Year in Review: King & Queen sees broadband, capital project gains in 2016

Improvements to broadband service and progress on capital projects were highlights for the county in 2016. The county board of supervisors approved a contract for a new regional radio system in early November, bringing new equipment to the county’s radio towers and increasing broadband speed. Coverage will also expand into the southern end of the county with the addition of new infrastructure to carry the signal. The project is estimated to be completed in the spring of next year.

Broadband efforts didn’t go unnoticed; the county received an award from the Virginia Association of Counties to recognize the work done to bring broadband access to residents in August. King & Queen also focused on finishing capital projects this year and securing funding for new ones. The county built a new fishing pier on the Mattaponi River, said Tom Swartzwelder, county administrator.

In June, the pier was opened in lower King and Queen off of Route 33. The pier was one project county residents expressed interest in through a survey conducted several years ago, according to a county news release. The county also came to an agreement with the state allowing anyone to fish from the pier without needing a license of their own, Swartzwelder said. Eighty percent of the $150,000 price tag was covered by a Virginia Marine Resource Commission grant.

The county paid the remaining $30,000. The county earned a green infrastructure grant for construction projects at the county government complex in August, Swartzwelder said. The $200,000 grant, which comes from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, will allow the county to make improvements to the parking lot and drainage system at the county’s government complex, Swartzwelder said.

The drainage system will be improved with a sediment basin to filter stormwater and the parking lot’s asphalt will be replaced with a permeable material, he said. Swartzwelder said the grant allows the county to complete the necessary work in a environmentally conscious way.

“It allows us to do this in the best way possible,” Swartzwelder said. The county will begin the bidding process for contractors to design the project in early January.

Construction is estimated to begin early next summer, Swartzwelder said.

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.