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Henrico’s Annual Report provides the most comprehensive overview of the county’s accomplishments, projects and initiatives for fiscal year 2022-23.
“These pages provide a window into what we have done – and what we are doing – as we strive to become the best community in which to live, work, play and visit,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said.
Copies are available at the county’s government centers, libraries and recreation centers, and by request at (804) 501-4257 or email@example.com.
The digital version includes interactive maps and links to videos.
County poised for continued growth with Sports & Events Center opening in fall
Visitors spent more than $1.7 billion in Henrico County during 2022, the highest total of any locality in central Virginia and the fifth highest in Virginia, according to an annual study released today for the Virginia Tourism Corp.
Henrico’s total includes sales of $406 million on food and beverage, $226 million on lodging, $165 million on retail, $167 million on recreation and about $754 million on transportation. Overall, spending by tourists and other visitors to Henrico jumped by 27.2% from 2021.
“Every year, more and more visitors are learning what our residents and businesses already know – that Henrico County is a great place to be,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said. “Tourism continues to thrive not only in the county but across the region, helping to fuel our economy, fund local services and raise our quality of life. Henrico is poised for further growth, particularly in attracting sports tourism, because we offer first-class parks and athletic facilities, including the Henrico Sports & Events Center that will open later this fall.”
Statewide, spending by visitors totaled $30.3 billion in 2022. Among localities, Henrico followed the totals for the counties of Loudoun, Arlington and Fairfax and the city of Virginia Beach. The totals reflect spending by travelers who had stayed overnight in paid accommodations or had taken day or overnight trips at least 50 miles from home.
Tourism in Henrico supported more than 10,000 jobs with a combined payroll income of $521 million in 2022. It also generated tax receipts of about $76 million for the county and $40 million for the state.
Henrico and seven other localities in the region combined to attract $3.4 billion in visitor spending, supporting more than 27,000 jobs with an annual payroll of $1.1 billion.
In 2022, Henrico hosted 136 outdoor tournaments that generated nearly $65 million in local economic activity. Construction is almost complete on the Henrico Sports & Events Center, a 185,000-square-foot venue that will be able to accommodate indoor events, such as basketball and volleyball tournaments plus high school graduations, concerts and other gatherings. The center, targeted to open this fall, is being built at Virginia Center Commons through a partnership between the county and Rebkee Co., which is redeveloping the former mall property with housing, retail and other uses. Henrico has missed capturing as much as $33 million in annual spending by not having a venue for indoor sports, according to county estimates.
Tourism Economics compiled the data for the Virginia Tourism Corp. More information is available at vatc.org.
31 organizations have already secured dates from October through 2024
Thirty-one sports and community organizations have signed on to hold tournaments, competitions, meetings and other large gatherings at the Henrico Sports & Events Center ahead of its scheduled opening this fall at Virginia Center Commons.
The Henrico Sports & Entertainment Authority, which oversees the facility, today announced its initial roster of partner organizations, which will present such events as basketball, volleyball and futsal tournaments; cheerleading, dance and gymnastics competitions; group meetings; and high school graduations. Groups have finalized contracts covering more than 135 event dates from October through 2024. Based on discussions with organizations, the number of event dates could potentially double, said Dennis Bickmeier, executive director of the Henrico Sports & Entertainment Authority.
“We can’t wait to open the Henrico Sports & Events Center so we can share it with our community,” he said. “It’ll truly be a hub of activity, boosting tourism and spending at local businesses and creating lasting memories for athletes and their families. The community’s excitement has grown immensely as construction has progressed. We’re pleased to partner with so many wonderful sports clubs and other organizations from the area and across the state to bring more ‘Showtime. All the Time.’ to Henrico County.”
The Henrico Sports & Events Center is under construction as part of a redevelopment of the Virginia Center Commons area, just off Interstate 95 in northcentral Henrico. The 185,000-square-foot facility will include an arena with retractable and floor seating for 4,500 guests as well as a flexible event space that can be configured for 12 basketball courts or 24 volleyball courts simultaneously.
The organizations and groups that have scheduled events at the facility include Special Olympics Virginia, 804 Coaches for Change, Big Shots Basketball and FutsalRVA. They follow recent announcements of the Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Championship in March 2024 and 2025 and the Adult and Junior Division Wheelchair Basketball National Tournaments, co-hosted by Sportable and others, in April 2024.
Special Olympics Virginia will hold its annual competition Feb. 24-25 in Henrico after being in Stafford County for the past 20 years.
