• psst … I’m a Realtor! Thanks for stopping by my website. I would love to help you find your dream home and community in the Hampton Roads or Williamsburg area or to sell your existing home. This website is authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of Hampton Roads and the historic triangle, and his expertise in the local real estate market. His websites, WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com and Mr Williamsburg.com were created as a resource for folks who are exploring a move to Williamsburg, VA , Hampton Roads VA and the surrounding areas of the Virginia Peninsula. On his website you can search homes for sale , foreclosures, 55+ active adult communities, condos and town homes , land and commercial property for sale in Williamsburg, Yorktown, New Kent, Poquoson, and Gloucester, VA as well as surrounding markets of Carrolton, Chesapeake,Gloucester, Hampton, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth Mathews, Newport News Norfolk, Poquoson, Smithfield, , Suffolk, Surry, Va Beach, Yorktown and York County Virginia You can reach John by email John@MrWilliamsburg.com or phone @ 757-254-813

Public can discuss use of Eastern State Hospital Vacant Land

Vacant land at the Eastern State Hospital site in James City County, long lusted after for its development potential, will be the subject of a community discussion this month as the state considers new uses for it.

A group of local leaders called the Crossroads Project Steering Committee, which was formed about a decade ago and was instrumental in the process that led to the New Town development, will lead three days of discussions on the land starting April 21. The committee will bring in a team from Pittsburgh-based Urban Design Associates to assist in the conversation.

These talks come as Virginia prepares a master plan on what to do with unused land at state-run Eastern State, the first public psychiatric hospital in North America. Officials are consolidating much of the hospital to the eastern side of the property and the large, underused campus is considered attractive to developers.

Last year, city and county officials contacted the state department that oversees mental health services about the possibility of excess land there being used for a school site. During those talks, they learned the state was about to kick off a master-plan process for the property and asked if it could coincide with the county’s update of its Comprehensive Plan this year.

State officials agreed and asked the Crossroads group to host a community forum to generate ideas should portions of the land become available for new development. But the state’s lengthy process for planning the land’s future puts any new use years away, leaders say.

Crossroads includes representatives of the area’s three localities — Williamsburg, James City and York County — as well as the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the College of William and Mary and the Williamsburg Area Chamber and Tourism Alliance.

The meetings will be at the college’s Alumni House on Richmond Road starting at 7 p.m. on April 21 and April 23. The April 22 session, closed to the public, will only be for certain officials to hear specific suggestions.

“The idea is to take all the input and on that last day you’ve got a plan on paper,” though one still to be evaluated by the state, said City Manager Jack Tuttle, who represents Williamsburg on the Crossroads group.

Eastern State just completed work on its new geriatric center, which will house about 150 mentally ill patients aged 65 and older. The move is the first of what will place much of the hospital’s operations closer to Ironbound Road, freeing up much of the middle of the property for other uses, said Jim Golden, associate vice president for economic development at William and Mary and a member of Crossroads’ steering committee.

Workers have already begun razing a handful of buildings to construct a facility for younger mentally ill patients and a new administrative building.

The effort to shrink the space used by Eastern State, which had about 400 patients as of 2006, will leave about 460 acres of the hospital’s 540 acres as open space and forest, Eastern State officials have said.

One area where Urban Design Associates is expected to offer its professional services is figuring out how to turn the area’s wetlands into an advantage instead of treating them like an obstacle, said Golden, who sits on the Crossroads group’s steering committee.

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