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Christiansburg buys 60 acres on Peppers Ferry Road parcel to build park
The new property will be “a recreation centerpiece for that side of town,” Christiansburg spokeswoman Becky Wilburn said.
Monday, March 11, 2013
CHRISTIANSBURG — The town is paying $2.5 million for 60 acres on Peppers Ferry Road behind Walmart — land it plans to develop as a recreation hub.
Known as the Wilson property, the land will be used mostly as a park, Christiansburg spokeswoman Becky Wilburn said Monday.
The new property will be “a recreation centerpiece for that side of town,” Wilburn said. It is adjacent to the planned path of an extension to the Huckleberry Trail, which runs from Blacksburg to Christiansburg, and will be able to be accessed from the trail, Wilburn said. For now, a dirt driveway leads from Virginia 114, Peppers Ferry Road, into the parcel. Much of the property is pasture , but there is a house, cottage, barns and other buildings near Peppers Ferry Road.
The town is paying for the land with reserve funds and it should have no impact on the annual budget that town officials are now preparing, Wilburn said.
The property served as a residence, cattle farm and the site of a sawmill business for its last owner, Truman Wilson, said Brenda Flora, the executor of Wilson’s estate.
Wilson acquired the land in the 1940s, Flora said, and he and his wife lived in a tiny house there while they built a larger dwelling.
Wilson ran a sawmill in several locations before moving it to his Christiansburg land in the 1960s. He operated the sawmill until he began to have health problems in the late 1980s, Flora said.
The couple lived on the property for the rest of their lives. Viola DeHart Wilson died in December 2009, soon after her and Truman’s 70th anniversary, according to an obituary. Truman Wilson died in January 2010.
Wilson had been trying to sell the property, Flora said.
Wilburn said the town’s agreement to buy the land was worked out during the past month.
In a news release, Town Manager Barry Helms described buying the land as “a good opportunity due to its proximity to the Huckleberry Trail and adjoining numerous residential developments, as well as the sheer size of the property.”
Playing fields and picnic shelters are planned for the new park, but it is expected that it will take years to work out exactly how the tract will be developed, Wilburn said.
The land lies in the path of a planned road that would add another connection between Peppers Ferry Road and Franklin Street, but no money has been allocated for the road’s construction and it is not expected to be built for at least a decade, Wilburn said.
The town has upped its recreational facilities in recent years, from building the Christiansburg Aquatic Center on North Franklin Street to constructing the Harkrader Sports Complex behind Christiansburg Middle School and opening the town’s recreation center after redeveloping an old Lowe’s building.
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