“In Stafford, we utilized 10 different venues to manage the tournament and provide the best competition experience,” said Roy Ziedman, senior vice president of Special Olympics Virginia. “At the Henrico Sports & Events Center, we will be able to host the entire event at one location, improving logistics, the competition experience, delegation maintenance and volunteer experience.”
804 Coaches for Change will hold one of the first events at the Sports & Events Center, a high school basketball tournament slated for Dec. 28-30.
“We are elated to be the first public vs. private school basketball event to take place at the Henrico Sports & Events Center,” said Stephen Lewis, vice president of 804 Coaches for Change. “We hope to continue to make this state-of-the-art venue home to our tournament for years to come, showcasing our student-athletes and providing a platform to bring the community together.”
Big Shots Basketball will host AAU basketball tournaments in Henrico over five weekends from March through July 2024 and again in 2025 and 2026. The group also presents tournaments in such locations as Philadelphia; Virginia Beach; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Charleston, S.C.; and Rocky Mount, N.C.
“Big Shots is honored to be hosting many events per year at the Henrico Sports & Events Center that will attract teams nationally,” said Jeff Schneider, CEO of Big Shots Basketball. “The Henrico Sports & Events Center will quickly become one of the premier venues in America!”
FutsalRVA will host futsal tournaments in Henrico in January, June and August as well as practices and leagues throughout the year. The organization offers programs for players as young as age 4 to adults.
“We are more than thrilled with our partnership with the Henrico Sports facility and very excited to bring teams from all over the region, not only to experience this world class facility and fantastic competition but also to enjoy what Richmond has to offer,” said Joe Farrell, executive director of FutsalRVA.
The $50 million Henrico Sports & Events Center is being developed through a partnership between Henrico and Rebkee Co., which is redeveloping the former Virginia Center Commons mall property with housing, retail and other uses.
Organizations and groups interested in booking events at the Henrico Sports & Events Center can contact Megan Hazzard, at (804) 501-5221 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Michael McCormack, at (804) 501-4142 or email@example.com.
Organizations scheduled to use the Henrico Sports & Events Center
Hear updates from Deputy County Manager for Administration, Brandon Hinton, on the County's FY2024 proposed budget.
Henrico County is outlining more details of its proposed budget for fiscal 2023-24, two weeks after announcing plans to include its second real estate tax credit in two years to help homeowners manage the impacts of rising property values.
As shared today with several hundred employees at the Department of Public Utilities Operations Center, the proposed budget also will include more tax relief – a 10-cent cut to the personal property tax rate – as well as additional investments in education and public safety; funding for capital projects, including the first wave of projects promised with the 2022 bond referendum; and 8.2% merit-based pay raises for county and schools employees – Henrico’s largest across-the-board salary increase in 33 years.
Speaking to the gathering of employees, Deputy County Manager for Administration W. Brandon Hinton said Henrico’s continued investment in its employees is part of its strategy to provide the best services at the lowest cost to the community.
“Every year Henrico is able to make substantial investments in education and public safety, maintain and build new, necessary infrastructure and lead our peers year after year in pay increases – all while maintaining the lowest tax burden on our residents and businesses – because of the work you do,” he said. “We intentionally have the leanest workforce for the outstanding services Henrico County provides. We ask you to do more, to go above and beyond, and every single day you amaze. Furthermore, the investment we make in our employees is an investment in our residents, our community and the services they receive.”
The proposed 8.2% salary increase underscores Henrico’s commitment to being the region’s local government pay leader, and it is expected to strengthen recruitment and retention efforts. For example, starting salaries will increase to $54,602 for teachers and $57,646 for police officers and firefighters. In addition, the proposed budget would increase all general government and HCPS minimum salaries to $15 per hour.
Henrico’s personal property tax rate for qualifying vehicles would be reduced permanently to $3.40 per $100 of assessed value, down from the current $3.50. That would save 350,000 account holders a total of $3.6 million in the upcoming year. Officials said while vehicle values have fallen from last year’s peak, they remain higher than they were several years ago.
Overall, the proposed budget would provide $26.3 million in tax relief through the personal property tax rate cut, the real estate tax credit and an expansion of the Real Estate Advantage Program for residents who are at least age 65 or totally and permanently disabled. Tax relief in the current budget totaled $50 million.
“This budget continues to recognize economic pressures on our residents and businesses, particularly those coming about from increased real estate and personal property values, and, once again, provides substantial tax relief,” Hinton said. “Between the proposed budget and the current budget, we will be providing our taxpayers with more than $76 million in tax relief.”
