County to build $7 million volleyball complex
“This thing rings all the right bells,” said Garrett Hart, director of Chesterfield Economic Development, following an announcement last week that Richmond Volleyball Club will lease a 50,000-squarefoot building at Stonebridge, a development located at the intersection of Midlothian Turnpike and Chippenham Parkway.
“It’s revitalization. It’s parks and recreation. It’s sports tourism and economic incentives. It’s all of that,” Hart added.
Pending approval from the Board of Supervisors, the county’s Economic Development Authority will spend about $7 million to build the facility, which will be financed through the Virginia Resources Authority. Richmond Volleyball Club’s lease payments will help pay off the debt.
The club is expected to sign a 10-year lease, with an option for 10 more years.
Chesterfield Parks and Recreation also will lease 5,000 square feet of space in the new building for senior programs and other community events.
“This is a game-changer for our senior population,” said James Worsley, director of the Parks and Recreation department.
Richmond Volleyball Club, a nonprofit founded in 1981, will maintain its headquarters at the 74,000-square-foot building it owns in Henrico County. The Chesterfield facility is expected to open next January and will replace a smaller building the club currently leases in Richmond.
The club has more than 3,000 members. Its juniors program sponsors 33 travel teams, 37 teams that compete locally and another 24 developmental teams for boys and girls up to 18 years of age. Its adult leagues draw hundreds of players from across the Richmond region.
The volleyball club also hosts tournaments that draw teams from outside the region – including the combined Boys’ East Coast Championships and Girls’ South Atlantic Championships – as well as a season-opening showcase for boys and girls high school teams.
“This facility will allow us to grow our programs tremendously,” said Darcy Carroll, executive director of Richmond Volleyball Club. “It also will help us grow our tournaments and host more teams.”
Following a study that showed a significant percentage of the club’s members live in Chesterfield, its leaders began exploring the possibility of expanding into the county about two years ago.
They were immediately interested in the Stonebridge property, but feared that increasing commercial and residential development there might push the price of available real estate beyond their reach.
“We spent two years exploring other parts of the county because this didn’t look like it would be feasible,” Carroll added. “When [the Economic Development Authority] and county administration stepped in to make it possible, it was a dream come true.”
The agreement with Richmond Volleyball Club also helps the county in several ways, local leaders said last week.
Between the estimated 400 club members and additional county residents who will use the building on a daily basis, and out-of-town visitors who come to Chesterfield for weekend tournaments, the facility is expected to increase economic activity at Stonebridge and bolster the county’s sports tourism efforts.
It also will provide Parks and Recreation with a dedicated space to serve the county’s growing senior population.
“Think about what this brings to our community, right along with our vision of advancing sports tourism, looking at the economic development aspects and incorporating resources for our citizens through this incredible public-private partnership,” said Leslie Haley, vice chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors. “This is a win-win for everybody.” ¦