Business View Civil and Municipal | May 2021

125 CIVIL AND MUNICIPAL MAY 2021 NEW KENT COUNTY , V I RGINI A southeast. Smolnik adds, “It’s just an easy fit and we feel that’s our bread and butter. Here’s the thing about New Kent: we’re an emerging community. I challenge anyone to find a 300- acre site on the interstate between the Port of Virginia and the I-95 corridor. That’s New Kent County and we’re real excited about it.” Another exciting benefit is the county’s close proximity to the Richmond International Airport. Only a 12-minute drive away, residents then can access both domestic and overseas travel. There’s also the New Kent County Airport for private, commercial, and corporate use. Although nice to have, our local airport isn’t an essential piece of the economic puzzle on its own. In order to prepare the County for commercial and industrial growth, in 2008-2009 the county rezoned thousands of acres to maximize Roads, New Kent is convenient yet modern. “We emphasize quality of life. Where else in the commonwealth can you find Virginia’s only thoroughbred horseracing track? Or a winery and golf course for every 6,000 residents? Or the Chickahominy, Pamunkey and York Rivers? We are a progressive, very fast-growing, and forward-thinking community.” New Kent County is comprised of different areas, such as Quinton, Talleysville, Providence Forge and Barhamsville – each with its own identity. Not everyone says, ‘I’m from New Kent.’ They may say, ‘I’m from Quinton or I’m from Barhamsville.’ Each place has its own special niche. As Smolnik explains, “Each area has its own feel, but we all are New Kent together.” The county makes the most of its central location between the historic cities of Richmond and Williamsburg. For example, many families ‘migrate out’ to their city jobs before returning home to New Kent each night. Smolnik estimates about two-thirds of the community has a 30-minute work commute. As the area’s Economic Developer, he proactively attracts businesses to the area so residents can enjoy a 10-minute drive instead. It’s working, but there is still more work to be done. Some of the largest employers in the County are Colonial Downs and Rosie’s Gaming Emporium, New Kent County Public Schools (NKCPS), the New Kent County Government, wineries, and even local contractors. In terms of industry, New Kent is ideal as a distribution, logistics, manufacturing, and warehousing center. “That’s our target audience,” says Smolnik. “The Port of Virginia is the deepest port on the east coast and is the only east coast port that can accommodate the largest ships passing through the Panama Canal.” Being on the interstate between the Port of Virginia and the I-95 corridor allows for easy distribution of goods to the highly populated areas of the country, including the northeast, mid-west and