Correctional facility OK’d

Published 7:10 pm Tuesday, July 10, 2018

No public hearing required for Windsor location

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Once envisioned as a site for warehouses and manufacturing, Isle of Wight County’s intermodal park is now the future site of a 60-bed juvenile correctional facility.

The Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors on Thursday discussed what portion of the intermodal park to put the facility, which was included in the recently adopted state budget. 

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The juvenile facility will be located within a 985-acre parcel south of the town of Windsor and owned by the Isle of Wight Economic Development Authority.

The Board seemed interested in a 20-acre portion off Buckhorn Drive in addition to sites along Walters Highway. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

In addition to contributing the land, Isle of Wight County will also provide up to $500,000 for utilities, said Isle of Wight Assistant County Administrator Don Robertson.

Because the land is owned by the EDA, an official public hearing on the facility is not required, said Isle of Wight County attorney Mark Popovich.

However, the county plans to provide public information sessions, said Robertson. 

The facility, which would serve youthful offenders, would be a full-service center offering educational, athletic, vocational, medical and counseling services and would be the first of its kind in Virginia, said Robertson earlier this year.

The county was interested in the project because it would generate about 240 jobs and boost the economy in Windsor, Robertson said.

The project is to be discussed this evening at an intergovernmental meeting between the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors and the Windsor Town Council. 

The correctional center was part of a larger project in Chesapeake, but received a good deal of public opposition. The Chesapeake City Council eventually withdrew from the project last year. 

“Like Chesapeake, Isle of Wight still has the benefit of being within an hour of the Hampton Roads cities where a large number of youth in state custody come from, and is much closer to those communities than Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center which is located just outside Richmond,” said Andrew Block, director for the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice. 

The idea is to keep the juveniles close to their home communities, as family engagement is associated with successful rehabilitation, according to an interim report issued in 2016 by the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice Task Force. 

The design will also emphasize a small group treatment approach with instructional technology to address academic needs and hands-on career readiness, according to the 2017 final report by the Task Force.

Isle of Wight County originally envisioned its intermodal park to be a hub for businesses supporting the Port of Virginia, and later, as a site for manufacturing after it upped its water capacity with the Norfolk water deal. 

However, the county has been unable to lure businesses to the park beyond the three that are there now — CostPlus World Market, Safco and Keurig Green Mountain.  {/mprestriction}