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.

Kind regards,
Carol Ferguson
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.

Thomas Bruun
Director of Public Works
(703) 792-6253

So, now we discover this one day event is actually a three day training exercise.

89 Thoughts to “Silver Lake…the new training ground for the FBI? So much for “passive recreation” !”

  1. Moon-howler

    I have lost track of what happened when with Silver Lake. Why? Because it has been going on for so long. Why did the BOS vote down the partnership with Bull Run Conservacy? What reasons were given? What did the county say it was going to do with the land? Why do they keep postponing the discussion and vote?

    What is it going to take to get some sort of resolution on this land issue?

  2. Second-Alamo

    Hey, whatever happens to Silver Lake do you think they could check drivers license for valid entry. I went to Leesylvania Park last Sunday, and other than a party at one reserved pavilion it was a solid Spanish speaking packed location. We almost didn’t stay as we barely found a parking spot at the marina end. The place was mobbed with Hispanics. If you want to feel like your county has been overtaken, then just go there on a Sunday afternoon. Now I know you say ‘how do you know they’re illegal’, but come on, no way were all those people US citizens. I didn’t here a single word of English while walking from the marina to the far end until we got to the last pavilion. A group of Anglos were having a birthday celebration there. If you think overcrowding only occurs in houses, think again! I believe that if ICE was to pull in there you would see hundreds of people jump into the water and start swimming to the Maryland side, no doubt in my mind.

    Just a factual observation. Try it yourself if you don’t believe me. It’s a real eye opener! I just wonder how many of those hundreds of children were born at no cost to the parents, but cost you and I?

  3. Thumper

    I’m sure there must be some nice, safe parks for just white people who need to be sheltered from those horrible Hispanics spending time with their families.

  4. Opinion

    A contrarian opinion… Why can’t we leave natural spaces… well… natural? Why do we need any kind of access? While I’m guessing that the BOCS lacked the vision necessary to make such an enlightened decision, perhaps “doing nothing” with Silver Lake (and Dove’s Landing) is the best long term course of action for these (and similar) open spaces. Natural succession allows open spaces unperturbed by human intervention to evolve as nature intended. I’m not sure any human intervention is a good thing. Perhaps inaction by the BOCS indefinitely is a “good thing” for the environment.

    Just a thought… only presented because I haven’t seen the “do nothing” option seriously discussed. Why must we always “do something” with a resource that is probably doing quite nicely on its own? Our propensity to “do something” is generally the cause of most of our problems (thanks to the law of unintended consequences).

    I do think a permanent conservation easement leaving things as they are would be a nice touch.

  5. Anonymous

    The problem with doing nothing with natural open space is that, while it’s closed to the public, it is open to trespassers.

    In areas with dense populations and few parks, abandoned open space is very inviting to people looking for a place to hunt illegally, ride ATVs through sensitive streams, gather around a campfire and drink, go swimming in Silver Lake, etc.

    Right now both Silver Lake and Doves Landing are being damaged by trespassers. They are hard to patrol because many areas are not accessible by vehicle. The police are not likely to assign a foot patrol to protect natural open space the county government has abandoned. It would probably cost taxpayers as much to patrol these sites as it would to open them to the public for passive recreation.

    Passive recreation protects natural resources – bird watching, family hikes, nature tours and other low-impact activities don’t damage the environment. Plus the presence of people discourages others from riding their ATV through a stream, poaching, building fires, etc.

    Even if there’s a conservation easement, government still has to monitor and manage the property. As long as you have to do that, why not let people use it for activities that don’t damage natural resources? It’s like having your cake and eating it too, especially in areas where there is a shortage of nature parks.

    Opening Silver Lake and Dove’s Landing to the public would actually help protect the natural resources and also give residents some much needed nature parks IF Supervisors use a conservation easement or deed restrictions to prevent the park authority from developing high intensity money-making activities.

    The park authority consistently says that their first priority is to generate revenue so it’s not likely that passive recreation is in the cards for Silver Lake unless Supervisors act now.

  6. Elena

    Thanks for the excellent points Anonymous!!!!! The county needs to make very little monetary investment for what passive recreation. Why Silver Lake is still closed boggles the mind.

  7. Opinion

    Actually, all of those things you mention (hunt illegally, ride ATVs through sensitive streams, gather around a campfire and drink, go swimming in Silver Lake, etc.) will happen regardless of the legal status of these parcels. All of those things regularly happen in George Washington National Park, Shenandoah National Park, Quantico Marine Base, and similar scenarios. Ironically, passive recreation is more conducive to the activities that you mention (vice soccer fields, canoe rentals, and a “Lake Ridge Park” scenario.) Criminals really don’t care about a parcels status and we really don’t have the resources to police either of these parcels (let alone the rest of Prince William County). Your argument really supports more active use of public property for no other reason than reduce the crimes you mentioned by increasing public use (and “eyes” out and about).

