Updated: Supervisors Kill Battlefield Park in Split Vote

The Clarke County Board of Supervisors voted today to reject a proposal from the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority for a park at the site of the current Virginia National Golf Course in eastern Clarke County, Virginia. The proposal was rejected by a vote of 3 to 2. In favor the rejection were Supervisors Staelin (Millwood),  Weiss (Buckmarsh) and McKay (White Post). Opposing the rejection were Supervisors Hobert (Berryville) and Byrd (Russell).

As letters from area historical and open space groups in support of the Civil War heritage park continued to arrive at County offices, the Supervisors offered a small window of opportunity for a revised proposal if the park authority is so inclined.

The motion to decline the park plan was offered by Supervisor Weiss and approved in the three-to-two vote. A letter to NVRPA was suggested following a unanimous second vote saying that the Supervisors were not opposed to entertaining alternative proposals that NVRPA may be inclined to offer.

In discussion regarding the letter, Supervisor Staelin suggested that the document include a statement acknowledging that the County was not opposed to the park and hopes that NVRPA has a “Plan B” alternative to the current offer.

The overriding issue discussed today by the Supervisors was cost.

“There is funding there to cover the cost of the park for a couple of years,” said Supervisor Weiss. “But in the long run the park isn’t going to pay for itself. Eventually the cost will increase to $100K as things get raised.”

“Times are bad now and I believe that they will be for the foreseeable future,” Weiss continued. “A park would be a nice thing to have but right now it seems like a luxury that we can’t afford. It’s just not an appropriate thing to fund based on our situation.”

Weiss also said that he believed that public boat access at the park needed to be reexamined because the current plan to provide shore launches would be damaging to the river.

“If we really want to preserve open space then let’s give $65K to the easement authority every year” Weiss said.

“But it really comes down to money” Weiss said citing that the County had recently deferred an $89K expenditure to extend a gas line from the Senior Center to the current Clarke County High School.

Supervisor John Staelin said that he had had many phone calls over the past several weeks, both for and against the park.

“The community is divided over this issue,” Staelin said. “When the community is this divided you don’t take on something like this. I have no sense of strong community backing, there are just too many divisions.”

Staelin pointed out the County already has several park facilities, including a 50-acre passive park on the mountain that, Staelin said, “the County hasn’t put one dime into yet.”

Staelin added that the proposed park would need to generate at least $7M in retail sales in order for the County to recoup the $65K cost of the NVRPA membership through taxation. Staelin also mentioned that the Clarke County Economic Authority, which he said includes people concerned about tourism, twice rejected requests to sign a letter endorsing the park.

“When you ask people their priorities you hear things like salaries, avoiding a tax increase. I was speaking with the Sherriff and it sounds as if his communications system may need some funding” Staelin said. “Of all of the priorities, it seems like the park is least of all.”

Although Supervisor Barbara Byrd agreed for a new park “it all comes down to money”, she also pointed out that with three years of park fees are already covered and argued that the long term financial impact on taxpayers will be minimal given the national financial recovery.

“We have to look beyond the end of our noses and think about the future” Byrd said. “This is a win-win situation. We have $75K pledged from the Civil War Trust, $25K from the Easement Authority for several years and $20K from Parks and Rec for several years. We can fund the park for many years without taking any additional money from taxpayers.”

Byrd also said that many people in the Shenandoah Retreat favored the park and that a well-managed park would address illegal hunting activities in the area that some residents have complained about.

“This park would be a wonderful feather in our cap” Byrd said. “To have a park like this in our small county is really a rare opportunity. This is the kind of thing that makes Clarke County different from the counties to our north, south east and west. We’re different because of the way we protect what we have here. Clarke County is a jewel and we have to protect it.”

Clarke County Supervisor chairman Michael Hobert echoed Byrd’s statements and offered strong arguments in favor of the park.

“I support the park and see this as a vote about the identity of Clarke County” Hobert said. “Our comprehensive plan is full of examples relevant to what we are about here and this park is consistent with our comprehensive plan.”

Hobert said that the County’s commitment to sliding scale zoning, open space and easements all made statements that differentiated Clarke from other localities and cited support from other County leaders.

“Our appointed leaders on the Easement Authority have recommended that we approve the park” Hobert said. “Our Parks and Rec Department has also recommended approval.”

Hobert also mentioned the archaeological significance of the site.

