HUH? What kind of fiscal republican does not want to “save money” ?
By KEITH WALKER News & Messenger
Published: October 21, 2008
The Bull Run Mountains Conservancy has dropped out of negotiations with the Prince William County Park Authority over the property at Silver Lake.
A conservancy statement released Tuesday stated that the organization pulled out of negotiations because a stalemate on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors negated further negotiations.
“At this point our continued involvement can only delay opening the property to the public,” the release stated.
The property was proffered to the county by Toll Brothers in 2006 in exchange for 420 additional houses in Dominion Valley.
The conservancy was offering to combine an additional 268 acres with the county’s 233 acres at Silver Lake off Antioch Road near Haymarket if the county deeded portions of the property to the conservancy.
Additionally, a private grant would have allowed the conservancy to open a park at no cost to the public.
The conservancy was prepared to guarantee public access and certain recreational uses and accept deed restrictions that would return the land to the county if the conservancy ceased to exist or failed to allow public access.
Prince William Chairman Corey A. Stewart, R-at large, didn’t want to give away the property in order to save money.
Opening the property could cost the park authority as much $215,000 annually.
Supervisor W.S. “Wally” Covington III, R-Brentsville, didn’t like the plan because it hadn’t been subjected to the budget process.
Supervisor Maureen S. Caddigan, R-Dumfries, said having the conservancy run the park was a “no-brainer” that carried obvious benefits.
The Prince William Conservation Alliance favored the conservancy’s proposal, said Kim Hosen, the alliance executive director.
“In our view we have a problem here,” Hosen said. “We have a severe shortage of parkland and a severe shortage of money. It appeared that this was a win-win for everybody.”
It’s difficult to protect green space and open parkland in Northern Virginia, Hosen said.
“I think it takes partnerships to pull things off,” she said.
Hosen wasn’t worried by the prospect that the conservancy would have owned portions of the property.
“They were willing to sign a contract with the county and accept deed restrictions that would define the uses and public access,” she said.
Michael Kieffer, the executive director of the conservancy, said the conservancy’s withdrawal allowed the park authority a chance to move ahead on opening the park.