drawings were instrumental in helping us to obtain funding from DHCDfor a downtown revitalization project.  These guys do great work.
– Cathy Johnson, Clerk, Town of Cleveland.

Wayland, KY

Rendering of Wayland Community Park

CDAC was asked to design a park that would re-engage the community through recreational opportunities for both young and old, while also highlighting the cultural heritage of the area. CDAC developed a conceptual master plan for a softball/little league field with a walking trail, basketball courts, playground, and picnic areas.

Not only does the park provide recreational opportunities for the community, but CDAC also made sure to provide safe connections to the park from the residential areas. Street improvements were designed that allow safe crossing into the park from the senior citizen center. The park property is located next to Beaver Creek, and storm water from the surrounding community flows through the park before entering the waterway. Recognizing the need to protect the creek from polluted runoff, CDAC incorporated a number of storm water management areas that filter contaminants and create an ecosystem that is beneficial to wildlife. Lastly, the Little League field, when completed, will allow Wayland to host Little League tournaments that will bring people to the community and boost the local economy.

Wayland received a $22,500 grant from the Recreational Trails Program to create the park walking path. They have also applied for a grant with the Land and Water Conservation Fund to complete the construction of the Little League field.

The CDAC team conducted a thorough and meaningful assessment of the unique needs for our proposed project. We truly appreciated the attentiveness each member displayed from the first public meeting through acceptance of the project’s final design.
– Jerry Fultz, Mayor, City of Wayland

Southwest Virginia

The Clinch River, located in Southwest Virginia, meanders over 300 miles from its headwaters in Tazewell County to its confluence in East Tennessee. This project was part of a larger effort of the Clinch River Valley Initiative, comprised of four southwest Virginia counties and other organizations, to bring tourism to the region by developing the Clinch River as a blueway. Such blueways are an outgrowth of the land-based greenways concept, connecting the region by way of the watercourses that knit the communities together. The Clinch River blueway is an important recreational and marketing component to the region that emphasizes the significance of water resources.

To assist in the larger planning for access to the river, CDAC developed access point guidelines that provided design concepts for various types of signage. The design guidelines create a cohesive design aesthetic that can strengthen the region’s branding strategy, protect the river’s riparian corridor, work to improve the natural environment along the waterway, and provide new opportunities for outdoor recreational activities. In addition, CDAC created an access point design for Cleveland, VA as a pilot site.

Since the project’s completion, Cleveland has received a $10,000 grant to complete the access point and construction is underway. Signage has been adopted and constructed in a number of the communities.

CDAC has been invaluable resource to the various communities looking to diversify their local economies by taking advantage of Southwest Virginia’s natural assets. The Clinch River Design Guidelines allows Virginia communities like Cleveland and Dungannon to leverage funding sources that directly enhance the Clinch waterway. Additionally, the guidelines help expedite the engineering and permitting process necessarily to implement river access projects in a timely manner. Cleveland, VA’s recent $10,000 grant through Virginia’s Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is a direct product of CDAC conceptual work. This project’s magic is in its ability to kick start citizen-driven water access projects  and empower communities for positive change.
– Nick Proctor, Community Development and Outdoor Recreation Specialist, Friends of Southwest Virginia

Jenkins, KY

Welcome to Jenkins outdoor sign on a hill with trees and blue sky behind

CDAC worked with Jenkins to develop a conceptual design for the Devil John Wright Moonshine trail, gateways into the city, and an overall master plan for the community that includes streetscape improvements, pocket parks, and a rails-to-trails greenway. In addition, CDAC worked with the community to create a town character and materials palette based on coal mining, moonshine, and country music that could be used to market Jenkins as a Trail Town and tourist destination.

This project fosters economic development in Jenkins by establishing it as a Trail Town and by identifying opportunities to promote tourism. The Devil John Wright Moonshine trail and greenway provide outdoor recreational opportunities for the community and its visitors and offer educational opportunities on the history of Jenkins and the surrounding area.

Since the project’s completion in March 2014, Jenkins has raised $112,000 for the trail and gateway signage. The signs have been constructed, and the trail is currently being implemented.

I cannot overemphasize the value of their plans for our community. Elizabeth, Lara, and their team, were effectively able to guide community members and stakeholders with varying interests toward a common vision and then document that vision into a tangible format that we were able to use in applying for grants and moving toward implementation. Their work has become our guiding vision for reinventing ourselves, and we appreciate them about two to three times per week.
 Todd DePriest, Mayor, City of Jenkins

Buchanan, VA

Exterior of the Buchanan Library

CDAC worked with Friends of the Buchanan County Library, located in Grundy, to provide a design for the library landscape that supports and enhances the library’s role as an educational and community center.  VT Service Learning partnered with CDAC to help community groups with the first stage of implementation in April, 2006.

Through the [VA Dept of Forestry] grant which CDAC helped us gain, the design they worked with us to create, the hard work of the Service Learning group, and the support of our community, a landscape we can be proud of is becoming a reality at the Buchanan County Public Library.
Sherry Bright, Library Director

A recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant has helped jumpstart environmentally conscious efforts in the Town of Blacksburg.  The Design Center is a formal partner with the initiative and helped plan the First Annual Sustainable Blacksburg Week during the summer of 2006.  The event was so successful that over 30 community groups have since come together to form Sustainable Blacksburg.

The Wong Park project has been an excellent example of the Town and the University working together for the common good. CDAC creates a great opportunity for the students to get involved in real life planning and implementation for park projects. The Wong Park project will serve as an educational demonstration for the citizens to learn about alternative methods for addressing water runoff. Hopefully citizens can model the park’s examples to meet their own needs at home
Dean Crane, Director of Parks and Recreation

Poquoson Museum’s mission is to “preserve, interpret, document, and educate the public about the history and heritage of the Poquoson community.”  Seeking to preserve Poquoson’s unique heritage, the museum recently purchased a 15-acre farm and salt marsh to create a museum campus that will include a relocated and restored 1945-era general store and pharmacy, farmhouse, interpretative center, barn with vintage agricultural equipment, boat building exhibit, marsh trail, and Back River overlook.  The Center assisted the museum by developing a conceptual site master plan, along with the Great Marsh Experience Trail and Back River Overlook concepts.

“this design has…enabled it [the museum] to raise almost $300,000 for various project elements.”  John Quarsteing, Adminsitrator of Historic Services and Museums, Newport News…” When this project is completed, it will be one of the best in the area.  Thanks [to CDAC] for all of your help, dedication, and expertise in making this trail a reality…”
– Cliff Coffman, President, PoquosonMuseum

The City of Radford realizes the importance of Healthy Living by Design by providing opportunities for interaction with nature, outdoor recreation, and creating a walkable and bikeable community.  Projects thus far have included a conceptual master plan for Wildwood Park, open space master plan updates, and a pathways linkage plan.  The conceptual design for Wildwood Park helped leverage funding from multiple sources to implement the design. Created in 1993, CDAC’s conceptual design for the 50-acre park, is almost fully implemented. The last stage, a nature walk along the limestone cliffs at the park entrance, is now being planned.  The project was showcased in July to the U.S. Forest Service representatives from across the east coast, as an example of a highly successful project! We are now working with the City and Pathways for Radford, a local citizens group that promotes bikeways, walkways, and trails, to create a bikeway/walkway linkages plan.  This will guide the City toward their goal of becoming a national model for a walkable/bikeable community.

the plan to be created by CDAC will be instrumental in moving us forward with the actualization of our goal.
Liz Altieri, President of Pathways for Radford