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Issue 176

Friday, August 25, 2023

Prince William County

Dear Neighbors,

Over the past three and a half years, numerous remarkable projects have advanced. Today, I'd like to draw your attention to one project that I'm particularly grateful to have helped along: the Americans in Wartime Experience. Many years in the making, this “museum” of sorts will ultimately be located down Dale Boulevard behind the At Home store (Chair's Calendar issue 165). The aerial picture from November 2022 below outlines the grading work progress as of that date. Things have moved along since then. You can learn more about the future site here.

The Americans in Wartime Experience, poised to be a wonderful addition situated ideally between the National Museum of the United States Army in Fort Belvoir and the National Museum of the Marine Corp in Quantico, has the momentum to finally come to fruition. I encourage anyone with time this weekend to visit the Tank Farm festival in Nokesville (see County Happenings section below for details) which is the Americans in Wartime Experience home base at the moment until the new location is completed.

It's inspiring to witness the collaborative effort and dedication that is propelling this project forward. The passion of those involved is evident, and it will have an impact on preserving and sharing the rich history of our nation's military heritage. As we look ahead to its completion, let's celebrate the strides taken and anticipate the valuable contributions it will undoubtedly make to our community and the understanding of our history. Enjoy, donate, and spread the word that this great facility is making Prince William County its home.

In Service,

Chair Ann Wheeler

Chair's Calendar

Community Back-to-School Event

Saturday, August 12, Chair Wheeler attended the Prince William County Community Foundation (Chair's Calendar issue 129) Community Back-to-School Day at Freedom High School in Woodbridge. Over 2-days, the event served almost 6,000 community members and distributed nearly 2,500 backpacks filled with school supplies. 

Park Rededication

Tuesday, August 15, Chair Wheeler's Office attended the Marumsco Acre Lake Park Rededication Ceremony. Through funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and rigor from the Americans with Disabilities Act, Marumsco Park has been transformed. PWC Department of Parks and Recreation Director, Seth Hendler-Voss (right in photo) and Woodbridge Magisterial District Supervisor Margaret Franklin were joined by Parks staff (bottom left photo) and area residents for the event.

You can find the July 31, 2023, PWC State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Report, including ARPA spending, here. The Marumsco project is on page 16.

Additions/improvements to the park include:  

  • Repairs and new additional sidewalks  
  • Parking lot paving  
  • Curbs  
  • Storm water drainage  
  • New playground  
  • New dock for fishing with ramp for wheelchair accessibility  

Regional Summit

Tuesday, August 22, Chair Wheeler served on a panel at the Northern Virginia Regional Elected Leaders Summit, an annual event that offers business leaders the opportunity to hear from local elected leaders about the economic climate in the region, initiatives they have completed or are undertaking to foster economic growth, and their thoughts on how jurisdictions can work together to improve our regional economy. U.S. Senator Mark Warner closed the event providing an optimistic perspective on work being done at the federal level to strengthen the region.

Chair Wheeler always welcomes the opportunity to speak about PWC's 3 types of major business incentive approaches aimed to aide recruitment, retention, and expansion of targeted economic development projects:

  • Economic Development Opportunity Fund Grants: Cash grants based on prior negotiated performance agreement.
  • Targeted Industry Status: 50% reduction in permit review time & 50% reduction in site permitting fees only as well as a dedicated Development Services Project Manager.
  • County Owned Land at Innovation: Land price attainability at $6.00 per square foot and dedicated sale proceeds may be used to reinvest into project related infrastructure.

Welcoming Ceremony

Wednesday, August 23, Chair Wheeler spoke at the welcoming ceremony for the Leadership Prince William Signature Class of 2024 (Congratulations issue 34). The orientation session introduced the class to dignitaries, alumni, and each other. Additionally, there was a presentation on the Signature Program details, including the Opening Retreat on the Mountain. There is still room in this class if anyone is interested!


Friday, August 25, Chair Wheeler attended a luncheon and preview tour of the Americans in Wartime Experience Tank Farm Open House.

Learn about this weekend's annual Open House in the County Happenings section below.

Next Meeting

The BOCS is in August recess. The first BOCS meeting after recess will be Tuesday, September 12, at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm.

Links to the agenda and to register to participate in Public Comment Time remotely will be shared in issue prior to the meeting.

County News

Calling all Animal Lovers

Thanks to the support of the Prince William SPCA, this year’s PWC Animal Services Bureau's Clear the Shelters event will be Friday, August 25 through Sunday, August 27. Adoption fees will be waived for dogs and cats one year old or older. Dogs and cats under one year will have their adoption fees reduced to $20. All adoption fees for other animals, such as rabbits, birds, and other small domestic animals will also be waived. See animals available for adoption here.

