Henrico County’s oldest park has a fresh, modern look – and Fran Shinholser couldn’t be happier.
On Wednesday, she and her daughter, Janis Kouche, headed to Cheswick Park for their daily walk and ended up joining county officials in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate its recent renovation and reopening.
Standing near the improved playground, Shinholser, 90, raved about the transformed restroom building, which now features rustic wood siding, a metal roof and a new family restroom. She also welcomed the new pedestrian bridges and trail improvements, which mean she won’t have to watch out for puddles as she walks.
“So, they fixed that [and] did a good job,” she said, “and I’m impressed that they finished on time.”
Cheswick, at 1700 Forest Ave., opened in 1980 as Henrico’s first park. The recent improvements, which forced its closure for about 10 months, were funded through Henrico’s voter-approved 2016 bond referendum, which provided $87.1 million for park improvements.
Three Chopt District Supervisor Misty D. Whitehead said she learned before taking office this month how much area residents missed having access to Cheswick.
“I was receiving calls and emails from folks wanting to know, ‘when is Cheswick Park going to reopen?’” she said. “It’s true our patience has been tested for most of the past year as we’ve waited on this renovation, but I hope that we will all be able to agree that the wait has been worth it.”
In addition to the modernized restroom building, playground and trails, the park now features a new outdoor fitness area, an improved parking lot and an upgraded stormwater management system. The project’s final touches include new swings that will be added this week, a new entrance sign and a new rubberized playground surface that will be added this spring.
The Division of Recreation & Parks is planning a community event in April “so that we can celebrate more openly with the folks that make this park great,” Whitehead said.
“With these improvements, Cheswick Park will continue to be a park that is welcoming and accessible for all – a place for fun, for exercise and for making memories for many, many years to come,” she said.
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