“This ground is archaeologically significant as well,” Hobert said. “I suppose that it can just sit there for another 100 years but we have a chance to preserve it here and now.”

“I agree that the money is a significant factor and that this is a long term commitment” Hobert said acknowledging the concerns of the three opposing Supervisors. “But we make long term commitments all of the time. The proposed Recycling Convenience Center will cost almost twice as much annually as what we would spend on the park. The County’s priorities can be looked at in a lot of ways.”

Hobert said that he believed that the three opposing Supervisors were discounting the economic contribution potential of the park by not fully acknowledging the value of the Riparian buffer to absorb total maximum daily load (TMDL) river pollution and potential EPA pollution credits for conversion of land from intensive to passive use.

“The University of Virginia has offered to develop a formula that would help the County receive credit for placing river frontage in conversation” Hobert said. “The law allows for these conversion credits but right now there is no formula to calculate them.”

“The cost and benefit analysis associated with the park needs to include this type of calculus” Hobert said.

Hobert then referred a letter received by the County from Civil War Sesquicentennial chairman and Clermont Trust CEO Bob Stieg endorsing the park as an enhancement to the County’s tourism and heritage portfolio as well as connecting Clarke County to a national network of Civil War battlefield tourism.

After the meeting, County officials said that two additional letters supporting the park had been received over the weekend.

View correspondence from the Mosby Heritage Area Association and Preservation Virginia here:  

Cool Spring Park – Mosby Heritage Area

Cool Spring Park – Preservation Virginia

“I see the park as part of Clarke County’s infrastructure,” Hobert contiued “which includes open space and cultural heritage. This is a long-range decision about what we want this County to look like thirty years from now.”

With Hobert and Byrd firmly in favor of the park and Weiss and Staelin opposed, newly elected Supervisor Bev McKay found himself in the position of tie-breaker on the issue.

McKay said that while he was uncomfortable with the cost of the park proposal, he was willing to look at other options and alluded to private fundraising as a potential solution.

“There’s bound to be another option that we can consider” McKay said. “I encourage people to get involved and come up with another way to do this. There are a lot of positions here and I hope that people will come back with a plan that is more suitable for Clarke County.”

McKay then added “Any new plan would have to include a fairly substantial change in order for me to change my vote. I would not be in favor if it’s going to cost $65K.”

Comments

  1. Well, nice opportunity……………….in good times. Right now, with everyone saying teachers and all need pay raises, I think there’s better ways to spend the money

  2. StoneBroke says:

    That is great news! Don’t Loudoun Clarke!

    • saywhat says:

      booooooooo! The preservation of a civil war battlefield is NOT Loudoun’ing Clarke. But it would allow myself, the children, and our schools to learn LOCAL heritage instead of trekking to Loudoun and Fairfax.

  3. retreat resident says:

    Thanks to the board for listening.

    • Also a retreat resident. Looks like our property values will continue to stay low. Opportunity wasted.

  4. cheapshot says:

    Interesting outcome; I wonder if the civil war folks will go through with the purchase now since they have already approved it, or was their purchase contingent upon county approval? While I don’t think it was the “once in a lifetime” opportunity that was profferred by the staff, I do think it was an appealing proposition.We have put ourselves in a position that there are too many other higher-priority items that need to be funded first, like teachers and computer systems. We just need to fund them.

  5. Too bad. A missed opportunity to preserve open space and further protect the river.

    • Another View says:

      Is there any reason to believe that a private buyer would not “protect the river”?

  6. I agree with Sarge, it is a nice opportunity but the timing isn’t right.
    Too many other, more important things to spend tax dollars on.
    The BOS made the right decision.

  7. Maybe they’ll come back with a more creative offer. It should be a park, because the golf will eventually go belly up. They’ll dump it for a loss to a private owner (campground?) then all you paranoid folks will have a reason to protest. Careful what you wish for.

    • funeralforafriend says:

      If it were to bought by a private owner doesn’t the county have final say as to what can and can not be there ?

      Once again the doomsayers trying to stir up the citizens with all the horrible things that could be there.

  8. Good for the board – they did the right thing.

    Now let’s focus on encouraging business and jobs in the county.

    Encourage Textron to offer the place for commerical sale at a more reasonable price (like the $1M that they offered to the trust). Find a buyer for the golf course who will contribute jobs and tax revenue, while preserving the open space and river frontage. Spend the $65K on improving our schools or to save a teacher’s job.

