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N E W S   R E L E A S E


Sept. 20, 2012






Veda McMullen, Communications Specialist


County facilities receive top honors from Virginia Recreation and Park Society


Two James City County projects received top honors from the Virginia Recreation and Park Society. The Freedom Park Interpretive Center was named Best New Facility/Bricks and Mortar and the Jamestown Beach Park Shoreline Restoration initiative won for Best New Renovation/Addition for Parks, Playgrounds, Blueways or Trails. The projects won in their respective categories for populations of 50,000-100,000. The awards were recently presented during the 58th Annual VRPS Conference held in Wintergreen.


Freedom Park’s Interpretive Center opened in November 2011 and offers visitors a look at three significant periods of American history between 1680 and the 1850’s. The Center features exhibits of artifacts recovered at the park, an interactive kiosk highlighting the parks history and wildlife, and serves as a programming outlet for park partners who provide community recreational opportunities, environmental education and historical interpretations. Center amenities include indoor community meeting space with a kitchen and fireplace, an outdoor patio/grilling area, an outdoor bike wash and a variety of environmentally green features. The Interpretive Center compliments other Greater Williamsburg historical destinations and serves as the only representative example of history during this period for African Americans. Since the opening of the Interpretive Center in 2011, overall park attendance at Freedom has grown by 40 percent.


Jamestown Beach Park was recognized as an outstanding example of partnerships in securing funding and using in-house expertise while maintaining a reputation for building quality facilities. The Park is a popular attraction for locals and tourists; however, over the years the shoreline had been adversely impacted by wave attack and major storm events. To address the problem, a team of James City County staff developed the design for a Living Shoreline Stabilization Plan. Additional collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Chesapeake Bay Trust assisted in the final design and resulted in the award of $100,000 in grant funds. The successful completion of the project helped to protect, preserve and improve one of the few public beaches in James City County. Park attendance has increased more than 200 percent since the completion of the beach improvements and offers habitat for shoreline animals and provides an attractive, natural appearance to the living shoreline treatment.


VRPS is a private, non-profit professional organization designed to unite all parks and recreation professionals from across the State for learning, networking and support. Highlighting each annual conference is a formal presentation of awards. Awards were given in 14 different categories and 110 applications were received. Winners were judged by a jury of their peers for demonstrated excellence in their entry areas. For more information on the Society, call 804-730-9447 or visit


For more information about James City County Parks and Recreation, visit, email or call 757-259-5415.


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