August 10, 2020
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA — This week the Virginia Association of Counties, or VACo, named Chesterfield County as the recipient of three 2020 Achievement Awards, including one of the program’s highest recognitions, the “Best Large County Achievement Award.” The county leads the VACo all-time achievement list with 35 awards, earning at least one award annually since the program’s inception.
The VACo Achievement Awards highlights innovative programs focused on addressing high-priority issues that challenge counties today. This year, the county received three awards recognizing the Access On Demand program, the First Responders and Multicultural CommUNITY Cup and the county’s coordinated local implementation of The Basics. These awards come on the heels of Chesterfield receiving the Best Achievement Award in 2019 and Best Large County Achievement Award in 2017 and 2018.
“I’m pleased that our hard work was recognized, particularly the launch of Access On Demand,” said Dr. Joe Casey, county administrator. “Chesterfield is constantly striving to serve our citizens even better through innovative programs and initiatives like the ones being recognized. Chesterfield remains committed to building relationships with our community and bettering the lives of our citizens.”
“VACo awards represent much more than the services or programs they profile,” Board of Supervisors Chair Leslie Haley said. “They symbolize a spirit of teamwork, collaboration and innovation that is continually setting the bar higher for the sake of our community.”
Chesterfield County’s Access On Demand program won this year’s Best Large County Achievement Award among Virginia counties with a population greater than 50,000. A judge on the awards panel said the program scored high because of its “innovative approach to solving a problem.”
Access On Demand began on May 1, 2019, offering same day, door-to-door, direct-to-destination transportation service. Registered county residents who either have a disability, live in a low-income household, or who are over the age of 60 can travel anywhere in the county with just two hours’ notice. In addition to Chesterfield County, travel is available to Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Ft. Lee, Hopewell, Richmond and parts of Henrico County. The cost is $6 per car for a one-way trip. The remainder of the cost is covered by the county. The county contracts with four qualified providers, offering different niches to meet the needs of its riders. Access On Demand was created as an enhancement to a service that Chesterfield County was already providing, Access Chesterfield. Since its inception, the program has provided over 23,500 trips. Estimates for FY20 indicate a 25% increase in trips over FY19.
Chesterfield’s First Responders and Multicultural CommUNITY Cup also was recognized with a VACo Achievement Award. The First Responders and Multicultural CommUNITY Cup was a regional partnership among Chesterfield and Henrico counties, the City of Richmond and the Virginia State Police. The event brought the communities together for a day of soccer, community building, family activities and opportunities to interact with each other. Soccer teams consisted of members from the multicultural community and first responders who played in a tournament. One goal of the CommUNITY Cup was to educate the multicultural community about the roles of public safety officials. Additionally, the event provided an opportunity for the groups to communicate in a relaxed atmosphere.
The county’s Coordinated Local Government Implementation of “The Basics” was the third program to receive a VACo Achievement Award. Twelve local county agencies, including the school system, worked collaboratively to promote The Basics, which consists of five clusters of parenting and caregiving behaviors that encompass what most experts find important in boosting cognitive and social-emotional development of children from birth to age 3. County agencies promoted The Basics through strategies including print materials, videos, media, social media, care giver education, parent workshops, playgroups, toolkits, 1:1 citizen interaction and partnerships with child care and health care providers. The Chesterfield Basics implementation team works closely with a Greater Richmond Regional Basics steering committee which has promoted the Chesterfield implementation blueprint as a model for other local governments.
VACo will present the awards to the county at an upcoming Board of Supervisors meeting.