Comment Period Closing Soon

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is proposing updates to the Flood Insurance Rate Map for PWC. Before the maps become final, residents and business owners have through Tuesday, September 5, to review the updated maps on the County's website and identify any corrections or questions about the information provided and submit appeals or comments. Learn more about the process here.

Digital Gateway Hearing

The proposed PW Digital Gateway (special issue) rezoning, along the Pageland corridor, is currently scheduled to be heard by the BOCS on November 21, 2023. The applicants requested the hearing after the Virginia and County one-year limitations on processing zoning applicants expired, which was in July for this project. Before the Board hears the case, the applicant must continue addressing the staff comments they have received during the year-long rezoning process and it must be heard by the Planning Commission, which is not yet scheduled.


November 2, 2022, the BOCS passed a motion approving the Comprehensive Plan Amendment #CPA2021-00004, PW Digital Gateway. The Land Use chapter of the County's Comprehensive Plan now includes this amendment and allows the area to be used for technology.

Regional Transportation News

A 10-mile extension of the 95 Express Lanes from just south of Route 610 (Garrisonville Road) to near Route 17 (Warrenton Road) in Stafford County has opened. Travelers can use VDOT interactive online map for a virtual drive-thru experience and to find the best route to your destination. If you plan to use the 95 Express Lanes, you will need to have a funded E-ZPass transponder. If you travel with more than 2 people in your vehicle, consider an E-ZPass Flex transponder. Visit E-ZPass VA to learn more.

Coming In Late 2023

Additional access points to and from the Express Lanes near Marine Corps Base Quantico and Courthouse Road will open in late 2023. Following the reopening of the I-95 general-purpose lanes from exits 130 to 133 in late 2023, local traffic seeking to enter the northbound Express Lanes will use a new flyover ramp near Route 17.

Expanded Service

OmniRide Saturday Service for Manassas area routes and mobility services starts Friday, August 26. Hop aboard a Local Manassas North (65N), Manassas South/Manassas Park (67), OmniRide Connect Microtransit, and OmniRide Access paratransit to get you where you want to go. This Weekend Service, in addition to Local and Metro Express service, is ZERO FARE.  

Additional Service

The East-West Express (96) will also run on Saturdays so you can hop aboard and connect to eastern PWC. 

View all OmniRide schedules, including Saturday, here.

Open House

Thursday, August 31, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Creating Foundations For Hope (CFH) is inviting the public to an Open House with light refreshments at its new location at 7702 Donegan Drive in Manassas. The nonprofit empowers individuals and families to successfully create a sustainable home through a range of services including security deposit, down payment, senior emergency assistance, and more. Learn about the work CFH does in the video below.

Running for a Good Cause

Registration is open for the 6th Annual CFH 5k Run-Walk for Affordable Housing. The live race will be on Sunday, October 8, at Occoquan Regional Park and kicks off a virtual race that runs through Sunday, October 22. Learn more and how to get involved here.

Grant Application Window is Open

Sentara Cares is accepting grant applications through Friday, September 1. Sentara provides competitive grants for organizations working to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities through programs. A list of the many organizations that received Sentara Cares grant funding in 2022 can be found here. Learn more and how to apply here.

If You are Considering Applying

While proposals outside its focus areas will be considered, aligning with one or more funding priorities below is strongly encouraged:

  • Housing
  • Skilled Careers
  • Food Security
  • Behavioral Health
  • Community Engagement

"Pulling" for a Special Cause

Saturday, September 9, from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm, the PWC Police Department (PWCPD) will once again participate in the annual Dulles Day at Dulles Airport to help raise money for Special Olympics Virginia. The event will include the plane pull, aircraft and auto exhibits, food trucks, and a “Kids Zone” activities area. See the event details here and donate to Special Olympics on behalf of the PWCPD here.

Holiday Hours

In Observance of Labor Day PWC:

  • Government Offices and the Circuit Court Clerk's Office will be closed Monday, September 4.
  • Public Libraries will be closed Saturday, September 2, through Monday, September 4.
  • Landfill and Balls Ford Compost Facility will close at 2:00 pm.

The Public is Invited to Attend Annual Event

County Kudos

Making a big Difference in the Lives of Children

PWC recently won two Virginia Association of Counties (VACO) Achievement Awards, which recognize excellence in local government programs. One was for establishing its Child Advocacy Center (CAC), and the other for its Gun Safety Program. A total of thirty-three awards were given out of 135 submissions. You can read the CAC submission here and the Gun Safety Program submission here.

The CAC model is a nationally recognized method that supports a seamless, effective, trauma-informed response to child abuse allegations, investigations, and prosecutions. The model also emphasizes coordination and collaboration with partner agencies with a goal of avoiding re-traumatization of children during the investigative process. In addition, it allows for services to be more efficient, victim access to occur more quickly, and yields $1,000 estimated tax savings per investigation.