  9. nonhermit says:

    Regarding the identity of Clarke County as Supervisor Hobert mentioned: “I support the park and see this as a vote about the identity of Clarke County” Hobert said.
    Has it not escaped anyone’s attention that when Wolf Trap Foundation sued the Barns of Rose Hill the settlement agreement stipulated that the Barns must remove “Northern Virginia” from their marketing materials. Yet, the Northern Virginia Regional Parks Authority invites CC to join in membership.
    I’m having an identity crisis!
    All joking aside, I would think that CC is uniquely fortunate to be included in both Shenandoah Valley and NoVa regions.

  10. I would like to reiterate what I think most people’s opinion on the matter is. While it would certainly be great for this property to be turned into a park, we have many more important uses for our money and I think it would be very wise to allocate it in those places (teacher salary increase, community recycling center, upgraded computer systems, water supply upgrades, etc.). I cannot claim to be completely up to date on the most pressing issues, but I think it would be impulsive to push for this property to become a park. Additionally, the property has been for sale for several years and I don’t think it’s going anywhere fast. Lets get our priorities straight and spend our money on the things we NEED in these tough times! Maybe it will be a park someday, but today there are just too many things that should come first.

    Also, having once been an employee at VA National, I love the idea that the land has been used as a golf course. Golf is my favorite game and those of us that play have been extremely lucky to have this facility available to us. The only caveat of a golf course that I can see would be from an ecological viewpoint. However, If managed properly this becomes a non-issue. CHEERS!

  11. The Shocker says:

    Really Supervisor Weiss? Donating $65k to the easement authority annually further allows the counties elite and wealthy to enjoy their land in private. A park would have been nice as something that everyone could enjoy.

    • So how many acres does Weiss own?? He had his handed to him by his family, but no, you can’t have access to any reasonable amount of land unless in involves walking around the 2 mi. circle at the park.

      • Become a farmer. go to the AT. There are ways to enjoys nature here, all over the place. be thankful for the amazing park facilities we have for such a small county.

  12. Richie Blick says:

    Sad that this county cannot support one single preservation park even when someone else, a regional park, was going to buy it. Now it could be chopped up and riverfront McMansions built. Also sad that I could not attend the meetings to voice support. Not one park in this entire county. If so many people supported this being a golf course, it would not have been bankrupt multiple times. This is a historic battlefield not just a scrap piece of land. I agree with The Shocker, OUR supervisors waste this much money on pet projects every year. If it involved farmland or estates, or Va Outdoor Foundation, Easement Authority to buy DUR’s from your cronies, you betcha they would have coughed up the money quickly. Also, look at how fast the Government center was built (on parkland).

    • funeralforafriend says:

      The property will NEVER have homes built on it.. Flood plan ,only 5 DUR’s that don’t have a right of way.So I think that tired old argument about homes being built there needs to be put to bed once and for all.

  13. Bev McKay makes his first big vote and (BUZZER SOUND) FAIL! Way to start your political career Bev.

  14. Roy McWozel says:

    Very pleased that cooler heads prevailed over politically correct environmental conservatism. Open question whether Ms. Byrd best represents the taxpayers of Clarke County. Likewise, while historic preservation is great in theory, let’s not kid ourselves about the reality of situation. The property has been some form of a golf course for quite some time now, and its only remaining archaeological significance is likely in the form of slowly decaying Titleist golf balls. In order to turn the place into the Battlefield Park some envision (that attracts tourists, because no golfer has ever eaten dinner in Berryville), more is required than what the existing plan described. The golf course itself has suffered numerous managerial flaws (overpricing, understaffing, aging equipment) that are only tangentially related its other financial woes. If priced, managed, and advertised correctly, the course could easily produce ten times the amount of annual tourists that a public park might. And for those who would like to see the property kept green, there are 18 of them already in place.

  15. Big Deal says:

    So big deal the BOS voted not to be a member of the NVRPA for $65k. The CWT all ready approved the purchase which kinda means Textron had agreed to sell it. The property is all ready zoned for commercial use and was servicing 19,000 customers a season. NVRPA, all ready tax exempt, wasn’t asking for roads, water, sewer, county staffing or zoning changes. NVRPA membership incuded maybe permiting the local County to advertise the CWT property to attract tourism or just be a part of the team? What stops the park from just moving forward without Clarke being a member. Is it a bit early to clean the golf clubs for a Virginia National April opening. What really happened today?

