ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and Department of Parks and Recreation officially opened Brook Hill River Park off of Rio Mills Road to the public Wednesday.
The new park is the beginning of Albemarle County’s river greenway, allowing outdoor lovers to enjoy a full day on the Rivanna River for a total of 17 miles.
"Here you can get in at eight in the morning, be at Darden Towe by lunchtime, Milton by three, and Buck Island by five or six,” said Albemarle County Supervisors for the White Hall District, Ann Mallek.
Mallek and Ned Gallaway, the supervisor for the Rio District, have been working with the Oglesby and Haugh family who own the land. The family donated the land to the county, allowing for it to now be developed.
"Eventually, it's going to have a formal boat launch, places to gather, there will be walking trails, you can fish here," said Gallaway. “And that's not something that's real close to us when you go out and try to find those type of amenities right now. So we're thrilled to have that happen in the urban ring to provide access to that."
Dan Mahon, the county’s greenway supervisor, said eventually the park will also have educational programs. The third annual River Art Festival can now flow through the area in September. They are also working on adding a wheelchair-accessible fishing area.
"It all ties together with what I like to call the Rivanna River renaissance,” said Mahon. “It's like waking up, telling the story.”
Director of Parks and Recreation Bob Crickenberger said he hopes more people will take advantage of the area’s natural treasures with the opening of Brook Hill River Park.
"I think there are more opportunities within our park systems than a lot of people realize," said Crickenberger. "So what they need to do is pack up, go out, and enjoy the experience."