HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico County held a discussion regarding a bond referendum planned for November at the annual retreat this past weekend. The referendum would fund multiple projects if approved by voters.
Deputy County Manager Brandon Hinton lead the discussion, listing a range of capital projects for schools, public safety, parks, and also provided information on funding being used to address drainage issues across the county.
The school projects would address several aging facilities in the county and construct two new elementary schools. It also includes an environmental education facility on the county’s Wilton property along the James River, according to Henrico Government.
R.C. Longan Elementary School is expecting a rebuild projected at $42 million if approved by voters. Quioccasin Middle School is projected for an $89 million rebuild in addition to Davis Elementary School and Highland Springs Elementary School.
The two new middle schools would be a new Fairfield elementary school projected at $46 million and a new West End area elementary school with $47.7 million projected.
The county attributes River Mill, Virginia Center Commons and future development in the Route 1 corridor as reasons of the need for a new elementary school in the Fairfield area. Elementary schools in the area were at or near capacity pre-COVID.
The West End area also saw similar issues with capacity pre-COVID and particularly in the Three Chopt Magisterial District. The 202 Census showed Three Chopt is continuing to see the majority of Henrico County’s population growth.
The referendum’s public safety component would address seven fire stations with renovations, replacement or relocation, and reconstruction. A new training center is in the plans to enhance firefighters’ preparation for confronting fires in mixed-use buildings.
Firehouses #6, #1 and #11 are in plans for replacement or relocation varying from $15 million to $16 million.
The proposed $18 million Public Safety Training Center would make Henrico County a model for training capabilities on the East Coast, according to Fire Chief Alec Oughton.
PARKS AND RECREATION
An additional public safety project would be a no-kill animal shelter off Kain Road. This property also has plans for a $30 million park.
If approved by voters, the bond referendum could also fund significant improvements at Deep Bottom Park and also allow the work to continue at Tuckahoe Creek Park to complete a connection from Patterson Avenue to West Broad Street.
Henrico voters will also have the chance to approve $50 million in funding for drainage improvements in each magisterial district.
The referendum, in total, would fund over $514 million in capital projects.
Of that $514 million, school projects make up 2/3 of the total at $340.5 million.
Public safety totals at $83.85 million and Parks and Recreation totals at $40 million.
The planned bonds would be issued over six fiscal years to “ensure utmost affordability.”
Henrico County’s AAA bond rating allows the lowest rate available when issuing bonds approved in the referendum.
WHEN ARE YOU VOTING?
The Board of Supervisors will vote on a resolution February 22 asking the Henrico Circuit Court to order the referendum and have it placed on the ballot. Early voting begins September 23 and will be preceded by a comprehensive public information campaign ahead of Election Day on November 8.
Henrico voters will see a series of question on the ballot for the bond referendum and projects will be separated into three categories.