PWC’s CAC is unique in that it is situated within DSS on government property. It has state-of-the-art technology that connects law enforcement and the Commonwealth Attorney, in real time, during forensic interviews with child survivors of abuse and/or neglect to gather evidence for prosecutions.

As of June 2023, since opening its doors in April 2022 (Chair's Calendar issue 113) the CAC has:

  • Conducted 388 forensic interviews.
  • Reviewed 401 cases by the multidisciplinary team.
  • Secured 1,921 advocacy-related appointments and services.
  • Conducted 420 mental health sessions.

The Prince William Sheriff’s Office created its Gun Safety Program in 2016 in collaboration with Project Child Safe and the Virginia Cooperative Extension. The program teaches children steps they can take to keep themselves and others safe if they find a gun at home, outdoors, or in someone else’s home. It supplements the “Safe at Home, Safe Alone” program taught in fourth-grade classes across the state.

Initially only taught in the County’s public schools, it was so well received that private and traditional schools began offering the gun safety education in the 2022-23 school year. The program reaches 4,000 to 5,000 fourth-grade students annually with a 30- to 45-minute presentation along with videos, a group discussion, and brochures.

The fourth graders in the program sign a Firearms Responsibility Contract to reinforce the classroom instruction that reads:

"I hereby promise I will not handle firearms without permission. I will never play with firearms. If I find a firearm, I will not touch it; I will tell an adult immediately. I will obey the rules of safe firearms handling."

County Happenings

Traveling Exhibit

The CAF RISE ABOVE® Tuskegee Airmen and Women Airforce Service Pilots Traveling Exhibit will be at the Manassas Regional Airport through Sunday, August 27, 10:00 am through 5:00 pm. It is a unique opportunity to learn the inspiring story while being immersed in a theatrical experience. In addition, the Red Tail P-51C Mustang will be on display. The highly recognizable and rare aircraft is one of only four like it still flying. Learn more about the free exhibit here.

About the Squadron

CAF RISE ABOVE Squadron is an educational outreach program that brings the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen and Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) to life in communities and classrooms. Working with and having the support of many original Tuskegee Airmen and WASP, has led to the establishment of its Six Guiding Principles below, which serve as the foundation of its educational program.

Aim High

Believe in Yourself

Use Your Brain

Be Ready to Go

Never Quit

Expect to Win

Annual Open House

Saturday, August 26, and Sunday, August 27, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Americans in Wartime Experience is hosting its annual Tank Farm Open House in Nokesville. Over 50 vehicles will be on display, an additional dozen demonstrated, and over a hundred living historians will help bring it all to life. The family-friendly event will also include K9 demonstrations, children’s activities, food vendors, flame thrower demonstrations, and more. The Voices of Freedom will be conducting interviews throughout the weekend. 

Animal Services Event

September 9, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, PWC Parks, Recreation, and Tourism is hosting Trails and Tails. The free community event in support of the PWC Animal Services Bureau will be at the Chinn Aquatic and Fitness Center in Woodbridge. Stop by anytime to meet lovable and adoptable dogs. While there, you can take one for a stroll on the paved trail through the forest around the Fitness Center. Registration is recommended.

Pet Food Drive

In conjunction with the event, a pet food drive is being held from Saturday, September 2, through Saturday, September 9. Donations of food or treats can be dropped off at the Chinn Fitness Center or the PWC Animal Services Bureau located at 14807 Bristow Road in Manassas. Both canned and bagged donations will be accepted, but must be unopened.

More Furbaby Fun

Saturday, September 9, 9:00 am to 12 noon, bring your well behaved four-legged friend to the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism's annual Pooch Plunge at Veteran's Memorial Park. The pool has a graduated entry so dogs can easily enter and exit on their own. Concessions will be available. Balls and frisbees available for play.

Important Details

Owners must provide written proof from a veterinarian showing their dog's current rabies vaccination (a dog tag is NOT sufficient). No female dogs in season please. Dogs must be 6 months or older. Limit 2 dogs per handler (person). Handler must be 16 years or older. People swimming is NOT permitted during this time.

Celebrating the Arts

Sunday, September 10, from 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm, Arts Alive! 2023 will be held at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. The annual community arts festival is produced jointly by the PWC Arts CouncilDepartment of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, and the Hylton Performing Arts Center. The event is free and does not require obtaining an advance ticket.

Jam packed with festivities throughout the day, the event includes:

  • Live performances and exhibits by local artists and organizations.
  • Visual art on display and for purchase.
  • Local authors reading and selling their work.
  • Hands-on activities and live demonstrations for all ages.
  • Food and beverages available for purchase.
  • Classes and workshops

See the full schedule (draft) here.

Helpful PWC Links

Ann B. Wheeler was elected Chair At-Large of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors during the 2019 General Election and assumed office on January 1, 2020. Prince William County is located 25 miles south of Washington, D.C., and is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s second-most populous county with approximately 482,000 residents. 
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