The budget for fiscal 2023-24 proposes a general fund of $1.15 billion, an increase of $91.2 million, or 8.6%, over the current year. More than 78% of the spending would support education and public safety. Other highlights include:
An unchanged real estate tax rate of 85 cents per $100 of assessed value, which was lowered from 87 cents last year and is the lowest of Virginia’s 10 largest localities.
$316.8 million in capital spending, including $114.3 million to initiate the first group of projects from the 2022 bond referendum, which was approved by voters in November. The first phase of bond funding would cover replacement schools for Jackson Davis Elementary and Longan Elementary, construction of the new Environmental Living Center at Wilton Farm, planning for the replacement of Quioccasin Middle School, a new Firehouse 6, road improvements to support the development of Three Chopt Area Park and a first wave of projects to improve drainage and prevent flooding. Additional funding will promote environmental stewardship through land acquisition, stream rehabilitation and other drainage improvement projects.
$30 million from the capital budget for road and pedestrian improvements, which are largely funded through the Central Virginia Transportation Authority. Also included are $15 million for the construction of a new Police South Station in Highland Springs and more than $100 million for water and sewer system improvements, including in the Westwood and Innsbrook areas.
$1.3 million to build a Henrico visitor center at Four Mile Creek.
$2 million to establish the Home Purchase Assistance Program, which will help qualifying county and HCPS employees buy their first home in Henrico. The program will provide forgivable loans of $10,000 to $20,000 based on income and other requirements.
$817.8 million in education funding, including a $650.4 million general fund budget for HCPS. The general fund budget represents an increase of $47.7 million, or 7.9%, over the current budget, and it supports continued implementation of the career ladders program, expansion of the An Achievable Dream Certified Academy to the eighth grade and the equivalent of 50 additional full-time positions.
Increased funding in public safety for 10 additional police officers, 11 additional positions in the Division of Fire for the opening of Nine Mile Road Firehouse 23, two new peer recovery specialists in the Sheriff’s Office and a new director of the Substance Use Division of Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services.
New initiatives to promote economic and community development, with $2 million for neighborhood revitalization projects, $750,000 for the Henrico Investment Program and a position to oversee operations of the Henrico Sports & Events Center, which is scheduled to open this fall.
A utility connection fee “holiday” to promote the construction of hotels and the redevelopment of old hotel sites. County credits would offset the fees typically charged.
$4.3 million to help provide 95-gallon recycling carts to the 90,000 Henrico homes enrolled in the curbside recycling program of the Central Virginia Waste Management Authority.
An additional $500,000 in real estate tax relief through the Real Estate Advantage Program. The maximum amount of relief per household would increase to $3,200, up from $3,000. The total amount of relief provided through the program would increase to $11.5 million.
County Manager John A. Vithoulkas is scheduled to formally present the proposed budget to the Board of Supervisors at its Tuesday, March 14 meeting. A public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 11 in the Board Room at the Henrico County Government Center, 4301 E. Parham Road. The budget is tentatively scheduled for adoption Tuesday, April 25 and would take effect for the year beginning July 1.
For the second consecutive year, Henrico County is proposing to give the owners of residential and business properties a credit on their real estate taxes to help offset rising values.
Property owners would receive an amount equal to 2 cents per $100 of their real estate’s taxable value for 2023. For example, a single-family home with the average assessed value of $367,000 would generate a credit of $73.40. ($367,000/100 x .02=$73.40)
In adopting a similar, 2-cents-per-$100 credit in 2022, Henrico became the first locality in Virginia to return surplus real estate taxes to property owners under a 2005 state law. The proposed credit, like last year’s, would help property owners manage the impact of sharply rising real estate values, which lead to increased assessments. Henrico’s 2023 assessment notices have been mailed, and the updated values are reflected online.
“As we said last year, returning these surplus funds to our taxpayers is the right thing to do,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said. “These revenues were not anticipated in our budget, and their return will not compromise any programs or services. This credit will put extra dollars in our residents’ pockets for everyday expenses, like gasoline or groceries. It’s another example of our commitment to fiscal prudence, and it sends a powerful message on this Valentine’s Day – Henrico is a county with heart.”
Property values have continued to rise across the region due to a sustained demand for and a limited supply of housing. The value of Henrico’s residential tax base, excluding new construction, increased by 13.6% in 2022. Virginia law requires local real estate assessments to reflect 100% of a property’s fair market value.
The average value of a single-family home increased by 13.9%, from $322,200 in 2022 to $367,000 in 2023. At those values, the owner would face an increase in real estate taxes of $381 without tax relief. Under the county’s proposal, the owner would receive a tax credit of $73.40.
If approved, the tax credit would return to property owners $11.2 million that otherwise would go to the county’s general fund. Individual credits of $30 or more would be paid by checks issued in September, just before the mailing of 2023’s second installment real estate tax bills. Amounts less than $30 would be credited directly on those bills.