    I propose, for the sake of argument (I hope you caught that point) that benign neglect might occasionally be good public policy. We should thank our BOCS for their “policy savvy” in this case. The “problem” with whatever course of action the County takes is the same with any public policy: unintended consequences. I’m looking for more “do nothing” candidates for the BOCS. They perhaps pose the least risk to our future.

  8. Elena

    HUH, thank our Supervisors? Opinion, we clearly need to discuss this more but I don’t have the time at this exact moment. I will make sure to write a comprehensive response later.

  9. If they need to generate revenue, the PA can charge an admission fee like other park authorities do.

  10. Opinion


    Actualty, I would suggest a nice fruit basket (although a simple card would do). I understand the Chairman likes Wegman’s muffin baskets.

  11. Anonymous

    “All of those things regularly happen in George Washington National Park, Shenandoah National Park, Quantico Marine Base, and similar scenarios.”

    Strange comparisons. Shenandoah National Park is 196,466 acres, George Washington National Forest is 1,065,389 acres, and Quantico is more than 60,000 acres. All these sites have their own police staff as well as park rangers, environmental education and other staff.

    Silver Lake is an abandoned 230-acre site that’s surrounded by residential development. It’s complete different than any of the above. Are you saying the county should make no effort to respond to residents wishes for nature parks?

    The county traded an additional 400 houses at Dominion Valley for Silver Lake. They said Silver Lake would be used for Rainbow Riding Club, passive recreation and horseback riding. They said it was a good trade because their constituents wanted more passive recreation areas and we really really needed the parkland.

    So what happened? Why is Silver Lake still closed? Why are the recreation uses still under discussion? Three Supervisors – May, Nohe and Caddigan – were ready to move forward and voted accordingly. What’s the matter with everyone else?

    The comment that active recreation prevents bad uses but passive recreation does not suggests that you think the only safe places are those that are developed. The 2.39 million wildlife watchers who spent $268.8 million in Virginia in 2006 would disagree.

    Benign neglect has its place but not for natural areas in Prince William County. If you want to see the results of benign neglect, take a look at our creeks when it rains, which all run brown because no one is paying attention to maintaining the buffers.

    Prince William County has failed to respond to residents wishes for more parks and natural areas for many many years. It’s getting embarrassing.

    Regarding the fruit basket, I suggest we put a bow on Opinion and hand him over.

  12. Elena

    Apparently you just must not be aware of the two and a half years of citizens hard work in promoting the opening of Silver Lake for ALL citizens. Here is a little background such that you can make a more informed commentary.

    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

  13. outdoors advocate

    I for one have been watching with disgust the events surrounding Silver Lake. People deserve quality open space to enjoy.

  14. Opinion


    In retrospect, a campaign “thanking” our BOCS for “doing nothing” might be just what is
    needed to get them to move on both Silver Lake and Dove’s landing. Just think about
    the publicity associated with such a campaign. I know I woild buy the basket for the

    We need a new kind of activism as we won’t get different results using the same

  15. Anonymous

    “We need a new kind of activism as we won’t get different results using the same Tactics.”

    We need new Supervisors if this bunch continues to ignore citizen outcry and refuses to address community needs.

  16. Opinion

    Sorry, anonymous… A new strategy is more practical than a new BOCS. Environmental issues appear to lack a strong local advocate or constituency to effect policy in PWC.

    We really need to do something different.

  17. Moon-howler

    How many people here remember old Silver Lake and its uses? As I recall, over the years, there were camp grounds, there were semi permanent trailers where people lived for the better part of the year, there were goats, boating swimming, and yes, the dreaded campfires. (one of the best things about silver lake if you ask me, and other group recreational activities.

    It is pretty difficult to turn an area that once facilitated all of the above back into nature. For starters, Silver Lake is a created lake.

    I think all the supervisors would look fairly foolish if a throng appeared every Tuesday to discuss Silver Lake. There ARE ways to keep things on the front burner and those things on the front burner can get real embarrassing.

  18. Anonymous

    Opinion, you are insulting the hundreds of people who advocated for high standards when the board adopted new park and open space standards, the hundreds of people who advocated for BRMC at Silver Lake, and the thousands of people who spent countless hours in meetings, teaching environmental education programs, organizing volunteer programs and trying to get the county government to enforce penalties for environmental violations.

    If there’s no penalty for ignoring your constituents, why bother to respond? If there’s no need to respond, the tactics won’t matter because nothing will work.

