Construction project closes Virginia Beach preserve through next summer

Posted at 5:52 PM, Nov 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-22 17:52:20-05

Virginia Beach, Va. - A long-term construction project at the Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Natural Area in Virginia Beach will keep that preserve closed through summer 2014.

"It's kind of a hidden gem here in the city," said Rob MacPherson, of Planning, Design and Development with the City of Virginia Beach.  MacPherson says the 42-acre preserve, tucked away in the Bayside area, will undergo significant improvements to enhance the property and the environment.

"Improved access to the water, improved access to the boat ramp, and continued access for fishing," said MacPherson.

Popular for its freshwater fishing, this estimated $1.9 million project, funded by taxpayers, will include a new boat ramp and parking lot, several fishing and overlook platforms, a floating crew dock, and a pedestrian bridge connecting one end of the preserve to the other.  But the project will also help stabilize the shoreline, which has suffered from erosion over the years.

"About 15 years ago, I think is the date of a photograph where this bank...was perfectly natural and a nice gentle slope down to the water....Today, the bank has eroded down a couple of feet and back quite a number of feet," said MacPherson.

Native vegetation will be planted to cut down on further erosion.

"It's a problem, and that's part of the need for this project - is to help stabilize that," said MacPherson.

Construction is expected to begin in December.