For property owners who owe delinquent taxes, the credit would be applied to the outstanding balance and to any future bills if the credit exceeds the amount due.
Property owners receiving a credit who pay their taxes through an escrow account – for example, as part of their mortgage – likely would not see their credit reflected until accounts are reconciled later in the year.
The Board of Supervisors will consider the credit this spring during its review of a proposed budget for fiscal 2023-24. The budget, which will be formally presented March 14, will be balanced assuming a real estate tax rate of 85 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Officials continue to closely monitor the housing market and look for signs that recent increases in mortgage rates may lead to a softening of demand that could impact home values and assessments in the future.
GreenCity Partners and ASM Global announced today they have entered into an agreement for the development and operation of the proposed 17,000-seat GreenCity Arena in Henrico County. The venue will be designed for touring concerts, family shows, sports and tournaments, and will be a central feature of the $2.3 billion development.
The agreement also provides for ASM Global to partner in other components of GreenCity, including its main street retail and hospitality uses that developers believe will provide additional district synergies.
ASM Global is the world’s leading venue management company and producer of live event experiences. With over 350 premier venues worldwide, the company has a diverse sports and entertainment portfolio of arenas, stadiums, performing arts centers, theaters and convention centers across five continents.
“What we wanted in an arena development partner is someone that also understood district programming,” GreenCity Partners principal Michael Hallmark said. “The arena may well be the main attraction, but GreenCity is much more.”
Henrico first announced GreenCity in December 2020 as a mixed-use development featuring office, residential, retail and hotel uses designed to high-sustainability standards as an eco-district. The arena is being planned as a net-zero energy project, with additional design features and practices that developers believe will make it the greenest arena in the nation.
“A growing list of touring artists as well as corporate sponsors are viewing climate change action strategies as key factors in their decision process. They can go anywhere. We want them to come here,” Hallmark said. “Developing science-based targets and net-zero goals is just good business.”
“Henrico County is thrilled to welcome ASM Global as another key partner in GreenCity,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Frank J. Thornton, of the Fairfield District. “The company has a stellar record operating hundreds of premier sports and entertainment venues throughout the world, including State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona – the site of yesterday’s Super Bowl LVII. With our Community Development Authority in place and ASM Global added to our all-star team, GreenCity has tremendous momentum and is ready for takeoff.”
The arena construction will be largely paid for by bonds issued through the GreenCity Community Development Authority, which was established by the Henrico Board of Supervisors on Jan. 24. The CDA will be overseen by a separate board. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is expected to lead the underwriting effort.
“Through most of last year, we had been focused on the formation of the CDA and the arena financing,” GreenCity Partners’ Susan Eastridge said. “With the development entitlements in place and development agreements signed with the county, partnering with a world-class arena development and management partner was one of the last remaining pieces to advancing the arena design and construction.”
The arena site, located along Interstate 95 between East Parham Road and Interstate 295, is seen as the best location for a major arena in Virginia.
“We believe this location is optimal within the greater region, as the I-95 corridor connects touring shows from Boston to Miami. It will be a tremendous venue for us as well as Central Virginia,” ASM Executive Vice President of Development Liam Thornton said. “Additionally, the extensive work already done by Henrico County in terms of completing planning approvals, the development agreement and the formation of the CDA demonstrate their track record of successfully partnering with the private sector on consequential projects.”
The mixed-use nature of the development, the creation of a district around the arena and its extensive focus on sustainability standards also were draws for ASM Global.
“It’s a beautiful development plan, impressive at every level,” ASM Global President and CEO Ron Bension said. “GreenCity offers tremendous synergies for the talent we hope to attract as well as the corporate partners we believe will be eager to be a part of this exciting project.”
Design for the arena will be finalized in the fall. Construction is expected to begin in early 2024 with completion in 2026. Images are available courtesy of GreenCity Partners and ASM Global. Watch the announcement.
Henrico County is poised to become the first locality in the region and one of the first in Virginia to have solar panels installed at a closed landfill, which would generate reduced-cost, renewable energy to power a nearby sewage pump station.
Under a proposal approved Jan. 24 by the Board of Supervisors, BrightSuite, a subsidiary of Dominion Energy, would design, install and maintain a 349-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system on about 2 acres at the closed Springfield Road Landfill, 10600 Fords Country Lane in western Henrico.
