New city manager is Williamsburg's top story

svaughan@vagazette.com

Editor's note: There was no lacking for big stories in the Williamsburg area this past year. Politics, tourism and electrical power were among some of the mostly hotly debated topics among readers.

The Gazette's staff has put together a series of stories outlining the top stories of 2015. We will then take a look at the stories we expect to see in the upcoming year in the Saturday, Jan. 2 edition.

WILLIAMSBURG — While James City County had a feisty election season and the country revved up for a hard-fought presidential year, Williamsburg's political climate was calm in 2015. Still there was plenty of news to go around. Here are some of the top stories from this past year:

After 24 years, Jack Tuttle stepped down as Williamsburg city manager. After a nationwide search, that drew more than 50 applicants, City Council chose Marvin Collins.

Collins has previously served as the assistant city manager of Fort Myers, Fla., a city of close to 65,000 that sits on Sunshine State's southwest shore.

Coincidentally, Williamsburg also found Tuttle in Florida in 1991. Collins became only the third person to serve as city manager in Williamsburg in nearly a half century. Frank Force, who died in December, preceded Tuttle and also served 24 years.

Williamsburg Shopping Center goes on the market

In July, the Williamsburg Shopping Center, 141 Monticello Ave., was placed on the market, a move that has been expected since the lender took control of the property last year in a foreclosure auction.

The center is considered a key location in Williamsburg's retail core and City Council and the Economic Development Authority have been meeting to study redevelopment options.

Michele DeWitt, the city's economic development manager, said the city has had several calls from potential buyers.

Art in the Arts District

Twenty one sculptures were installed in the Williamsburg Arts District as part of a public art initiative. The sculptures, of varying sizes and styles, were created by artists from as far away as New York and Pennsylvania.

The sculptures locations serve as a gallery for potential buyers: all the statues are for sale. The city will buy the statue voted by residents as their favorite as a permanent fixture of the Arts District. Each July, the gallery will bring new sculptures to the area.

Council's new home takes shape

Construction continued on the new Stryker Center. The City Council's new home will be bigger, more high-tech and more functional than the nearly 50-year-old Stryker Building that was demolished in 2014.

In addition to a new council chamber work space, the Stryker Center, at 209 N. Boundary St., will include office space and additional public meeting space for the Williamsburg Library and a gallery/events space in the lobby. The building is projected to open in spring 2016.

Weather, whether we like it or not

The city weathered two significant snow storms in February, but made up for that with beautiful weather for the rest of the year. Aside from several triple-digit days in June and the threat of Hurricane Joaquin in early October, the summer wasn't too shabby. And the weather in the fall, from October to December, was unseasonably warm, as if the city had been granted two springs to make up for February.

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