CHESAPEAKE, Va. - The city of Chesapeake is evaluating a plot of land for a visitors center to draw more attention to the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.
The city plans to evaluate a 2-acre plot next to the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail to see if it's a good place for a center. The feasibility study costs nearly $36,000 and would take roughly four weeks.
Officials said the city would share the facility with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which would buy the property and build the center.
“This is a unique opportunity with the city and the Department of Interior can partner together,” said Mike Barber, the Director of Parks and Recreation for the city of Chesapeake.
They said about $490,000 is available to buy the property. No funds have been allocated for construction, estimated to cost as much $8 million.
At this point, officials for the city of Chesapeake said they would want a visitor center and space for the park rangers to monitor the canal trail, inside the potential new building.
"This would be a very exciting adventure for us because in Chesapeake we have many people using the route 17 Corridor coming to and from North Carolina," said Barber.
The Department of Interior would like a Refuge Center to do interpretive programs and classes.
Advocates say the decades-old plan would draw tourists traveling into the area along U.S. 17.