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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Council Approves Goals Document for 2013-14

City Council unanimously adopted the Goals, Initiatives and Outcomes for 2013-14 at its Thursday meeting.

The GIOs document is a vision of what the city would like to accomplish or initiate over the next two years. When two years have passed, the city reviews its progress to evaluate what goals were realized, changed or still remain.

Mayor Clyde Haulman will discuss the GIOs in his State of the City address at 5 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Williamsburg Community Building.

The document arranges initiatives under eight main goals: preserving the character of the city; economic vitality; providing effective transportation; public safety; human services and education programming; add to the quality and availability of cultural and recreational programming; environmental sustainability; and citizen engagement and effective city governance.

The 2013-14 GIOs also have a new focus on promoting healthy lifestyles in the city. In the document, 27 initiatives would address that idea, and are identified with an apple icon to signify good physical and mental health. Some of the ideas include acquiring and preserving more open space, applying for certification as a bike-friendly community and creating a concept for expanding the Transportation Center north of the CSX tracks on currently vacant property to demonstrate how the city could handle expanded rail service in the future.

Character

To improve and preserve the character of the city, the GIOs include plans to evaluate the Architectural Review Board’s Design Standards, continue to boost downtown vibrancy through investment in public projects like the Stryker Center and Triangle Building, along with figuring out a future for the privately owned Health Evaluation Center and surplus downtown properties owned by Colonial Williamsburg.

The city also hopes to continue developing the identity of the Arts District, and bring new life to the Northeast Triangle, which is called “Capitol Quarter” in the plan. Williamsburg aims to continue its projects to enhance the beauty of entrance corridors to the city, as well.

Economic Vitality

One of the initiatives to encourage economic vitality is already nearly complete: adoption of the Economic Development Strategic Plan this month, to be implemented over the next two years.

The city will also finalize plans to create a regional business incubator, joining forces with James City County and York County Economic Development Authorities. That will include consideration of regional revenue sharing as an element of the incubator.

Williamsburg wants to work as a partner with the private sector to target redevelopment opportunities, such as the city-owned Tioga lot on Richmond Road and the Lord Paget site at 901 Capitol Landing Road.

Transportation

Many of the city’s initiatives for transportation entail improvement of sidewalks, bike trails and roads. The city also plans to bury wiring underground along Page Street, from the CSX tracks north to the Colonial Parkway.

One of the most major projects to be completed in the biennium is the street network for the Quarterpath at Williamsburg development, which is planned to be completed by the spring.

Public Safety

Williamsburg hopes to pursue several initiatives for building a safer community, including a stronger School Resource Officer relationship with Berkeley Middle School, a more active Neighborhood Watch program, especially in the Merrimac Trail area, and continued emphasis on the Citizen Emergency Response Team training and deployment.

In addition, the city hopes to upgrade the Fire Department facilities and equipment, and invest in staff development toward leadership and specialized skills.

Human Services and Education

The city included a goal that appeared on the GIOs for 2010-12: Expand the Blayton Building, which offers housing to low- to moderate-income elderly. The city also hopes to expand its senior service to include in-home visitation by volunteers and coordination of more intensive services, as needed.

The city will also work with the Greater Williamsburg Outreach Ministries to provide temporary and transitional shelter to the homeless.

For the city’s youth, Williamsburg aims to expand its after-school programming and work with the school system and James City County to plan for a fourth middle school, when it’s needed.

Recreation and Culture

The city will continue to support the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance in its sports marketing.

The city also plans to invest in recreation improvements, hoping to work to create a hiking and biking trail on the Country Road between the Historic Area and Kingsmill, replacing the boardwalk and dock at Waller Mill Park, resurfacing the tennis courts and basketball court at Kiwanis Park and improving the roof at Quarterpath Park and Recreation Center.

The city will consider the future of This Century Art Gallery’s location, and also the future for the Quarterpath Pool, which has seen declining attendance.

Environmental Sustainability

The city’s goals include implementing the requirements of state and federal stormwater runoff regulations; meet the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Consent Order for wastewater treatment; promote water conservation; extend curbside refuse collection on a voluntary basis to two more neighborhoods; expand recycling; and finalize the purchase of two parcels of land in the watershed.

Citizen Engagement/City Governance

The city hopes to enhance volunteerism and citizen engagement, including launching “Friends of the Park” and adopting a statement of neighborly behavior expectations called “Customs and Courtesies.” The city will also continue supporting the Neighborhood Relations Committee of city, college, student, resident and landlord representatives.

For employees, the city will expand the use of its automated performance dashboards to include at least two-thirds of city employees and will prepare for the projected retirement of key city staff members.

The biggest proposed initiative is the replacement of the 1967 Stryker Building with a facility that would include a meeting chamber and conference room, along with community gallery space, public meeting rooms, music and entertainment space and library office space. Williamsburg hopes to have such a facility opening by the end of 2014.

In their Thursday meeting, the council members praised the development of the document, which included several opportunities for public input and edits.

“This document is a road map for city council and staff,” said Vice Mayor Paul Freiling. “It was a lot of work to create it, but the real work is over the next two years.”

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