CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Whether it’s soaring high over the pines on a zipline or throwing axes with friends, you’ll soon be able to get your thrills in at a new adventure park in Chesapeake.
Osprey Aerial Adventures just got permitting approval Tuesday night by Chesapeake City Council in an 8-1 vote, with Vice Mayor John de Triquet voting no.
It’ll be in the southern part of the city, on the east side of Battlefield Boulevard S. between Saint Brides Road and Toll Plaza Road.
Issam Baraki with engineering firm Site Improvement Associates spoke on behalf on the applicant Tuesday night, and says they’ve been working with city staff for about four years now to bring the project to Chesapeake.
The park’s modeled after the Adventure Park at the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach, but nearly twice as large (13 acres compared to Virginia Beach’s seven), with a ropes course, ziplining and nature walk utilizing the existing trees on the property.
Guests will be able to soar about 85 feet high in the air on the ziplines, above the canopy of the loblolly pines. The park will also have axe throwing and a rock climbing wall.
It’ll be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and is expected to have a soft opening in the first quarter of 2024 if design permitting goes as planned, developer Tim McEvoy said.
McEvoy, a Michigan transplant who’s been in Hampton Roads since 1985, says the adventure park was the best use for the wetlands property and will help “keep the flavor of southern Chesapeake.” About 3-5 vehicles are expected to arrive at the park per hour, with about 2-4 guests per vehicle.
McEvoy says he’s been in talks with Georgia-based American Adventure Park Services and Outdoor Venture Group, LLC (OVG), the group that built Virginia Beach’s park, on the design and construction. And once the park is built, McEvoy and Osprey will delegate operations to a third party.
The concept was greeted with enthusiasm overall, but there was some opposition Tuesday.
Wayne White, who lives adjacent to the proposed location, noted how Battlefield is two lanes at St. Brides and the road can be heavily congested at times, particularly in the summer months. He added there’s also an irregular intersection at that location that can be hard to see oncoming traffic.
“Yes it’s a good idea, the park is unique, it’s different, but at the same time it’s all located in strictly a residential area with a poor serving intersection, being Battlefield and St. Brides,” White said.
White suggested that access to the park go further up the road at the city’s active fueling facility that used for public safety and other city vehicles.
Jay Tate, the city’s director of development permits said the city had security concerns opening up that possible alternative access site to through traffic, and says St. Brides would be safer due in part to its existing turn lane.
City officials don’t believe the St. Bride’s locations will generate high traffic volume, with City Planning Director James McNamara saying in a March 3 letter that St. Brides “as currently shown does not pose any capacity or safety concerns.”
Tate said Tuesday that the park’s business model isn’t a continuous flow of customers, but groups that come in at certain times. “The volume or per hour rate of vehicles generated for this type of use will be extremely low,” Tate said.
Through their agreement with the city, Osprey Aerial Adventures is installing onsite sewage and a private well, will have to cut off their lights at 10 p.m. (a permit will be required for any events after 10 p.m.) and has to incorporate a landscape buffer area on the exterior.