ANTDC to receive Brownsfields grants from Governor Youngkin for Cape Charles Railyard

February 25, 2023
Cape Charles Railyard

The Eastern Shore was one of four communities that will receive Brownsfields Grants from Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin.

Governor Youngkin announced that approximately $1 million in Site Remediation Grants from the Virginia Brownfields Restoration and Economic Redevelopment Assistance Fund (VBAF) including the Accomack-Northampton Transportation District Commission (ANTDC)’s Railyard Property in Cape Charles. The ANTDC has been awarded $280,750 in the grant. It requires a 50% match, which will be funded by the railroad.

“This is exciting news for the Eastern Shore and all parties are extremely grateful to the Governor and the Virginia Brownfields Restoration Foundation and Economic Development Assistance Fund,” said ANTDC Chairman Donald Hart.

“We are doubling down on investments in sites to enhance the Commonwealth’s sites inventory, and the Virginia Brownfields Restoration and Economic Redevelopment Assistance Fund enables localities to redevelop and improve properties in need of remediation so they can be considered for future economic development opportunities,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Each step towards increasing our sites portfolio helps Virginia compete to win, and we are proud to support rural development in Accomack-Northampton County, Chase City, Gloucester County, and Highland County with these grants.”

Brownfields are properties in which redevelopment or reuse is complicated by the presence of hazardous materials, pollution, or contaminants. The Site Remediation Grants will cover efforts that include remediation of a contaminated property to remove hazardous substances and wastes, demolition and removal of existing structures, and other site work necessary to make a site or property usable for new economic development. In addition to Site Remediation Grants, Site Assessment Grants are available to communities for assistance with environmental and cultural resource site assessments and the development of remediation and reuse plans.

ANTDC Vice Chairman Spencer Murray said there were surprisingly few contaminants found on the site, surprising because the site was a rail yard for 130 plus years. They are currently getting bids for the remediation work.

The next question is what is the future of the land itself. Well located on the waterfront of downtown Cape Charles, the site is currently assessed at $4.8 million by the County, and is undoubtedly in the sights of developers.

“Cape Charles controls zoning and infrastructure of the property. The Town Council will ultimately have a lot of say in what eventually happens with the land,” said Murray. “People want to know, but we don’t know ourselves at the moment. Canonie is not interested in getting into the development business.”


Despite formally putting 49 miles of the rail line officially into abandonment, the ANTDC is still in the rail car business. They still have a lease with Delmarva Central Railroad from Hallwood to Pocomoke, which includes a recently added stretch to Wallops to haul in rocket parts for launches. They also still have a 20 year lease with Buckingham Branch Railroad for the whole Little Creek operation across the bay.

The ANTDC has been pursuing the Rails to Trails plan for the abandoned stretch, which would preserve the right of way of the land itself and provide the ability in the future to revert back to rail should the need arise.

“We saved the corridor for broadband. The Hampton Roads Sanitation District is expanding water from Nassawadox to Onley, hopefully to Parksley soon, because we saved the corridor,” added Murray. “An operating railroad has to have an economic reason to exist. When all the tank cars dried up and Coastal Precast began using barges, we couldn’t operate something with no cars on it.”

For more information on the Virginia Brownfield Restoration and Economic Redevelopment Assistance Fund, visit

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