Town Council votes to name park trail for former Smithfield Mayor Carter Williams

Published 9:56 am Thursday, March 7, 2024

Smithfield’s Town Council voted unanimously on March 5 to name the network of walking trails at Windsor Castle Park in honor of former Mayor Carter Williams.

Mayor Steve Bowman, at the council’s Feb. 26 committee meetings, had proposed naming the 3.8-mile trail network for his immediate predecessor, who prior to Bowman’s 2022 election held the title for 12 years.

Bowman, at the Feb. 26 meeting, had further proposed renaming Quail Street for Smithfield’s first Black mayor, the late James Chapman, who also holds the record as the town’s longest-serving mayor or councilman. Town Manager Michael Stallings said the council would vote separately on Bowman’s Quail Street proposal at a later date.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Chapman was first elected in 1978, became mayor in 1990 and died in 2022, 14 years after his 2008 retirement from office.

Williams can be found walking and running the trails at Windsor Castle Park “almost daily,” his son, Allen, noted in 2022 when nominating his father for Smithfield’s 2021 Citizen of the Year award, which the town’s Rotary and Ruritan clubs give annually to an outstanding resident. Williams is also a “trail doctor,” a group of volunteers who clean and maintain the park, and has for three years provided pro bono service as general manager of the town’s restoration of 18th century Smithfield founder Arthur Smith IV’s Windsor Castle homestead, for which the park is named.

Williams served his first four-year term on the council from 1992-96 and rejoined the council in 2007 to fill a vacant seat. He was reelected and chosen by his colleagues as mayor in 2010.

Quail Street, located in Smithfield’s Lakeside Heights neighborhood off Great Spring Road, was among the first to be paved under an initiative Chapman had spearheaded with the help of state grants, according to The Smithfield Times archives.  

Tammie Clary, the town’s director of community development and planning, and Parks and Recreation Director Amy Novak told council members at their Feb. 22 committee meetings that renaming it would impact 22 residents who would need to change their legal addresses unless the town pursued an alternative honorary street sign as the city of Newport News did when it renamed a stretch of J. Clyde Morris Boulevard to “Avenue of the Arts” in 2005 for its proximity to the Virginia Living Museum, former Peninsula Fine Arts Center and new Mary Torggler Fine Arts Center that succeeded PFAC in 2021. Newport News did the same this month when it unveiled an honorary sign designating the intersection of 16th and Walnut Street as “Allen Iverson Way” in honor of the Hampton Roads native and NBA star.

Novak said at the Feb. 26 meeting that the town could move forward with the walking trail naming by installing plaques on the 26 existing location markers throughout the trail.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on March 12 to correct the date of the committee meeting to Feb. 26.