  16. Roy, I couldn’t agree with you more… The golf course is just that. A golf course… I think it would be tough to convince tourists that the terraced tee boxes and greens were really put in place by Confederate soldiers in order to shoot cannons over the river at their rivals. Furthermore, I think it would be fairly difficult to remove such landscape features, and cost more money to return the property to a natural looking landscape than it would cost for several years (maybe even decades) of NVRPA membership fees. Not to mention the environmental degradation (sediment runoff, soil compaction, erosion, etc.) that would be caused by the excavation which would be required to convince people that they were standing on a historically significant site rather than on an old out-of-business golf course… I’m not 100% opposed to a public park, but it needs to be done right, and with the right funding and vision. What’s going to happen when the property floods next spring and the place turns into a mud pit with no money or people willing to pay out of their pockets to have the mud cleaned up? And what’s going to happen if we put in a public park with no on-site security or staff? It’s going to become a haven for crime and a dump for peoples trash… I think that Bev made a crucially significant and well though out vote as a long time resident who is in touch with and represents the wants and needs of the people living in this county.

    • Too late. It has already become a dump for people’s trash. Take a drive down scenic Pot-hole Parker Lane. You will see coolers, toys, tires, a pink recliner, deer carcass hanging in a tree, and other interesting odds & ends.

      • Wow! The power of a public forum, without censorship, Pot-hole Parker Lane has now been restored to Parker Lane. The pot holes have been removed, as has most of the trash. The only thing remaining is the deer carcass and the pink recliner.

  17. Big Deal says:

    The LWCF Civil War battlefield preservation program comprises matching grants to state and local governments that Congress must appropriate annually. The grants are awarded through a competitive process, with a match of at least 50 percent. The LWCF authorizes money for both fee simple purchases and easement acquisition, but non-profits cannot receive funding directly. The program is administered by the American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP), an arm of the National Park Service in the Interior Department. $900 million a year flow into the Land and Water Conservation Fund from Federal receipts from leasing the Outer Continental Shelf for oil and gas development. The Civil War Trust helped to secure the $4 million recently appropriated by Congress for Fiscal Year 2009

    The process http://www.civilwar.org/land-preservation/how-we-work.html

  18. Good point, Big Deal. I’m interested to see what this all “really” means.

    For the record, though, the “Riverfront McMansion” theory is a straw man and a scare tactic. While in theory the Rural Residential (RR) zoning at the golf course would allow for more development density than Agricultural-Open Space-Conservation (AOC) zoning (maximum average area of 2 acres in RR vs 3 acres in AOC plus finite Dwelling Unit Right limitations in AOC), residential development of this property would be not only be highly impractical, it would never be allowed under the current ordinances administered by our Zoning Administrator. The majority of the golf course property is located in the 10 year floodplain (and therefore the 100 year floodplain). A significant portion of the acreage not located in the floodplain can be characterized by slopes greater than 25 percent. 3-A-3-g of the Clarke County Zoning Ordinance would classify these areas as Critical Environmental Areas (CEAs), and states “Structures requiring building permits shall not be located in CEAs.” In addition, the County septic ordinance would not allow conventional or alternative septic systems to be permitted in the 100 year floodplain or on slopes greater than 25 percent.

    In my opinion, the property is well suited for a golf course and the County should offer wholehearted support. As a County, let’s help the golf course deal with VDOT to get some reasonable signage on rte 7 promoting the fact that we have “nature’s gift to golf” in our backyard. Lets work cooperatively to encourage and eventually implement a nutrient management plan (which I believe will be required within the next few years) to protect the river and polluntant loading in the Bay. Not only is the infrastructure for the course already in place (irrigation, grading, pavilions, clubhouse, maintenance shop and equipment, etc. to the tune of millions in sunk cost), Virginia National serves the often-competing purposes of protecting open space, generating tax revenue and creating jobs in the County. The three hot-button items of the day in a nice little package. Seems like a no-brainer to me. I think its high time for a little support from the County – who knows, it may help make Virginia National profitable for the next owner.

