Is recreation getting in the way of our roads?

UPDATE: March 23 2011 — Despite the Board of Supervisors direction that the Park Authority work with the County Transportation Dept. to prioritize improvements to the front entrance to Hellwig Park (see below), the Park Authority Board is scheduled to vote approved a resolution approving a lease agreement with the Northern Virginia Soccer Club for their use of the property purchased to improve the front entrance to Hellwig Park.

According to the staff report, the lease agreement covers a five year period at $1/year and would renew by mutual consent. Click here to read the staff report and proposed lease agreement.

UPDATE: September 15 2010 — Supervisors voted unanimously to deny the Park Authority’s proposal to build a new public road from Aden Rd. to Hellwig Park. Citizens from the surrounding area and civic groups, including LOCCA and MidCo, did an outstanding job researching and presenting key issues.

The Park Authority continued to claim they are responsible stewards of environmental resources, despite considerable empirical evidence to the contrary, and confirmed that they have no funding to build either their proposed public road from Aden or to improve the front entrance, which was recently approved by the BOCS.

The BOCS said that, rather than buying land for an unfunded new road, the Park Authority should focus on completing the improvements for the front entrance on Bristow Rd. and directed the County Transportation Dept. to work with the Park Authority to make this happen.

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On Tuesday, September 14, Supervisors are scheduled to vote on the Park Authority’s request to purchase land and build an unnecessary new public road from Aden Road to Hellwig Park. Click here to read the staff report.

If approved, the Park Authority would move forward with their plans purchase a 10-acre parcel for $70,000 over the advertised asking price in order to construct a new public road. This new road would bisect Hellwig Park, create a cut-through opportunity from Aden Road to Bristow Road, and save the neighboring developer the cost of building a road for two inconveniently located residential lots.

And, despite considerable empirical evidence to the contrary, the Park Authority continues to claim that they are capable stewards of environmental resources. Considering the extensive impacts documented at both Hellwig Park and Sudley/Catharpin Park, this is similar to claims that Enron is a good investment.

According to the current Capital Improvement Projects budget, no funding sources are identified for the additional 4,324 acres of parkland needed to meet the County’s goals. Now, after years and years of no funding for parkland acquisition, the Park Authority finally has money to purchase land… but they want to spend it on new public roads not parkland. Is recreation getting in the way of our roads?

Parks are for people, not cars. Taxpayers support investments in parkland that benefit residents’ recreation needs year round, protect environmental resources and provide people with opportunities to access parkland without having to get in a car.

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2 comments so far

  1. Mom on

    Stewart said he would not support the proposal because soccer needs and the Park Authority’s limited resources dictate that the money be spent on “fields, turf and lights.”

    He said he will pitch a new proposal for access to the park Tuesday, but he declined to provide details.

    Great, typical BOCS, throw out a line like that and leave us wondering as to what kind of new backroom deal do we have to look forward to.

  2. Christine Learman on

    I am thrilled that the Board of County Supervisors listened to the voices of all of the citizens and taxpayers. This proposal almost passed without any public input since Mr. Utz did not believe that a public hearing was necessary, but it obviously was.

    We were proud to be able to have made our case for NO access road based on concrete facts instead of suppositions and future studies. As was stated at the hearing last evening, this was never about “us” against the sports teams–many of the opponents to this project have children that play in those fields. The real issues were safety, protection of our land and the wise investment of our tax dollars.
    The BOCS did their due diligence in filtering through the emotional testimonies and evaluating all of the facts in order to reach the decision of denial and we are so very grateful. It was all too apparent that the taxpayer’s money would be best spent on solving the congestion problem at hand with the realignment and the installation of a stop light at the current entrance.


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