Historic Jamestown Property Now Protected (VA)

Williamsburg, VA 12/20/2006: James City County and The Trust for Public Land announced today the purchase of 202 acres along the James River for permanent protection and public recreation. The $12.45 million purchase involves funds from county, state, federal, and private sources. The land will be transformed into “Anniversary Park”-center stage for “America’s 400th Anniversary” in May, a commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. Queen Elizabeth II has announced a state visit in May to commemorate Jamestown’s anniversary. Following the events, which are expected to draw nearly 90,000 visitors from across the globe, county officials will continue their plans for the property’s long-term public use.

The land is adjacent to the Jamestown Settlement along the James River. The property includes a portion of the Revolutionary War Green Spring battlefield, and more recently has been home to the Jamestown Campsites and Yacht Basin.

Over the last two years, The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit land conservation organization, has worked to orchestrate the details of the acquisition, including negotiating with the landowners, members of the Vermillion family, and securing public and private funds for the purchase.

“There is no greater legacy that we can leave for future generations than the land we protect today,” said Will Rogers, president of The Trust for Public Land. “America’s past, present, and future all come together on this land and we are proud to protect this iconic property.” “Our partnership with TPL has truly been a benefit to the community and we hope it will lead to other collaborative land preservation opportunities,” said Bruce Goodson, Chairman of the James City County Board of Supervisors.

James City County contributed $2.9 million of the $12.45 million purchase and advanced the remainder of the funding for closing on the purchase. The county will be reimbursed a significant portion of the cost of the property, including a $750,000 grant award from the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation and approximately $1.8 million in federal funding from the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) through the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration. An additional $1.2 million CELCP appropriation is pending in Congress. James City County will also recoup some of the cost of the property when they transfer a portion of the road frontage to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

“This property has been in our family for a long time and we are happy that it will remain open and accessible to the public under the management of James City County,” said landowner Hunter Vermillion.

The federal funding was secured thanks to the leadership of the Virginia Congressional delegation, especially U.S. Senators John Warner and U.S. Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis and U.S. Congressman Frank Wolf.

“I am pleased to see the conservation of 198 acres of land at Jamestown. Protecting historic and cultural resources at Jamestown will connect Virginians to our heritage that began nearly 400 years ago,” said Senator John Warner.

“Conservation of this historically significant land marks another important step towards a successful commemoration of our nation’s 400th anniversary,” said U.S. 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.”

“It is appropriate that the Commonwealth of Virginia is a partner in the acquisition of this historic parcel of land,” said Joseph H. Maroon, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Director and executive secretary of the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation. “Not only does it preserve a piece of our history, it also brings us closer to meeting Governor Kaine’s commitment to preserving 400,000 acres by the end of his administration.”

A $250,000 grant to The Trust for Public Land was made by Dominion, one of the nation’s largest energy companies, headquartered in Richmond, Virginia.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and Dominion is pleased to be a part of protecting American history with the purchase of this property,” said William C. Hall, Jr., Vice President of External Affairs & Corporate Communications and President of the Dominion Foundation.

Thousands of area residents and visiting history buffs also helped support the protection effort by attending last summer’s re-enactment of the Revolutionary War Battle of Green Spring. Proceeds from the event, hosted by the 2d Virginia Regiment, were donated to TPL because the land includes a portion of the Green Spring battlefield. Virginia-based LionHeart FilmWorks documented the re-enactment in a new DVD and also contributed to the protection effort.

The Trust for Public Land 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 2.2 million acres nationwide, including more than 16,000 acres in Virginia. For more information visit www.tpl.org/jamestown or www.jccEgov.com.

For an historical map of Jamestown visit the Discovery Editions TPL Collection.