    • Richie Blick says:

      The current zoning is Rural Residential showing a $20,141/year tax bill showing a 2010 tax assessed value of $3,248,600. This is not flood plain swamp or junk land. There is some forgiveness in taxes via the Land Use program. This RR district is for “single-family residential and open space areas and is intended to stabilize and protect the essential characteristics of the district, to promote and encourage a suitable environment for family life, and to prohibit all activities of a commercial or industrial nature.” Golf Course is an allowed use. So are many others. I RR is 1 building right per acre not exceeding 4 acres with an average of 2 acres. This single property is 193 acres. This makes me wonder if this land goes to Non-Profit, if the county would not lose out on that $20k revenue. Maybe something else could be worked out on this because we do need the money.

      McMansions are possible here. Look everywhere. It is not a scare tactic. It will not be subdivided into 193 1-acre lots due to building and septic regulations but it certainly can be subdivided and houses built on it. Or dozens of other uses.

      Who says that you cannot alter flood plain and/or build on it? Yes you can.

      You can redirect the road, even improve it, since it is mostly private.

      You can access the entire property off Parker Lane. Nothing there is landlocked.

      Never say never. 193.89 acres of prime Shenandoah Riverfront property has lots of options. Especially to someone with money.

      As a local resident, nature lover, history geek, Eagle Scout, and parent of children raised and schooled in this county, I FULLY support the conservation and preservation of this land as a Battlefield Park. Clarke played an important role in this nation’s history and this is our chance to preserve it and publish it. Not everyone can access the Appalachian Trail or hike on it. That is not what I call a local park. We don’t have a local preservation park. This is level ground and likely handicap friendly. Increase my taxes by $4 a year to pay NVRPA for them to purchase it, run it and insure it. Supervisors don’t so quickly say “NO” then spend it elsewhere. We will be watching every cent of OUR money that you spend.

      • Does anyone know if the property’s real estate taxes are paid to date? If not, with the property in foreclosure, pre-foreclosure or to be acquired by the Civil War Trust, I sure hope that our CC Treasurer has initiated a judgment and records said Memorandum of Lien before the property changes hands.

      • funeralforafriend says:

        Let’s pretend for a moment that one could alter a flood plain and I thought that would require and act of God.
        As for all property being accessible from Parker Lane that’s sort of true.The DURs that are on the property are at the northern most portion of the course just a few steps from WV.To extend Parker Lane to that end of the property would require millions and millions just in studies and site plans for 5 DURS . A ROI on that would be a pipe dream..

        Are you aware that there are septic systems located on the course from homes in The Retreat ? Where would one relocate those ? Why do you think the Manor house sits empty ? Septic system is not adequate for anything more than a private residence.To be used for anything more would require using the system in place for the golf course which is across both parking lots from the manor house.

        The county has the power to prevent any such McMansions from being built there or for that matter any where in the county.Ask A. Echols what it takes to build anything in this county flood plain or not.

        Who in their right mind would build on land that no mortgage company would touch,no insurance company would insure and certainly no one would buy no matter how much money they have ?

        • Richie Blick says:

          Funeral, You have never heard of fill dirt? Besides, not all of the property is in the flood zone. Example: If 50 acres is not in the flood plain, at 2 acres each you could end up with 25 homes on it. In this economy it would be financially difficult for anyone to subdivide it but not impossible.

          DUR’s are for the entire parcel, not certain spots on a given parcel. To say the DUR’s are on the back/northern part of the property is misleading and incorrect. It is all one parcel.

          You can build a road anywhere you want with the right equiptment.

          The guidelines are county-wide and district wide, not just on Parker Lane or the Retreat. If it meets the guidelines I can’t see how the county can object. Especially to someone with deep pockets and time.

          Drive by the mansion on the corner of Howellsville and 50. It was a falling down brick shell for decades. Torn down to the ground and a new home built about 5 years ago. It never had a septic field until then and it was approved under varience. Another one is also down Howellsville Rd. In town – look across the street in town at Dr. Allen’s property where the tattoo parlor is. That is flood plain too. Anything along Dog Run is flood plain. It even runs under buildings and churches in town.

          If your theory was correct, New Orleans would not exist, OBX would be only sand and no one would build beach houses or river homes anywhere. Not everyone obtains a mortgage.

          No, I do not know where a few of the retreat homes sewage goes. If there are sewage systems already in the flood plain as you say, on the golf course, why not allow more? Modern enclosed systems should be able to handle it. If you can build subdivisions on cliffs and down the side of mountains in slippery slope areas, you can build one one on a river.

