NORFOLK — Residents of the southside are one step closer to an improved hiking destination along the Elizabeth River.
The Elizabeth River Trail Foundation recently announced investment partners for a $4 million capital campaign. The foundation said it has secured money from the City of Norfolk ($500,000); Sentara Healthcare ($500,000), TowneBank ($250,000) and PRA Group ($250,000).
The funds will be used for future enhancements to the Elizabeth River Trail.
According to the foundation, the ERT focuses on green infrastructure and restoration along the trail that hugs the Elizabeth River. The 10.5-mile trail connects 28 neighborhoods in Norfolk.
This interactive map displays the 11 sections and 11 trail entries, starting at Norfolk State University and running to the Norfolk International Terminals. Harbor Park, Downtown Norfolk, Freemason, Sentara Loop, Fort Norfolk, Chelsea, West Ghent, Lambert’s Point, Old Dominion University, as well as the Larchmont and Lochhaven neighborhoods are all Norfolk landmarks connected by the trail.
“Experience has shown that trails similar to the Elizabeth River Trail enhance the value of our communities and attract visitors,” said Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander. “The City of Norfolk is pleased to be a major part of this initiative, and we will continue to work with the Foundation to ensure that these improvements benefit residents and visitors.”
Related story: Elizabeth River Trail reopened to bicyclists, walkers
The foundation is raising money to improve the trail with amenities along the entire 10.5 miles, according to a news release from the foundation. These include new entrances to the trail, shelters, fitness equipment and kayak launches. The completion date for these projects was not immediately made known by the foundation.
Additionally, plans call for improved parking, public art, landscaping, historic interpretation, bike repair stations, charging stations and lighting. A map of the trail depicts its winding nature that helps connect it to so much in the southern portion of Norfolk.
“The goal of the Elizabeth River Trail Foundation is to make ERT the most iconic urban riverfront trail in the country,” said Charles McPhillips, Elizabeth River Trail Foundation chairman. “A dramatically improved and beautified Elizabeth River Trail will be something for all of us to take great pride in. It will improve the quality of life by providing a healthy and wholesome recreational outlet for families from all walks of life.”
For information, visit the Elizabeth River Trail’s website.