Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Goochland Treasure Pam Johnson, who is recuperating from injuries sustained during a fall.
The July 3 meeting of the Board of Supervisors marked the last report from Director of Economic Development, Matthew Ryan, who is returning to his native South Carolina. We wish Ryan well in his new position and hope, should he ever encounter a prospect seeking to locate in Virginia, that he mentions Goochland! During the six years he has served Goochland, Ryan has worked tirelessly to attract new enterprises to the county. More commercial development means a stable tax rate. A search for his successor—Ryan essentially operated as a “one man band” with staff support—is undoubtedly underway.
Board Chair Ken Peterson, District 5, commended Ryan for a job well done and wished him success in his future endeavors.
Ryan thanked the board for its support over his tenure. The 2018 midyear update—economic development runs on a calendar year—included lots of good news. DriveShack is vertical, the hospital is underway, Audi is open for business, and the breweries are going full steam and has filed plans for its amphitheater. They are “blown away by the support they’ve seen thus far,” said Ryan. “It may not be a record setting year, but a god year nonetheless.”
Goochland is on track to break $100 million of new investment in 2018 and has been o the upswing since 2014. The biggest drawback is that Goochland has no inventory is leasable space. A few possible office projects are in the works. There is still no plans for construction of speculative office space.
More than 4,500 jobs have been created in the past five years, giving us the highest percentage of job growth in the Commonwealth.
He addressed the economic development strategic plan in progress. Much of the data has been collected and the next step is drafting the plan. Nurturing existing businesses, attracting new enterprises and honing tourism are its “three legs.” He contended that agriculture is big business in Goochland that should be capitalized on. Citizen involvement in tourism is a big part of the process. A list of “things we want” to foster economic development, included Broadband expansion, an executive roundtable, customer-focused employees that “always find a way to say “yes”, and a business culture that supports retention and expansion of existing businesses.
Once again, Goochland County has been awarded the certificate for excellence in financial reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada. “Ban counting” is perhaps the most important function of local government and the true test of good stewardship of public finds. County Administration John Budesky said this award is the result of dedicated teamwork by the entire county and school staff. As not that long ago, Goochland was on track to surpass Petersburg for fiscal dysfunction, this is an achievement to be grateful for.
Deputy County Administrator Derek Stamey gave an update on the new animal shelter. After delays caused by weather and a complex foundation, construction is moving forward. Shelter operations have been temporarily relocated to an area behind the gym at central High School on Dogtown Road. Stamey commended general services and animal protection for their good work on the relocation. Animal protection services will remain there until the new facility is completed. These Central High School improvements, said Stamey, can be reused if needed in the future. The old shelter has been demolished and completion is expected by the end of 2018 or early next year, weather and Murphy’s law permitting.
Goochland Pet Lovers, the private non-profit organization formed to work in conjunction with Goochland Animal Protection, has rasied$1.522 million and has increased its ultimate goal to $1.65 million. (visit goochlandpetlovers.com for information on special events and fundraising opportunities.)
The supervisors voted to approve an application for VDOT “Smart Scale” project funding. Under this program Goochland competes with other jurisdictions for road funds. As Susan Lascolette, Distirct1, observed this is a “take it or leave it” proposition if VDOT selects our application. The county may apply for these funds every two years.
Projects included in Goochland’s SmartScale application include installation of a “diverging diamond” traffic pattern at the Interstate 64/Ashland Road interchange; building a roundabout at the I64 Oilville exit; reconnecting Three Chopt Road north of Rt. 250 by building a bridge over Rt. 288 (no, I am not making this up); and adding an auxiliary lane on Rt. 288 between the James River bridge and Rt.6.
Marshall Winn, VDOT representative reported the repairing storm damage caused by recent record rains, cleaning up debris from those storms, and cutting grass have kept his crews busy. The traffic signal at Rt. 6 and West Creek Parkway is on track for completion and work on improvements for the Rt. 288. Broad Street Road interchange are expected in early 2020.
Winn announced a public meeting about a planned roundabout at the Rt. 522/Rt.250 intersection, which is in Louisa County, is scheduled for July 24 at the Locust Grove Fire Station.`