          Never say never. Crazier stuff has happened.

          • funeralforafriend says:

            The sewer lines on the golf course would prevent further building.That was the point I was attempting to make.

            Do you think the Army Corps of Engineers or the Federal Government would allow New Orleans to be built today ?

            When you are able to count the examples of McMansions in the county on one hand I would not call that an epidemic.

          • Richie Blick says:

            To stay on somewhat of a point, it is no way that a few sewer lines or even septic lines would prevent building on 193 acres. McMansions or shacks. The set backs are not that great. Who says there are only 5 DUR’s on this 193 acres in RR zoning? That is not true. That is estimated if you simply removed the flood plain acreage instead of altering it. RR zoning has 1 acre minimum with no more than 4 acres avg of 2. Even my fuzzy math does not calculate only 5 DUR’s. But if it did, would you rather see 5 mansions or shacks strung along the river than a restoration to the historic battlefield adding Clarke as a destination? That is nuts. It may help the tax base though. The battlefield is in itself a destination. As it is when I visit Manassas & Balls Bluff. It would help touirism, the vineyard, the stores and gas stations, maybe Berryville businesses, schools, scouts, and the river.

            It would be nice for this to be conservation parkland and for any and all building rights to be donated to Clarke.

            I know of hundreds of McMansions in this county. On the mountain along 601, along 606, along Trapp Hill Rd, up and down 340, 50, 7, and yes along the river speckeled and clustered throughout. Drive thru White Post. Anywhere. I do not and never have called them an epidemic. I like many of them. Like someone else said, be careful of what you wish for.

            The old Mansion on Parker Lane – who knows why it did not sell. I have not looked it up. Maybe because it is not renovated, not livable and likely overpriced for what it is currently. I have been inside of it. I am clueless about where it’s septic field is.

          • Sunshine says:

            Allison Teetor recanted her first report of 40 possible homes at the second meeting then it was maybe 15 homes and finally the accurate amount of homes that could be built on the golf course property was a maximum of 5. Please, call her yourself tomorrow if don’t believe me.

            At the meeting Monday of the BOS McKay also mentioned that when he found out 40 homes could not be built he had to take another look at it. Notice that is not in quotes as I don’t remember his exact words.

            Also, what NVRPA presented was only a proposed plan.
            At first, it was introduced by Paul Gilbert of NVRPA that “99 percent of the time the park will be a quiet and contemplative place”. With”quiet and solitude” during majority of the time with self-guided walking tours. Of how people could walk and reflect on the battle and reflect on the history of the Civil War. Less than three months later it was to have bicycle trails, equestrian trails, rental of kayaks and canoes.
            Very different from the first presentation and beyond the conservation and preservation of the land as a Battlefield Park.

          • funeralforafriend says:

            The 5 DUR number was provided by the county after some prodding and questioning of the original number of 40 stated by Ms Teetor in the very first BOS work session regarding the park.

            The Balls Bluff park had 1,000 paying visitors in their best year.One would think with it’s location so near the Nation’s Capitol it would have had more.

            .As quoted by Mr Staelin ” The park will not pay for itself ” and also from MR Staelin ” the park would have to generate 7 million in retail sales to cover the membership fee and lost tax dollars from the golf course.” Any chance those 1,000 visitors spent 7 million dollars ?

            To even mention Mananas in the same sentence as Cool Springs is akin to comparing Virginia National to Augusta National.

      • Not Surprized! says:

        So you would increase your taxes $4 a year for a park that hardly nobody would utilize? But your community Teachers, Police, and Rescue Providers get nothing????? Am I missing something here……

  19. Big Deal says:

    Rob an fyi from Textron’s 2010 10k annual report if I remember page 64 references thier investment in golf properties justified by a mower product still on their product list. Painfull to read but their board of Directors decided to manage thier $800m market value investment by eliminating properties that were >3 years old and hold a 65% value of their initial investment. Virgina National would fit that criteria. Enter the hedge liquidation company that rather than liquidate at below market why not arrange for a short and long term tax write off deal to the Civil War Trust at full market price to offset taxable gains from other liquidated golf properties. An accountant’s dream. NVRPA technically becomes the Trust’s management arm.

