View of wooden pier from inside pergola.

Colonial Beach Looks Back And Forward

A Growing & Evolving Riverside Community: Colonial Beach Reflects on Town’s Recent Achievements and Shares Future Goals

The Town of Colonial Beach nestled on the Potomac River in the Northern Neck region, highlighted key milestones achieved over the past year as it undergoes an economic development renaissance and revitalization phase for the popular riverside community.

The town, which has a rich and colorful maritime history and has the second-longest public beach in Virginia, outlined this year several focus areas for the community to continue to improve the quality of life for town’s residents and the destination experience for visitors and tourists. Focus areas range from infrastructure enhancements, operational efficiencies, and laying groundwork on future initiatives.


A Look Back – Town Wins

Town-wide Infrastructure Improvements

Central Drainage Area Project – Town Council approved over $2 million dollars in federal funds, known as the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), to fix the drainage and storm-water issues in the Central Drainage Area, which includes a large portion of our downtown from Colonial Ave to Boundary Street. This entire project is fully funded by federal funds, in which no local tax money was utilized for this project. The Town contracted with engineering firm Dewberry & Associates, who have been investigating and studying this over for the last year. The drainage issues have been identified for nearly 30 years, and the funding will fix several issues related to outdated sewer and water lines. This project is set to break ground in early 2023 and will be a major jump start in fixing other infrastructure issues throughout the town.

Water and Sewer Improvements – The Town was a recipient of $5.7M funding allocation by the state to help support several necessary water and sewer improvement projects in the town.

Robin Grove Living Shoreline Project – The town received grant funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to prevent shoreline erosion, improve water quality, preserve marshland, and improve habitat for fish and wildlife at Robin Grove on Monroe Bay. The project involved the installation of rip-rap sills, oyster shell walls, and planting vegetation in the .3-acre project site to achieve the above goals. The Town partnered with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) to produce designs and Resource Environmental Solutions executed the construction phase of the project.

North Beach Project – As part of the legislative agenda process, the Town Manager’s Office and Department of Public Works has worked with the Baltimore District Army Corp of Engineers on an erosion project on North Beach. (between Maryland and Virginia Avenue)

The project would be an extension of a collaboration between the Town and the Army Corp of Engineers in the 1980s which saw rip-rap bulkheads installed that have successfully protected our beaches for decades. This project is currently being assessed by the Army Corp of Engineers. The Town anticipates being notified if the project will receive federal funding by the end of 2022.


Financial Impact

Improved Town Budget Process & Fiscal Policies – the Town engaged with Davenport & Finance to assist with restructuring the town’s debt which saved over $260k over the course of loans. With the help Davenport & Finance, they collaborated with Town Manager’s Office and Finance Department to adopt the town’s first financial policies ahead of the last budget process. In addition, town staff created the first budget in brief and produced a budget a month and a half ahead of the state mandated schedule.

Planning Commission & Town Council Improve Capital Improvement Plan Process  – This year the town launched a new CIP process that collaborated with Planning Commission members and all town departments to plan for the town’s most critical infrastructure projects in alignment with the Town’s Comprehensive and Strategic Plans.

The CIP fund is only used for capital improvement projects.  Revenue for this fund is obtained from federal or state grants, a transfer from the General Fund, sale of town owned property or bond issuance.

Economic Development

● Economic development initiatives were front and center this year with several key milestones and projects taking place in this arena. The Town installed new beach signage that identify specific areas of the beachfront, supporting emergency services response and pedestrian way-finding. In addition, the town was awarded $32,500 from the VA Department of Housing and Community Development to improve way-finding signage throughout the town.

● Representatives of the Town and Downtown Colonial Beach attended the National Main Street Conference in Richmond. Downtown Colonial Beach is collaborating with the Town to become a fully designated Main Street, which will increase grant opportunities and demonstrate Colonial Beach’s business-friendly environment. As part of this partnership, the Town has received an ABC Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area license, which will allow customers to consume alcoholic beverages while they enjoy the outdoors in the downtown and boardwalk area at designated times.


Public Safety/Police

Guardian Score Launch

Colonial Beach was one of four localities in the Commonwealth of Virginia to pilot a program called Guardian Score that provides the community an opportunity to provide meaningful & verified feedback about individual police officer behavior’ allowing for police supervisors to evaluate officer performance more holistically.

During an interaction with an officer, the officer hands you a Guardian Score card with a QR code, the individual scans the QR code and fills out a brief anonymous survey about officer’s performance in which data is immediately available to police supervisors.

Since the launch of the program the police department has an overall rating of 4.8 out of 5.0.

Government Performance & Operations

Technology Refresh – The town underwent a variety of technology upgrades to help better enhance user experience and engagement such as a new website, the migration to SharePoint cloud technology from outdated servers, to upgrading the online business licenses process, resulting in the increased issuance of licenses and enhanced compliance with local regulations.

New Town Hires – The Town continues to recruit and retain professional staff to support the surrounding needs of the community. Within the last year, the Town welcomed a new Chief of Police Greg Deaver, Director of Public Works, Diane Beyer and part-time Economic Development Manager, Kelly Evko.


“I would like to thank our state and federal partners that work with the town on a variety of initiatives to better our community.

In partnership with our town staff, all have worked daily to improve the lives of those in the Town of Colonial Beach.”

Colonial Beach Mayor Robin Schick

“Focusing on and improving some critical infrastructure needs for our town were a top priority this year.

In order to help increase and enhance the quality of life for our town’s residents and visitors, some key projects and efficiencies needed to be addressed to set us up for future success as a community.

We are proud of what has been accomplished for Colonial Beach this year and look forward to continuing to work to further strengthen our local economy and enhance the quality of life for our town’s residents.”

Town Manager India Adams-Jacobs

What’s Next for Colonial Beach?

Future Goals – The town has on deck several initiatives and projects scheduled to roll-out later this year and into 2023. Examples include the North Beach Erosion Project, ongoing work on the Central Drainage Area project, to public safety improvements to the development of a parks master plan.

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About Colonial Beach:

Colonial Beach, located at the northern tip of Virginia’s Northern Neck, is one of the few remaining small seaport towns on the Potomac River.

The town enjoys a unique location nestled between the Potomac River on the east and the waters of Monroe Bay on the West.

Its sandy beaches and marinas on Monroe Bay have attracted water sporting enthusiasts for over a century. Fishing, sailing, boating, swimming and crabbing are just a few of the water activities enjoyed here.

A great place to visit. Colonial Beach is also a very historical area, with Washington’s Birthplace and Stratford Hall boyhood home of Lee, also Westmoreland County is the birthplace of James Monroe.

The small river town was in its heyday during the 40’s & 50’s and there’s a renaissance happening. To learn more about the town click here.

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