Whereas, vacant land east of Interstate Route 664, bordering on Streeter Creek wetlands, adjacent to the Virginia Department of Transportation's Marrimac-Monitor Maintenance yard, served by Armistead Road, Virginia Route 810, extending over Interstate Route 664 from a campus of Tidewater Community College is owned by the Commonwealth and could be set aside to both further the educational, environmental, and recreational purposes of state government and also promote regional cooperation in the Hampton Roads area; and
Whereas, Virginia would benefit from a state-sponsored museum that could serve as a center for environmental awareness, employing adjacent Streeter Creek wetlands for instructional purposes; and
Whereas, Virginia would benefit from a state-sponsored museum focusing on the events of the American Civil War, featuring the 1863 clash of ironclad warships in the Battle of Hampton Roads, and serving educational, historic, and tourist attraction purposes; and
Whereas, an office building jointly housing headquarters of the Hampton Roads Planning District and the Hampton Roads Sanitation District on this central site would serve to foster regional cooperation from this highly accessible site, located on the Interstate Route 664/Interstate Route 64 Beltway; and
Whereas, urban intensification and population growth along the Interstate Route 664 Beltway will produce demands for public access to the James River by means of a state waterfront park providing fishing and boating access to the waterfront; now, therefore,
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
1. § 1. Until July 1, 2003, the Governor shall retain in the name of the Commonwealth title to all 100 acres, more or less, of land and wetlands along Streeter Creek and the James River immediately east of Interstate Route 664.
§ 2. The Governor shall prepare plans by which the Commonwealth may develop or cosponsor construction of this site as an office building/museum complex, an environmental awareness center, and a state waterfront park.
§ 3. The Governor shall submit plans for the development of this site to the City of Suffolk for review and comment; any objections raised by the City shall be reviewed by the Governor and responded to publicly.
§ 4. The Governor may accept any contributions to development of this site for educational, recreational, and environmental purposes.
§ 5. Using funds appropriated for development of educational facilities and museums, the Governor may proceed with plans for an environmental awareness center and a museum dedicated to the role of maritime forces during the American Civil War, when Hampton Roads was a major battlefield.
§ 6. The Governor shall seek an arrangement whereby an environmental awareness museum and a Civil War museum should be housed under a single roof, along with headquarters of the Hampton Roads Planning District and the Hampton Roads Sanitation District, if their respective commissions agree to become parties to carrying out the Governor's plan.
§ 7. The overall complex shall be designated "Number One Hampton Roads," the office/museum complex shall be designated the "Mills Godwin Regional Environmental Center," and the state open space/recreational complex as "Beasley Memorial Park."
§ 8. The Governor may call upon agencies of the state government to assist in preparing and carrying forth this plan and apply appropriations to "Number One Hampton Roads" as authorized by the General Assembly. The Governor shall render an annual report on the progress of this endeavor and outline ways in which the General Assembly and the public may assist in attaining the goals contained in this act.