Maybe, like me, you missed the news last week from Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office about the $12.5 million in grants awarded to protect almost 4,000 historically significant acres in Virginia.
The money comes from the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation and will fund nine projects. In addition to the almost 4,000 acres protected, the grants also fund new interpretive tools at multiple sites. Funding was provided by Dominion Energy as part of an $89.5 million agreement to mitigate the adverse impact to historic resources of the Surry-Skiffes Creek Transmission Line.
“Virginia is home to a wealth of historical treasures, and these grants from the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation will improve visitor experiences and enhance educational opportunities at some of our country’s most significant sites,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe, in a press release “I am especially pleased that a significant grant from this funding will go towards land preservation that will finally provide the Chickahominy Indian Tribe with permanent access to the river.”
A grant to the Chickahominy will support the acquisition of tribal lands along the James River, known to them as the Powhatan. This land, to be permanently protected under a conservation easement, will be the first held by the Chickahominy on one of its home rivers in centuries. It will provide a site for the Chickahominy to preserve its heritage and traditions.
VLCF will also provide a grant to support the future acquisition of Belmead on the James, a historic plantation constructed around 1845. The plantation was converted into a school which educated more than 15,000 African American and Native American students before closing in the 1970s.
In addition to these projects, grants will fund the land acquisition of five significant battlefield sites associated with both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, including expanded protections for Yorktown Civil War Battlefield, funding to support the acquisition of Malvern Hill Farm by the Capital Region Land Conservancy, and the purchase of multiple parcels by the Civil War Trust. Two additional grants will be used to develop a new exhibit at Endview Plantation and create a digital model of Fort Crafford, which is part of Fort Eustis in Newport News.