Agreement to Protect 198 Acres in Jamestown (VA)
Jamestown, VA, April 26, 2005 – The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit land conservation organization, announced today that it has reached an agreement to purchase the 198-acre Jamestown Campsites and Yacht Basin properties in Jamestown from the current owner, the Vermillion family. The land is a high protection priority because of it prominent location, important historic resources and irreplaceable recreation opportunities. Its conservation will be an important step for James City County residents and visitors.
“The public acquisition of this strategically located property is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only protect and enhance existing internationally-recognized historic resource but also provide highly-desirable recreation and water access for generations to come,” said Debi Osborne, senior project manager for TPL.
The property adjoins National Park Service, state-, and county-protected historical sites. The available land is highly developable, and funding to acquire the land this year is important to maintain the integrity of Historic Jamestowne, Jamestown Settlement, and the Jamestown 2007 commemoration being planned on and near the site for the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the New World.
The property has been a longtime focus of James City County, the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, and the National Park Service. In December 2004, a group of interested parties came together to discuss funding options to purchase the properties. As no single agency or organization was in the position to fully fund the acquisition, the Trust for Public Land was asked to bring its national conservation real estate expertise to the project and begin negotiations with the landowner. The goal was to enter an agreement with time to raise the necessary funds to purchase the land for conservation.
Under the terms of the agreement announced today, TPL has until December 2005 to show substantial committed funds and demonstrate the ability to raise approximately $12.5 million in public and private funds in order to purchase the 198 acres by December 2006. Over the coming months, TPL will be working to obtain funding from local, state, and federal sources. In addition, TPL will work closely with James City County and other funding partners and adjoining owners to develop a plan for the property’s ultimate use and ownership.
“This is an important opportunity that will support James City County’s efforts to protect the integrity and beauty of one of the last remaining parcels on the historic James River. The acquisition of this land is a gift for the community and visitors for generations to come,” said James City County Administrator Sandy Wanner.
“The purchase of this land is great news for both historical and environmental interests in Virginia,” said Senator George Allen. “By expanding educational and recreational opportunities, we are protecting natural resources and providing economic growth for our tourism industry at the same time. The eyes of the world will be on Virginia in 2007 as we commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. Securing this piece of property is a fitting way to honor the birthplace of American democracy and the cradle of American liberty.”
“Conservation and preservation of this historically significant land marks another important step towards a successful commemoration of our nation’s 400th anniversary,” said Representative Jo Ann Davis. “I look forward to continuing my work on the federal level to secure funding to complement state, local and private efforts.”
The Jamestown Campsites tract is a private campground with frontage on the James River. The site was part of the Revolutionary War “Battle of Greensprings,” where Union troops torched the plantation of Sir William Berkeley, Royal governor of the Virginia colony. The Jamestown Yacht Basin and Marina serves as an important public amenity on Powhatan Creek, providing boating access to the James River and ferry tours of James River Island. Acquisition of the marina property will protect on-site and nearby historic and archaeological resources and ensure public access to the James River, as well as conserve 65 acres of marshland.
“This property plays an important part in our plans for commemorating America’s Anniversary Weekend in May 2007. It will be the site of ‘Anniversary Park,’ the main venue for commemoration entertainment. Beyond 2007, this property will be an important legacy for the entire community,” said Jeanne Zeidler, executive director for Jamestown 2007.
The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, TPL has helped protect more than two million acres of land in 46 states, including more than 16,000 acres in Virginia. TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission.