Senate Approves $1.2M for Jamestown Protection (VA)
WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/14/2006: The Trust For Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit land conservation organization, today praised U.S. Senators John Warner and George Allen for providing $1.2 million in critical funding for the conservation of 198 acres at Jamestown, Virginia in the Fiscal Year 2007 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill on Thursday. The conservation of the 198-acre Jamestown Campsites and Yacht Basin property in Jamestown is a high protection priority because of its prominent location, important historic resources and the irreplaceable recreation opportunities it provides. Its conservation will be an important milestone for James City County residents and visitors.
“I congratulate and thank Senators Warner and Allen for securing the funding necessary to save this important tract that was so crucial in the founding of our nation,” said Bruce Goodson, the chairman of the James City County Board of Supervisors. “This parcel will be an integral part of the Jamestown 2007 events next year. I want to thank our senators and The Trust for Public Land for their partnership, and for making this acquisition a reality for the citizens of James City County.”
The property adjoins historical sites protected by the National Park Service, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and James City County. The 198 acres are 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 – which is being planned on and around the site to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the New World.
The funding secured by Senators Warner and Allen was included in the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) account. The bill now awaits approval by the full Senate.
Denise Schlener, Director of The Trust for Public Land’s Chesapeake and Central Appalachians Field Office, lauded the Senate action and efforts of the Senators: “We applaud Senators Warner and Allen for again securing funds to make this conservation dream a reality. The public acquisition of this strategically located property is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only protect and enhance an internationally recognized historic resource, but to also provide recreation and water access for generations to come.”
Senator John Warner said: “I am pleased to support 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.”
“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 industryat 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.”
The Jamestown Campsites tract is a private campground with frontage on the James River. The site was part of the Revolutionary War Battle of Green Spring, which took place 225 years ago this month. 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.
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 agreement that was reached, TPL must raise approximately $12.5 million in public and private funds in order to purchase the 198 acres by December 2006. The federal funds in the committee passed bill would be added to the $2 million secured by Senators Warner and Allen, and Representative JoAnn Davis in FY 2006 from the same account. Other funds secured for the Jamestown acquisition include $3 million from the Virginia state budget through the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, $750,000 from the Virginia Land Conservation Fund, and $3 million from James City County. While funds are being secured, TPL is working closely with James City County, other funding partners, and adjoining owners to develop a plan for the property’s ultimate use and ownership.
The remaining balance of funds to complete the acquisition are being raised from private sources and through public events. A public re-enactment honoring the 225th anniversary of the Battle of Green Spring occurred on July 15 and 16, 2006, the proceeds of which will go towards the acquisition of the 198-acre property.
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. For more information, visit www.tpl.org or call (202) 543-7552.