It is quite rare that I can become speechless, as I am sure most of you would concur. However, I found myself, having been sent an e-mail by Supervisor Stirrup’s office, in that exact frame of mind…speechless!
For those of you who have been following the saga of Silver Lake, 233 acres donated by Toll Brothers, there was a tug of war between Bull Run Conservancy vs The Park Authority. At one point, there was a suggestion, either by Board Members or the Park Authority that the donor from BRMC should just give the additional 263 acres to Prince William County and that we would control the 500 acres. Well, the donor did NOT want to relinquish control (one can see why now), and eventually, this “gift horse” fell flat on its butt. Bull Run Conservancy withdrew their offer and to this day, Silver Lake, has YET to open to the public.
Here is the latest on what is happening at Silver Lake, direclty from Supervisors Stirrups office:
The FBI will be conducting a training exercise in the vicinity of Antioch Road on June 10, 2009. Residents may hear two to three pops between 9 and 11a.m. This is a controlled training exercise and there is no danger to citizens or surrounding property. Lieutenant Bill Cox (Prince William County Police Department) can answer any questions regarding this training. He can be reached at 703-792-4951.
Please let the homeowners in your community know about the FBI training exercise at Silver Lake.
Assistant To Supervisor John Stirrup
Gainesville District Supervisor
Here is what was agreed upon when Toll Brothers donated Silver Lake:
7/10/2006 – Silver Lake to become conservatory
Toll Brothers has plans to donate more than 280 acres of open space to Prince William County in return for approval of some 400 new homes in a 2,800-home community. … In response to the community’s concerns, the developers said they would donate 282 acres surrounding Silver Lake to the county for a school, nature conservancy and a therapeutic horseback riding facility, according to a letter from Michael Lubeley, a Toll Brothers attorney. Washington Examiner
This is NOT about a training exercise, this is about almost three years of citizen participation being ignored, in fact, not just ignored, but given the proverbial middle finger in my opinion. There have been several public hearings, multiple meetings, and county attorney involvement in order to discuss the fate of Silver Lake. Overwhelmingly citizens wanted passive recreation. THIS is not passive recreation, in fact, for citizens, there is nothing but a locked gate, saying “keep out”. So much for Prince William’s county desire to provide quality passive recreation and a commitment to land conservation.
Update: The following statement has been issued
Supervisor Stirrup’s Office asked that I reply to your concerns about the Silver Lake property being used for a joint County Police Department/FBI training exercise this week. The Public Works Department has been responsible for protecting the Silver Lake property until it can be opened for public use. Public Works approved the use of Silver Lake for a joint exercise between the FBI and the County’s Police Department, and as such, I am responsible for this decision.
The exercise is a one-time event which will be held during this week and will conclude on Friday, June 12. The quarry at the site provides an ideal location for this type of exercise because it involves underwater activity by several dive teams. The Prince William County Police Department Dive Team has in the past been approved to use the quarry on a case by case basis as a training location. The exercise this week was originally planned for last summer, but was not conducted as planned. At that time, Public Works and other County agencies had evaluated potential impacts to the lake/quarry, the Silver Lake property and surrounding communities and it was determined that there would be no adverse impact as a result of the exercise. The operational benefit of having this joint exercise with the FBI will be of significant value to the County’s Police Department and the larger community.
The Board of County Supervisors is scheduled to have a Public Hearing to consider conveying the Silver Lake property to the Park Authority at their meeting on June 23 at 2PM. It is my understanding that the Park Authority will provide you with more information about future plans for Silver Lake, as well as a time frame for when it could be opened to the public. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any additional questions you may have.
Director of Public Works
So, now we discover this one day event is actually a three day training exercise.