    We’ll see what Supervisors do at Silver Lake. If everyone sits on their hands and the status quo rules the day, new Supervisors will look like the best option to me.

  19. Anonymous

    By the way, Opinion, I’m just curious. Do you actually do anything or do you just sit on the couch with your feet up and post random thoughts on the blogs? The peanut gallery doesn’t have a lot of credibility, or information for that matter (as your comments demonstrate).

  20. Opinion


    Regarding Silver Lake and Dove’s Landing, I am merely observing results. I suggest we owe it to those “hundreds of people” to admit the current strategy isn’t working and consider new ones (fruit baskets, anyone?

    I would suggest as one strategy a civil tone in all discussions. Every vote counts, and clearly the votes to validate a conservationist agenda aren’t there at the moment.

  21. Moon-howler

    Opinion, you have sparked my creatiVIty. I do believe there are some ways to send friendly reminders that Silver Lake is being ignored.

  22. Opinion

    Thank you, Moon Howler… We should chat one of these days. The BOCS is in the business of putting out fires, and none exists yet for Silver Lake (and Dove’s Landing).

  23. Anonymous

    Opinion, apologies for getting cranky. I would love to hear why you think Supervisors would listen to a fruit basket but not their constituents.

  24. Anonymous

    Re Moonhowlers comment that “all the supervisors would look fairly foolish if a throng appeared every Tuesday to discuss Silver Lake. There ARE ways to keep things on the front burner and those things on the front burner can get real embarrassing.”

    Theoretically this should work but it hasn’t in Prince William County. What happens is that government stalls, announces public hearings only to change the date and then change it again. They say they have to study the issue and postpone discussion for months. They appoint committees which meet for months and sometimes years, then hear a recap of the report and implement none of the recommendations, although they are big on handing out certificates of service.

    People are busy. They have jobs with long commutes, kids who need attention and homes to maintain. When Supervisors require people to stay actively engaged in an issue like Silver Lake for nearly 3 years before reacting, something is wrong. I believe that strategy is called the rope-a-dope. We need Supervisors who are paying attention to more people than the ones at their fundraising events.

  25. Moon-howler

    Of course you do Anonymous. I wish you would make up a name…any old name. It seperates you from others.

    My point is, there are ways to make it embarrassing to continue to ignore the people of Prince William County. It wouldn’t involve massive amounts of people being present every Tuesday.

    And you are right…it shouldn’t require creativity. People are busy. However, I hope the bocs doesn’t think Silver Lake is just going to go away, like Avalon. It won’t.

  26. Anonymous

    It’s good to hear you don’t think Silver Lake will go away, Moonhowler. I hope you’re right! Dove’s Landing went away and didn’t resurface for 10 years. And even though it’s visible now, there’s still no action.

    Supervisors could respond to residents wishes for more nature parks by opening Dove’s Landing and Silver Lake spend for almost no cost at all. I totally can’t understand what possible reason they could have for not doing this. Or how they justify all the staff time they’ve wasted ‘negotiating’ a pre-determined outcome at Silver Lake.

    If more park and open space supporters in Prince William took a little time to attend a public hearing and/or send a message to Supervisors and/or write a letter to the editor and/or support local environmental organizations I expect it would make a difference.

  27. Opinion

    Opinion, I guess I should answer your question, “I would love to hear why you think Supervisors would listen to a fruit basket but not their constituents.” Why can’t constituents send fruit baskets?

    It’s about publicity and relationships. The action doesn’t occur during citizen time at Board Meetings, it occurs over lunch, in offices, on election campaigns, over campaign donations, etc. Influence comes with stakeholders such as working with the (in our case) Boy Scouts, the 4H, Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, other stakeholders in our environment (who might actually be interested in using Silver Lake as a resource). These folks tend to be engaged in the community and vote, by the way.

    Someone may be exercising all of these venues; however, I haven’t observed it.

    Fruit baskets are an example. There may be better ideas. The point is creative activism. I would like to send a fruit basket to each Supervisor thanking them for their benign neglect of Silver Lake because at least they haven’t made things worse (and would personally pay for two). That would be the first of a series of creative steps to let them know we are out there and notice their inaction.

    Pushing for action without having an identifiable constituency behind you might not get the outcome you want. I’m guessing soccer players outnumber birdwatchers, for example. Unless you’ve developed the proper voting constituency and relationship with your Supervisor, forcing a decision without the votes to back your desires might get us a nice new set of ball parks, soccer fields, and basket ball courts. Frankly, I’m surprised the soccer and baseball groups aren’t all over this for their own purposes.

