Conserving History to Provide for the Future

Henrico County is always looking towards the future. Recently, this has meant preserving a piece of history so future generations can learn and enjoy our country’s past. Through a $1.5-million contribution, Henrico County now maintains over 400 acres of the historic Malvern Hill Farm. This project has been a collaborative effort for many years and the successful completion of the project is thanks to multiple County employees, departments and the County Manager.

Malvern Hill Farm had been in the Ferguson family since the 1930’s. Earlier this year, a local non-profit organization, Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC), bought it from them to preserve its history. “This is extremely valuable property,” said Deputy County Manager for Community Development Randy Silber, “Because all three of the American battles—War of 1812, Revolutionary War and the Civil War—had some engagements of action on the Malvern Hill property. It is the only land in the United States that can say that.” Also, since these battles, the Malvern Hill property has remained virtually untouched, which is a huge bonus for the historical preservation of the land and almost unheard of when it comes to historic sites in the United States.

“We would like to be able to simply use the property for historical interpretation purposes,” said Silber. When looking to the future for this property, changes, if any, would be very minimal due to a Department of Historic Resources Conservation easement on the land. This easement makes it so that only two percent of the entire property can be developed. Hiking and biking trails, historical interpretive centers, picnic shelters, parking and open fields will be the principal uses for the land. Creating and maintaining a space that people can use to enjoy the outdoors along with some history is less common these days, so the Malvern Hill property will be a breath of fresh air for everyone. A small portion of the property will be made into a canoe and kayak landing area, restrooms and parking. The Recreation and Parks Department will maintain the grounds after completion. Not only will residents be able to enjoy this land, but the employees of Henrico County as well.

“The County is always looking to the future to provide a quality living environment for residents. It also adds value to anyone who lives and works in the County,” said Silber. So, whether you enjoy the open fields of Malvern Hill or venture into the nearby National Park Services property, you will not only be experiencing a part of history, but a preserved part of our Nation’s future. That is an accomplishment worth contributing towards.

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Fixing IT Up!

BOOM! Clank! BzZzz!

If you have walked around the second floor of the Administration Building, down the IT hallway, or even outside, you have probably heard one, if not all, of these sounds over the past few weeks. That is because the Department of Information Technology (IT) is getting a much-needed upgrade to their workspace.

Earlier this year, unveiling of the new data center on the third floor of the Administration Building happened, kicking off the entire IT remodel process. The original data center, built in 1976, had not been significantly updated since its installation. The completion of the new center shrunk the size of IT’s footprint by 3,400 square feet just moving it from the second to the third floor, allowing all the space it once occupied to be converted into offices. “We are excited,” said George Bains, Assistant Director of Information Technology, “A big part of this lets the department as a whole, look at everything new again.”

Not only was the data center moved, but the office space on the second floor is being completely renovated. IT is even getting new windows! The construction on the second floor is so big that it must be done in two phases in order to accommodate everyone’s work environment. Phase One should be completed in early October when the construction crew turns over half of the space (what was the old data center) to IT. They then have to build their new desk areas, assemble furniture and get everyone moved to the new side before demolition starts on the half they just vacated.

Along with all the new offices being built, IT will be gaining a large conference room, multiple collaboration rooms, open meeting areas, standing white board walls and did we mention new windows? “It has been exciting to see we were able to include this as a capital project. It allows us to access creativity we have not been able to before,” said Bains. Not only is collaboration happening between the construction crew and IT but General Services and Schools all have a hand in this renovation project too. When it is all said and done, 16 school employees will now be located in the Administration building, along with the majority of the IT staff.

Completion of all construction, painting and moving should be done by March 2019, and Henrico County will see the benefits of this project for years to come. Through creativity, collaboration and seeing beyond the walls of IT, this renovation project is bringing our information technology office space into the 21st century.

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Do you know that on average, every minute of walking can extend your life by one and a half to two minutes? The benefits of walking are endless! Not only does it help to prevent chronic diseases, it also gives you more energy, makes you feel good, helps you to relax, reduces stress and assists with weight management. Walking is a great choice for regular, healthy exercise. It is safe AND effective!

To address growing health concerns and to keep our employees in the best health possible, we are launching a new Health Trip initiative. HENRICO COUNTY WALKS is for all County employees to focus on the importance of regular physical activity to maintain physical and emotional well-being. It’s a fact – regular physical activity is essential for good health!

Every nine weeks employee teams will walk toward a new destination city. You can join at any time! The journey begins in Augusta, Maine and heads first to the Big Apple – New York City! To cover the 386-mile distance, employees can form a team of four, where each team member should walk two miles a day, five days a week, to stay on track! This goal makes it easy to achieve 150 minutes of physical activity per week, supporting the American Heart Association’s physical activity goal to reduce the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. For employees who are already physically active and like to jog or run on a regular basis there are options to form a team of three, two or one. These options allow smaller teams to cover the same distance with a greater per week distance to be achieved by each team member.

From New York City, walkers will head to our very own capital city, Richmond. After that, the next stop is Charleston, South Carolina and then on to the final destination city, Orlando, Florida. To assist employees with locating feasible walking routes, the County’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) office has mapped out walking routes at each County facility, including libraries, parks, schools and general government buildings. These recommended walking routes are available to view on the HENRICO COUNTY WALKS Story Map. This GIS site has several site selection tabs to assist employees in searching for a convenient and safe path close to their work location. Employees can select their work location and the recommended walking route is highlighted on an aerial map. A description of the walking route is provided including the route distance, surface-type, and step-by-step directions on how to navigate the route. Locations that do not have a feasible walking route are given the recommendation to walk at the nearest park. You may preview the HENRICO COUNTY WALKS Story Map today.

Getting started on your HENRICO COUNTY WALKS journey takes a few simple steps and can happen at any point of the journey:

  1. Form a team.
  2. Think of a fun team name and officially register by completing the registration form.
  3. Submit your registration form by September 7th to Liz Stovall.

Before you hit the road, stop by the HENRICO COUNTY WALKS information page on the employee portal for complete program details.

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