Abingdon police increase patrols after people trespass at multi-million construction site

ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) - The town of Abingdon is warning people not to trespass on a multi-million dollar construction site where a new Food City and sports complex will be built.

Police Chief Tony Sullivan said people are driving around road barriers and walking around on the Meadows development construction site. "They're creating some issues, especially with the residents, turning around in their driveways," said Chief Sullivan. "Some residents have complained about the volume of traffic that's coming through and it's people just looking."

Sullivan said no one has been arrested for trespassing but police are increasing patrols in the area.

The 73-acre retail and sports complex being built off Interstate 81 in Abingdon is in the first stages of construction. Construction crews are focused on moving dirt from one end of the property to the other end in order to level the site. Food City President and CEO Steve Smith said, "Probably 50 feet 60 feet of dirt here has got to be moved and put over here where the ball fields are."

Smith said crews will hopefully start building the Food City and other retail shops in September. Smith said he hopes to open the Food City in April. Other retail shops could also open in the spring. Smith said people could see up to 15 or more new stores, including Jersey Mike's, Holiday Inn Express, Eastman Credit Union, Great Clips, a major pet store and a nail bar.

The retail complex is expected to create 300 new jobs. "It's a real opportunity I think for the town to grow, to be a face here as you come off the interstate," Smith said.

The town of Abingdon owns 40 acres of property behind the retail complex and plans to build a sports complex. Chief Sullivan, who is also Abingdon's interim town manager, said the design phase is nearly complete and then the project has to go to bid.

He hopes construction on the sports complex will start soon. Plans for it include ball fields, soccer fields, a splash pad and walking trails.

But Sullivan said the first priority is finishing a major road project realigning Green Spring Road with Cook Street. Sullivan said it is being made into a 4-way intersection. The road project is slated to be finished in early October.

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