    As far as golf courses in this area private owned public courses at inexpensive rates have just about disappeared. Public courses seemed to be intergrated and managed into the county park systems by lease or ownership. Private courses are excellent and have Mc-mansions that add value as well as steep HOA and membership fees. Virginia National at the time it was bulit was probably a good idea. After 10 years of bankrupcy,losses, a dirt road entrance, upgrade and maintence costs and unwilling county support offers little more than risk to a new investor. Continuation of a 18 hole $40 a round private owned golf course I just don’t see it. Our worse senerio is if the land just sits there with no management,oversight or upkeep. The Rt 7 bridge for 2 miles of river front.

  20. @BigDeal

    Financiial numbers public golf course @$40/round and average rounds/year in this area would work if the debt load was under $1M. Textron has been marketing the course at $3M, which is why is doesn’t sell. If they were to sell it as a gofl course at the price offered to the Civil War Trust ($1M), it would work as a golf business. I suspect that the lower price offer to the trust was built on a plan by Textron to take a tax write off on the difference as a “contribution”. We’ll have to see how it plays out.

  21. luvb-ville says:

    No $$= No new toys. Times are hard right now. Focus on what the county needs: not what it wants. Pay public servants for their hard work (not just teachers), improve antiquated systems and other needs. The BOS did the right thing. They were responsible to the citizens of the county by not spending money we don’t have.

  22. @NT ” And what’s going to happen if we put in a public park with no on-site security or staff? It’s going to become a haven for crime and a dump for peoples trash”

    That is incorrect there will be security and staffing you can find it here: A PDF of the plan can be downloaded here. Scroll down to page 5.

    There are a few residents going around misleading and passing along incorrect information to residents that do not have the internet. It’s mean and it’s called lying. The people using these tatics better remember the truth always prevails.

    The issue of money is the only good reason not to have this park!
    I am willing to put the cost in my budget along with a tax hike for the school system. I have no kids in the schools here but I know when to do the right thing for my community.

    Thank Mr Blick for your accurate information.

    I’d also like to thank CDN for all the great coverage they have been providing.

  23. Sorry about that, the link is about halfway down. Its in red and says, can be downloaded here.

    http://www.clarkedailynews.com/park-authority-presents-operational-plan-for-cool-springs-proposal/29647

  24. Richie Blick says:

    According to the 2012 Clarke County Board of Supervisors Budget posted online, in 2012 they are spending $150,000 for the conservation easement program. In 2011 they spent $480,000 and in 2010, they spent $1,869,437… of our money. I fully support conservation easement purchases but this should be part of it. Not just to the already rich farm and landowners not wanting development.

    The county is spending $775,849 on building maintence and lawns. I don’t know the innerworkings of these expenses and what is rolled into them. But since times are tight I would think they can squeeze the belt a little more one a few big items to fund others that could be once in a lifetime.

    There is $243,997 in delinquent real estate and property taxes. Collect it and there is 4 years of park costs.

    Some County Owned property sits vacant, under utilized. Rent it out. Sell some.

    • And what about the million or so put into a senior center? Park is small peanuts in comparison.

  25. CDN
    I believe the BOS Motion was to send a letter to the Civil War Trust NOT NVRPA stating they were open to a “Plan B”. I do not believe NVRPA could come back with a “Plan B” that would eliminate the $65,000 membership fee. BOS voted not to spend the money to join NVRPA (in perpetuity) but would consider a “Plan B” from Civil War Trust.

  26. Mr. Blick

    It is not a few drain fields stopping homes on Va. National. About 92% of the property is in the 10 to 100 floodplain. The county does not allow homes in a floodplain.

  27. Wow! As a longtime Loudoun resident (native) I see Clarke as an opportunity to do things better. We basically just plowed up our east half, dumped in a million people and cars and raised taxes from 84 cents on the 100 in 1990 to $1.24 and up. That river land could be a great park and draw folks to spend in Clarke, it could also be cut-up for housing, etc. though I doubt at a high density.

    It is funny how I wonder where all those millions upon millions of tax dollars have gone in Loudoun? Folks in power have cashed in for sure and all the grand “planning” has led to gridlock and high taxes. That is all fine if you have a job and right now most do BUT if the federal government does tighten the belt and start eliminating federal contracts, say hello Detroit east.

    Clarke should decide what its identity will be and the future. I believe you have large lot zoning which should help dissuade Loudoun/Fairfax style carpet-bombing of commuter housing. But what your free market boys and girls as there is a market and it is in no way free! You, the taxpayer pay all the bills.