Elizabeth River Trail Enhancements – Investments

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Norfolk Virginia
Norfolk Virginia

The Elizabeth River Trail Foundation recently announced significant investment partners for its $4 million capital campaign. Lead investors include the City of Norfolk ($500,000); Sentara Healthcare ($500,000), TowneBank ($250,000), and PRA Group ($250,000).

Additional major donors include Children’s Health System, Landmark Foundation, Virginia Port Authority, Grow, Kaufman & Canoles, Cottrell Contracting, Downtown Norfolk Council, Southern Bank Foundation, and SL Nusbaum Realty Co.

The investments will be used for future enhancements to the Elizabeth River Trail. Currently, the 10.5-mile trail connects 28 neighborhoods within a five-minute walk. The ERT focuses on green infrastructure and restoration along the trail that hugs the Elizabeth River.

The trail has multiple uses including walking, running and biking. It comprises 11 sections and 11 trailheads from Norfolk State to NIT Terminals. Highlights of the ERT include Harbor Park, Downtown Norfolk, Freemason, Sentara Loop, Fort Norfolk, Chelsea, West Ghent, Lambert’s Point, Old Dominion University, Larchmont, and Lochhaven.

“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.”

The Elizabeth River Trail Foundation’s capital campaign funds will be used to improve the trail and create and install important amenities along the entire 10.5 miles. These include trailheads, shelters, fitness equipment, and kayak launches.

Additionally, plans call for improved parking, public art, landscaping, historic interpretation, bike repair stations, charging stations and lighting. These plans will not only maximize accessibility, but will ensure that the trail experience is safe, educational and unforgettable for people of all ages, interests and abilities, all of which are critical to maximizing usage.

The planned enhancements have been conceived to match the Foundation’s vision for a trail full of young families with strollers or children on their first bicycles, walkers, avid runners, and cyclists and all demographics in between.

“The goal of the Elizabeth River Trail Foundation is to make ERT the most iconic urban riverfront trail in the country,” said Charles McPhillips, ERT 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.”

Planned improvements and amenities of the ERT include:

Trail signage package with maps and distances (11 large /50+ medium)
Trail lighting
Trail surface improvements and increased path width
Trail landscaping
Trail Ambassador program
5 kayak launches / with kayak storage
2 large playgrounds
2 luminous paths
1 Interpretive environmental signage package (full length of trail) and audio tour
1 Interpretive historical signage package (full length of trail) and audio tour
3 fitness equipment stations
2 medium playgrounds
5 small playgrounds
8 bike maintenance stations
7 shade structure/charging stations
7 digital counters
20 bike racks
25 benches
20 trash and recycling stations
10 public art pieces
10 picnic tables
Website with maps, rides and event information
Social Media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for user engagement

The Elizabeth River Trail highlights the unique characteristics of Norfolk’s prized waterfront and its historical significance. Along the trail are anchor institutions, major employers, and economic generators. The value of the land and properties along the trail is currently assessed at $2.25 billion.

For more information, visit www.elizabethrivertrail.com.