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JCC Parks & Rec Department Celebrates 40 Years With Proposed Expansions To Local Parks

JAMES CITY-The James City County Parks & Recreation Department is commemorating its 40th Anniversary this year.

The department first began with a successful summer playground program, and later introduced one of its first parks in the mid-1980s when then-Mid County Park (renamed Veterans Park in 2016) opened on Ironbound Road. Veterans Park is home to the popular Kidsburg playground. Today, JCC’s Parks & Recreation department includes a variety of amenities, programs, and services for its citizens. The department oversees 20 different facilities, parks, and trails.

“James City County has such a rich history, and we hope that the community thinks about all of our wonderful amenities and programs as a part of it,” said Jason Purse, interim director of Parks & Recreation. “We like to say that James City County is a great place to live, work and play, and Parks and Recreation certainly brings the play.”

Annual attendance to the county’s parks has increased by more than 50 percent in the last five years, and outdoor facilities were highly utilized last year during the covid-19 pandemic.

“Being able to work with Parks and Recreation is great because you get to experience the ‘fun’ side of local government,” Purse said.  “Seeing citizens enjoying our facilities, and actively engaging in the community is such a fun way to spend the day.”

JCC’s Parks & Recreation is planning a variety of upgrades, renovations, and expansions to its parks in the near future. James City County Marina is currently closed while it undergoes an overhaul and is expected to reopen in the fall. The county is also eyeing an expansion of Upper County Park.

A proposed 5-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for Upper County Park, which first opened in 1984, includes several new amenities, among them a new paved multi-use trail, a splash pad, and a paved parking lot.

A Master Plan of three of the county’s parks was also recently unveiled. Other future amenities being considered at Upper County Park include an enclosure for the park’s swimming pool for year-round use; a community gymnasium with two full-sized indoor courts and a fitness area; a pickleball/tennis court; an off-leash dog area; and an archery range.

At Warhill Sports Complex, updated recommended Master Plan amenities include a synthetic turf baseball complex featuring two lighted large fields, two lighted small fields, and restrooms and concessions; a baseball stadium; lighted pickleball/tennis ball courts; and other amenities.

The Master Plan proposal at James City County Recreation Center Park, which includes the rec center and surrounding park amenities including a skate park, includes an expansion of the skate park, a picnic shelter, an off-leash dog area, and a restroom and concession building near the athletic fields.

Down the line, Purse said JCC Parks & Recreation hopes to add more amenities to better serve the community in Grove as well.

“One of the exciting things that I’m hopeful for is a dedicated park in the lower county,” Purse said. “We’re discussing a park facility with a playground, a swimming pool, and a shelter for gatherings at a place in the county that has long needed an expansion of services.”

The James City County Parks & Recreation department is planning numerous events and activities on Monday, June 21, in honor of the longest day of the year. For more information, visit https://jamescitycountyva.gov/recreation.

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