In addition to leasing the site for $1 per year, Henrico would purchase the electricity generated by the solar array to provide up to 100% of the power needed to operate the Allen’s Branch Sewage Pump Station. By allowing the county to receive a lower rate, the arrangement would save taxpayers an estimated $600,000 to $700,000 on electricity costs over the 30-year lease term. If approved, the system would likely become operational by spring 2025.
“Installing solar panels at the closed Springfield Road Landfill makes sense in every respect,” said Supervisor Tommy M. Branin, whose Three Chopt District includes the landfill. “It benefits the environment by capturing renewable energy from the sun and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. It creates a good use for land that cannot be developed. It also serves taxpayers, because we’ll pay nothing to build or operate the system, and we’ll buy electricity at a discount. I applaud BrightSuite for partnering with us to advance Henrico’s Go Green initiative while also continuing to protect the landfill’s liner systems and environment.”
At the Board of Supervisors retreat last January, Branin urged officials with the county and Dominion Energy to investigate ways to use the Springfield Road Landfill as a potential site for solar panels. The partnership is Dominion Energy’s first landfill project with a locality in the region. While solar panel systems have been installed at capped landfills in other states, officials said they are aware of only several other places in Virginia – including in Fairfax and Albemarle counties – where solar panels may be placed at a landfill.
“Henrico’s agreement with BrightSuite underscores our county’s commitment to being a leader on the environment,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said. “I applaud the Board of Supervisors for continuing to challenge and inspire us to innovate and do more in this realm. Solar power is a significant part of our future, and it delivers great value for our taxpayers.”
“We are excited to partner with Henrico County on this innovative solar project at the Springfield Road Landfill, the first of its kind in the region between a locality and Dominion Energy,” said Joe Woomer, Dominion Energy’s vice president of new business and customer solutions. “This project closely aligns with Dominion Energy’s vision of becoming the most sustainable energy company in the country, while helping the county grow its use of renewable energy and enhance its environmental stewardship.”
Dominion Energy, through BrightSuite, provides sustainable energy solutions for homes and businesses. With nearly 25 megawatts of rooftop and ground-mounted solar systems in operation, BrightSuite is one of the top solar providers in the Commonwealth.
The 191-acre Springfield Road Landfill operated as a municipal landfill from the late 1960s to 2014. It currently serves as one of the county’s two public use areas, which receive household and yard waste as well as recyclables for transport offsite. Since 2010, a 4-megawatt generator has captured methane gas produced by the landfill and converted it into electricity that is exported to the utility grid for sale.
The Springfield Road Landfill would become Henrico’s seventh county-owned site with a solar photovoltaic system. Through the county’s partnership with BrightSuite, rooftop solar systems have been installed at the Public Safety Building, Highland Springs High School, Holladay Elementary School and J.R. Tucker High School. The county also has solar systems at the Libbie Mill Library and Mental Health East Center.
Similar systems are planned at the Division of Recreation & Parks’ administration building, Fairfield Area Library and five schools: Glen Allen High, Holman Middle, Colonial Trail Elementary, Harvie Elementary and Kaechele Elementary. In addition, a ground-mounted system is under design for the James River Juvenile Detention Center campus. With each system, Henrico pays no capital or ongoing maintenance costs, and it buys electricity at negotiated rates that are competitive with those available through utility grid systems.
Please click below to view the Henrico State of the County Address. The State of the County is an annual update on Henrico County’s economic and fiscal status, development, projects, and community services. This presentation is given by the County Manager to business associations, community organizations, and attendees of magisterial district town hall meetings throughout the county.
Henrico voters’ resounding approval of a $511 million bond referendum last week is evidence of a “strong feedback loop” that keeps the county in sync with the community’s needs, County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said in his annual State of the County address.
The four questions’ average approval rate of 87% represents the highest level of support ever recorded in Henrico referendums dating to 1953, he said. It also exceeds what other localities received on similar ballot initiatives as part of the Nov. 8 general election.
“I want to thank you all that voted and thank you for helping us bring forward projects that meet our community’s needs,” Vithoulkas said. “This is an example of what President Lincoln referred to in his Gettysburg Address of a ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people.’”
Henrico will soon start work on more than 20 capital projects that will be funded over the next six to eight years “depending on the economy,” he said. The projects will improve schools, parks, fire stations and other public safety facilities and drainage.
The speech Wednesday to about 150 business leaders, officials and others at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa in Short Pump highlighted scores of accomplishments and updates across service areas, including:
Vithoulkas said the county’s feedback loop with the community – the constant listening and engagement with residents, business leaders and others – is essential to Henrico’s sustained success.
“We engage our community – our customers – and ask what they want. Then, we plan and ultimately deliver,” he said. “In doing so, we establish a trust that strengthens over time.”