James City County receives national recognition for youth and land preservation programs
Date: June 18, 2004
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Amy Hibbard, Communications Coordinator, Parks and Recreation (757) 259-3217 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ed Overton, PDR Administrator (757) 259-3161 or email@example.com
James City County has been awarded two 2004 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards recognize the Beyond the Bell program to help at-risk youth improve academically and the Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) Program for landowners interested in preserving the natural character of their property.
Award recipients will be recognized at NACo's 69th Annual Conference in July in Phoenix, AZ. A list of winning programs will be available at www.naco.org and many will be highlighted in upcoming issues of County News.
"James City County has been a leader in bringing together citizens and local government to work together to protect and enhance the quality of life for current and future generations," said PDR Administrator Ed Overton. "It is wonderful to receive national recognition for this program, whose true impact will be realized by future generations who will enjoy rural scenery, farmers at work, wildlife habitat and protected natural resources and ecological areas."
"We are very excited that Beyond the Bell has been recognized by NACo, but most importantly we are extremely pleased to be able to offer such an innovated program that has a positive impact on families in our community," said Director of Parks and Recreation Ned Cheely.
The PDR Program was established in 2001 to protect open space, community character, farmland, forest land, and natural resources in the County. It allows landowners to sell the development potential of qualifying property to the County while maintaining the right to continue to own and use the land. The land is protected in perpetuity through a conservation easement deeded to the County.
Beyond the Bell is an after-school program for middle school students offered by the James City County Division of Parks and Recreation with funding from the Department of Criminal Justice Services. The program strives to lower risk factors while increasing protective factors through a combination of recreational activities, tutorial and mentor programs, community service, and educational sessions. Participants are admitted to the program based on referrals from teachers, counselors, social services, and school resource officers. Risk factors of low academic performance, lack of social ties, lack of parental involvement, and potential use of drugs and alcohol must be identified before participants are admitted into the program.
NACo's annual awards program recognizes innovative programs that promote responsible, responsive and effective county government. Begun in 1970, it is noncompetitive and designed to promote successful county programs in a wide range of service areas.