The City of Norfolk’s Office of Resilience awarded the Fall 2020 Retain Your Rain Mini Grant to the Elizabeth River Trail (ERT) Foundation to help fund soil remediation and tree plantings at the new Plum Point Park Trailhead obstacle course site. This contributed to the overall enhancement of a formerly empty lot with a total of 31 new trees and more than 300 native plants and shrubs.
On Saturday, February 6, 2021, volunteers planted 17 native trees. The new trees included ten native longleaf pines donated by the Virginia Department of Forestry and cared for by the Norfolk Botanical Garden over the last year. Other tree species included Sweet Bay Magnolia, River Birch and Live Oak.
Located between historic Fort Norfolk and Chelsea, neighboring working shipyards, the Sentara Healthcare/EVMS Medical Complex and Harbor’s Edge, this section of the Elizabeth River Trail attracts nearly 1100 users daily. The roughly one-acre site sits on the north side of the trail between Plum Point Park and the midtown tunnel and overlooks a beautifully restored wetland area on the Elizabeth River.
Originally owned by Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing, this land parcel was donated to the City for the development of the ERT’s first signature trailhead. The site was designed by local firm Ann P. Stokes Landscape Architects and features native plants, benches, picnic tables, bike racks and a Double Turbo Challenge Course. The Plum Point Park Trailhead is the first of 11 trailheads the ERT Foundation plans to develop. The full trailhead is officially slated to open this spring.
The Elizabeth River Trail Foundation’s mission is to promote, enhance and transform the Elizabeth River Trail into the most iconic urban riverfront trail in the country. The ERT runs 10.5 miles and connects businesses, historic attractions and 28 neighborhoods within a five-minute walk. The multi-use trail is designed for walking, running and biking. It comprises 11 sections and 11 trailheads from Norfolk State University to NIT Terminals along the Elizabeth River. Highlights include Harbor Park, Downtown Norfolk, Freemason Historic District, Sentara campus, Fort Norfolk, Chelsea, West Ghent, Lambert’s Point, Old Dominion University, Larchmont and Lochhaven. In 2018, the ERT Foundation launched a $4 million comprehensive capital campaign to raise funds to activate and enhance the 10.5-mile trail. It successfully achieved the goal in 2020. Major sponsors include Sentara and the City of Norfolk. For more information, visit www.elizabethrivertrail.org.