Monday, July 15, 2024

JCC Seeks Community Input on New Government Center

Brad Rinehimer addresses citizens at the May Community Conversation forum. (Stephanie Sabin/WYDaily)

JAMES CITY COUNTY — James City County (JCC) is asking for the community’s input regarding a potential new Government Center.

The current center, located in the southern end of the county at 101 Mounts Bay Road, consists of six individual buildings, and several other are spaces scattered throughout the county. Most of those were built in the 1970s. 

A new consolidated facility has been discussed for at least ten years, said JCC Assistant County Administrator Brad Rinehimer, who admits the current campus can be challenging for citizens to navigate. Plus, with the county’s growth, more space is needed.

“In 2020, we brought in an outside firm to do a space needs study. Which looked at how much space we are currently occupying, how much we currently need and then project it out for 20 years,” explained Rinehimer. “We need to build for growth.”

“In 2022, we decided to look at what this would cost compared to meeting the needs of the next 20 to 30 years to what we currently have,” continued Rinehimer, who said an outside firm was brought in for that study as well.

That study showed a 10% to 15% increase in the cost of a new building versus expanding, maintenance and upkeep of the current facility, according to Rinehimer.

In December of 2022, an unsolicited building proposal was submitted by Henderson Inc./Gilbane and presented to the JCC Board of Supervisors (BOS). Rinehimer discussed the process during the Nov. 14 JCC BOS meeting where the BOS agreed to an interim agreement.

Working with both builders and architects, the proposed location would be centrally located in the center of the county at Longhill Road and DePue Drive. Currently, the plan calls for a three-story building of approximately 180,000 square feet.

“We want citizens to have a better experience when they come to their government center,” said Rinehimer.

The new consolidated government center is still in the review process and the spatial needs of government services, social services, school administration and a potential parking garage are under consideration.

JCC has asked its employees for their input. A recent employee input session had approximately 100 participants.

Keeping citizens and local business owners updated on the process has been important to the county.

Rinehimer, has been updating the public at JCC Board of Supervisor (BOS) business meetings regularly. 

The county held an open citizens presentation on May 23 at Legacy Hall. While attendance was low, Rinehimer said they received good feedback that included questions about traffic, environmental concerns, aesthetics, efficiency and cost.

Additional community meetings may be announced, but citizens can also voice their opinions and submit feedback and ideas via a link on the JCC webpage or at a JCC BOS meeting.

“We want to hear from you (the citizens of JCC).” Rinehimer stated at the May JCC BOS business meeting, “The last thing we want to see is when the board is making that decision to have 50-100 folks here saying, ‘government center? I never heard of that! What are you talking about?’ So, we are really trying our best to get it out there.”

“We want people to tell us what they want to see,” said Rinehimer.

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