Thursday, May 29, 2014

Gloucester, Sacred Va. Indian Site May Become National Park

RICHMOND – Land along the York River that archaeologists believe was the center of a vast Indian empire before the first Europeans settled in Virginia is gaining White House attention as a possible addition to the National Park System.

This could give the much needed reason to move forward with an up river crossing.  

As noted in the picture above of a Gloucester Map that we drew an overlay on that shows what looks to us like what the plans are for future development, the new park is right along the line where the up river crossing would be put in.  The yellow line is present route 17.  To the left is where the crossing would be put in across the York River.

  Present concerns are certain aspects of local politics that need to be adjusted in the proper directions in order for the funding to properly go through.  If certain aspects of local politics do not straighten out, then funding could be lost.

  What all of this means to everyone in Gloucester and surrounding areas is as follows, at present we have the historic triangle that includes Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown.  This would change to the Historic Circle if this funding goes through and an up river crossing is put in.  This would finally put Gloucester on the National map where it belongs.  That also means massive development throughout Gloucester that would eventually create something akin to what Williamsburg presently looks like and bring in all kinds of development and jobs.

  This also means that there is some very serious investments that anyone with the money can make now to profit from these future concepts, however, it's still prudent to wait and see how the funding for all of this works out and we are looking at long term investments.  Again we have leadership issues in this county that need to be corrected in order for this to happen though we seem to be in a somewhat better position today than we were last year thanks to the addition of 3 new board of supervisors that seem to be watching out for the people of the county that in our view was very much lacking in the past.

  This is an area everyone should keep a close eye on.

An email went out to top officials in this county and reads as follows:

The proposed Werowocomoco National Park will open the doors to a level of growth never before seen inGloucester County.  Along with the National Park also comes Gloucester’s inclusion in the Historic Tourism Triangle which will now become a circle. The triangle is currently made up by JamestownWilliamsburg andYorktown
Hotels, timeshares, restaurants, theaters, theme parks and more will soon become interested in bringing their businesses to Gloucester.  These types of businesses are not going to squabble over how much it will cost to cross Rt. 17 with water or sewer service; they will simply want permits issued as expeditiously as possible.  These businesses will not complain about landscape requirements as the public’s opinion on the appearance of their establishments is very important to their success.  If the park is truly realized, a second York River crossing will be constructed sooner than later to complete the transportation circle. 
This type of growth will be good for the County only if it is managed properly.  Growth of this nature is what was truly in mind when the Highway Corridor Overlay District (HCOD) was developed in 1991 due to the growth spurt that occurred during the few years in which there was no toll on the Coleman Bridge.  Many are now calling the HCOD a form of government regulation that is restricting business growth; when in fact it was concisely developed for growth management purposes.  All one needs to do to get a snap shot of Gloucester’s new found growth potential, is to take a look at Richmond Rd. and the surrounding area in Williamsburg, to include the Newtown and High Street mixed use developments.  This link to the Historic Tourism industry will provide Gloucester with the necessary anchor required to ensure the success of such mixed use developments.
Over the past several years there have been persons inGloucester County who have somehow known this scenario of growth was coming in the near future.  Some of these persons have used this information to secure lucrative future gains through calculated land acquisitions and purchases.  Some have also used the information to set a plan in motion to cause the rerouting of the connection of Rt. 17 to Rt. 14 through land owned or controlled by them or their associates.  These types of insider knowledge behaviors must be eradicated as part of enhancing the appearance of Gloucester as a good place to establish a business, visit, reside or raise a family.
There are numerous areas within the County’s administration and services departments that need immediate attention.  The Public Utilities Department is one of the primary areas in need of serious work. If this department is currently struggling to meet current demands and certain areas of the systems are inefficient and or near collapse; there is no way the demands of rapid growth will be met.  Gloucester’s water and sewer systems should be one of the top items on a list of areas that require immediate intervention, significant improvements and or complete overhaul.
The image of the School Board and public school system is another primary area requiring immediate attention.  Residential growth associated with inclusion in the historic tourism circle will not flourish if Gloucester cannot or refuses to transform its public education system into one of being reputably and statistically successful.  The School Board’s only focus should be on ensuring that an above average, efficient and equal education opportunity is provided for all students. The division and dysfunction that currently exists between the School Board and the Board of Supervisors and the School Board and the Gloucester Community must be alleviated before any remarkable success will be achieved; as it will take both boards and the community working together to transform the public school system into all it can possibly be.
There are other areas within the County that will require varying levels of improvement or modification before substantial growth can take place.  Plans to accommodate this future growth should be established post-haste. Analysis of all County departments and functions relative to such growth plans should be conducted and appropriate steps taken to ensure each department can adequately manage and capitalize on future development of this magnitude.   
The new National Park and everything that will accompany it will provide substantial revenue and create many jobs for Gloucester’s adults and work eligible youth.  Personal property and real estate tax rates for citizens could actually decrease and property values could increase if future growth is managed properly.
Kenneth E. Hogge, Sr.
Gloucester Point
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