Not everyone is happy with Poor Farm Park changes

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - Big changes are coming to a popular Hanover park starting next week.  The county Parks and Recreation Department is moving forward with long term plans for Poor Farm Park, which is a favorite for cyclists all over Metro Richmond.

Poor Farm is located along Route 54 just outside Ashland, behind Liberty Middle School and Patrick Henry High School.

Starting next week, crews will begin clearing some trees at Poor Farm Park in order to make room for new athletic fields. It is a plan that's not sitting well with everyone.

There's already a long list of things to do at Poor Farm Park just outside of Ashland, but if there was one word that could sum up the ultimate plan in the coming years, it would be more.

More baseball and softball fields. More volleyball courts. More picnic shelters and even more restrooms.  Work on what will eventually be four new multi-purpose athletic fields is getting ready to begin.

"We expect sometime next week that they will be mobilizing and beginning some of the clearing and grading that will be necessary to put the fields in over at Poor Farm," said Greg Sager with Hanover Parks and Recreation.

And clearing land often comes with controversy.  Earlier this week, more than three dozen people voiced their concerns at a meeting about the plans for Poor Farm Park.

"We know we have a lot of users, walkers, joggers, I think there are mountain bikers that certainly used that area, and they are concerned whenever they lose a portion of what they've been using for 15 or 20 years," Sager said.

The progress won't stop, but Parks and Recreation leaders are now planning to form a trails subcommittee that will focus on maintaining or reforming trails, not just at Poor Farm, but at all of Hanover's parks.

Putting trails back in around the athletic fields was already in the plans.  Doug McClelland has been using Hanover parks for more than 25 years, and says he's happy to see the county taking such an interest in making positive changes and additions to the parks system.

"I think it's money well spent. It's our tax dollars at work, and it's something that everyone likes to see happen," McClelland said.

The Parks and Recreation Advisory committee is scheduled to meet later this month. After that, we should know more about the trails subcommittee.

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