The Greenfield Historic Preservation Area Commission sent a phased master plan to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that provides an outline for how the 38 acres at Botetourt Center at Greenfield could be developed as a historic area that tells Botetourt’s history.
The supervisors praised the commission and consultant Hill Studio for the work they did and for what the supervisors considered a workable plan and agreed to accept the proposed master plan for review during their regular October meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Chairman Jack Leffel then directed staff to provide the Board of Supervisors with a report on the master plan at its January meeting.
The plan was formulated over the past year by the citizen commission appointed by the supervisors and consultant Hill Studio of Roanoke.
The plan recommends initially securing and structural assessments of the three historic buildings and one ruin on the preservation site that lies along US 220 just north of the Greenfield entrance.
In the first year, the plan also recommends a mowed walking trail within the site, cleaning up overgrowth and the start of research that will be used for historic panels that will be along the walking trail.
The plan envisions that a summer kitchen and former slave quarters that were moved to the site last year will eventually become interpretive sites, and the area will also house a restroom structure perhaps with exhibit space and later perhaps a gallery and small theatre.
The Timeline Walk of Botetourt’s history will be a focal point for the preservation area and will be part of the design should the Board of Supervisors approve the proposed master plan and begin providing some matching funds.
The supervisors have included up to $50,000 in matching funds in the current fiscal year budget should other organizations or grants come up with funds for the preservation area. One item those funds might be used for is the estimated $30,000 it will take to make repairs to the summer kitchen and $5,000 for log protection for the slave quarters that are recommended as priorities.
The master plan recommends beginning other structural work on the summer kitchen and slave quarters and on what’s called the Farm Managers House and the Bowyer-Holiday House ruins in the second phase. That might be done in conjunction with some new fencing and the design and development of the interpretative signage and construction documents for the Timeline Walk.
The plan also recommends developing a website for the preservation area, and making fence and monument repairs at the Preston and Gish Cemeteries on the site.
Another phase recommended in the plan is upgrading the Timeline Walk to a gravel walking trail and other work on the historic buildings.
The preservation area would essentially be a passive historic park where local residents and visitors to the area could learn about the county’s history, Greenfield Plantation’s history and the significance of the historic structures on the site.
During a meeting last week, the preservation commission members recommended sending the master plan to the supervisors with the understanding their job was done under the supervisors’ charge issued when the commission was appointed in August 2016.
It will be up to another organization or perhaps a new non-profit to move the plan forward.
The master plan recommends using the historic buildings and artifacts from the Greenfield property to interpret the significance of the Greenfield Plantation and Col. William Preston, who developed the plantation before moving to Smithfield in Montgomery County.
The interpretative trail system is designed to take advantage of the natural beauty of the site and to improve access to the historic structures.
Markers and panels along the Timeline Walk would create a chronological passage of time that would relate the people and places at Greenfield and Botetourt County to significant events in national and regional history.
The Timeline Walk would also be integrated into the existing trail system at Botetourt Center at Greenfield.
Operations of the historic site could be similar to the Fort Christanna Historical Site in Brunswick County. That 24.5-acre site where a fort was built in 1714 includes trails, parking, a welcome area, an information kiosk and interpretive signs. It’s not staffed but docents conduct tours by request. Brunswick County dedicated $50,000 a year for the first five years to develop the site, and it is maintained by the county’s parks and recreation department. Admission is free, although donations are accepted. It receives $5,000 annually in capital funds to add signage. It is open all year, 7 a.m.-5 p.m., according to a summary by Hill Studio.