Each year the Virginia Municipal League receives nominations for its annual Innovation Awards, and each year the City of Williamsburg selects projects and initiatives that exemplify the innovative and thoughtful work that we aspire to each day.
We are excited to announce that the City of Williamsburg won the 2023 Innovation Award in the category of Communications for the Future Festivals, our innovative approach to gaining public input into the City's strategic plan. This is the third consecutive year the City has won an Innovation Award. The City won the award in the category of Risk Management in 2021 and 2022 for its drive-thru voting system and its Reserve Protection budget strategy, respectively. The City also won the President’s Award for its Reserve Protection budget strategy last year.
This year, we wanted to share all our nominations with the public. We are proud of our work to provide the residents, visitors, students, and workers of Williamsburg innovative services that improve quality of life.
The programs and initiatives below are only a few examples of the many City of Williamsburg projects worthy of statewide recognition.
Future Festivals – WINNER
Attendees of eight Future Festivals played games designed to gather feedback that would inform the development of the GIO document. To encourage attendance, the city implemented an extensive communication plan through news releases, videos, and recurring and varied social media promotions. Also, Williamsburg police officers delivered fliers in the neighborhoods located near an upcoming Future Festival in the days ahead of the event. More than 900 people attended Future Festivals, and more than 700 answered a GIO-related survey, resulting in more comprehensive data from a more diverse participant pool than ever before.
Fire Station Lease with York Co.
Category: Community Health
Williamsburg and York County agreed to reuse a former joint facility – previously used as a group home – that is owned by Williamsburg but located in York County near the Richmond Road corridor as a seventh fire station in York County. The City offered the site using a long-term lease with a one-time payment at a submarket rate ($200,000 for a 40-year lease), acknowledging the benefit of enhanced mutual aid response times in the Richmond Road corridor for the City and James City County.
Public Art Council Strategic Plan
Category: Economic Development
While many communities have formed boards to oversee their art programs, the City took an innovative approach to Williamsburg Public Art Council's makeup, mission, and funding. Made up of two at-large members and representatives from six different Williamsburg boards and commissions, WPAC is facilitating and progressing several strategic initiatives outlined in the City's Goals, Initiatives, and Outcomes. The City's public art funding model allocates 1% of the City's Capital Improvement Plan for City-funded public art and is renewed every year.
Temporary Fire Station
Category: Public Safety
Because a new fire station was being built on the same property as the former station, the City of Williamsburg had to develop a plan to maintain the continuity of operations while remaining within budgeted funds for the new station project. Instead of building temporary facilities, at an average cost of up to $2.5 million, the City decided to repurpose existing City infrastructure for a total of approximately $200,000. Repurposed facilities include the conversion of a break room to serve as a dayroom, conversion of the Municipal Building's third floor for sleeping quarters, and the construction of a temporary tent as a additional bay space.
Resident Cybersecurity Training
Category: Risk Management
The City of Williamsburg partnered with KnowBe4, a cybersecurity industry leader and the City's provider for this type of employee training, to offer the Resident Cybersecurity Training. This training is tailored for residents and can be taken at no cost to them. This program won the 2023 Solutions Award from CompTIA and the Public Technology Institute.
The City of Williamsburg has developed two paid internship programs that focus interns on specific initiatives within the City's strategic plan.
Manager's Rotation: Interns rotate weekly among the departments to do the daily work while balancing the work required to complete a management-level project that is pulled directly from the GIOs.
City Research Scholars: In partnership with the William & Mary Charles Center, the City offers a mentored research experience for interns to research best practices, existing similar programs, and potential pitfalls for specific strategic goals set by City Council.
Sign up for email alerts to job listings with the City Manager's Office to learn when a new internship opportunity is posted.