  28. Anonymous

    Again, I’m thinking that you’re not engaged, Opinion. Otherwise you would know more about the broad range of citizen advocacy activities for parks and open space. I am also puzzled by your assumption that citizens wishes are ignored because they don’t give presents to Supervisors but you seem very forgiving of Supervisors who ignore community outcry.

    Supervisors have many sources of information for this, including the citizen satisfaction survey, park authority needs assessment survey, citizen input for the strategic plan, citizen input to the future’s commission and the bond referendum for parkland. All these documents say that parkland, passive recreation and natural open space are priorities for Prince William citizens.

    In addition, you have the hundreds of people who advocated for high standards in the parks and open space plan, hundreds of people who advocated for passive recreation at Silver Lake, etc and etc.

    I know many people who meet with Supervisors to advocate for natural open space and parkland, although I do not know anyone who gives them presents.

    Based on these things, I think there is a strong constituency that supports natural open space preservation and parkland acquisition. I also think that the usual government rope-a-dope response is a very effective way to discourage people from participating. No one wants to participate in a process that is not fair and only wastes their valuable time.

    Supervisors might be able to ‘manage’ the outcry but there are still consequences. Parkland and natural open space are the foundation of healthy communities. According to Virginia’s open space plan, they are one of the top 3 things both large and small companies look for when relocating their businesses. They lower crime rates and provide places for family outings in good times and bad.

    Fairfax County has protected 10% of all their land as parks – not counting state parks, federal parks or regional parks. Using the same standard, Prince William has protected 2% of all land as parks. That’s a pretty big difference, how does that help the county compete for regional resources?

    I think there’s plenty of information out there for Supervisors who are paying attention, which is what they are elected to do.

  29. Second-Alamo

    Hey Thumper, Leesylvania was one of those parks! Soon we’ll see the complaints about the soccer fields being overtaken also as was the case several years ago. Sharing a community asset is one thing, but practically taking ownership is another.

  30. Opinion

    Anonymous, I’m afraid you are too quick to make assumptions (about my engagement). I also read the PWC CA website, have followed this issue since its inception, and have reviewed the citizen’s input. Let me ask you specifically: is 4H on board? Are the Boy Scouts involved? Boys & Girls club? Church youth groups? A constituency consisting of Conservationists lacks the clout of a broader base. While there issues may be real, their reputation to rise to any environmental threat tinges there (if I may be so bold, our) arguments. Broaden your base. If you want to win, at least be open to new ideas. I have no idea what your engagement in this issue is (if any); however, I would guess you are not in recruiting.

    I’ll suggest for the last time, if you keep doing the same don’t expect different results (apologies to Einstein). I’m “out of here”.

  31. TDB

    Elena said: ‘So, now we discover this one day event is actually a three day training exercise.’ in response to the Director of Public Works.

    Hey, Elena he said a ‘one-time event’ Totally different. This is just a very small example of how the left distorts information.Or just outright lie. And, what is wrong with a training exercise? That doesn’t benfit us?

  32. Gainesville Resident

    Now I’m confused, in the e-mail I got it appears to me it is a one day exercise. Actually, as I thought the PWC police were supported on this blog – the fact they are involved should make people feel a lot better. If it was just the FBI training there I would be a little more upset – once I got the facts – while I agree the park should be opened to residents, I don’t have such a problem with the FBI AND the PWC police using it for some terrorist (I guess) training. Having the facts behind this, the explanation at least made more sense to me. I originally thought it to be just the FBI, but I wasn’t operating with the complete set of facts. Again, I am just as unhappy as everyone else that it isn’t open to the public. I got a separate e-mail from the PWC Parks commission that said if the vote is in favor of them taking it over, then they intend to have the park open in the early fall to residents – right now they claim there is some things that have to be done to get the park ready – demolishing some old unsafe buildings and so on. Now, why it hadn’t been turned over to either the Bull Run Conservatory or the PWC Park Authority by now is yet another story, obviously. But I don’t have such a problem with what I believe is just a one day event, that was originally scheduled for last year actually but for one reason or another did not go off on schedule. Again, those are the facts – as I have no reason to believe the Public Works Director lied in his e-mail to me.

  33. @Opinion
    Opinion, are you pulling our leg? Fruit baskets??

  34. Moon-howler

    Acckkkk! TDB, what’s this ‘left’ business? I don’t think that putting labels on the situation creates very constructive dialogue.

    This blog has, overall, been very supportive of the Prince William County Police Department so don’t even go there.

    We have all said that the FBI use isn’t the issue. The issue is that decisions about this land have been postponed for 3 years. If parkland is being used as training grounds, then it is not being used for recreation.

    The issue is a little too sensitive for land designated as passive recreation to be used for much of anything else. Frankly, no one knows yet what is going to become of the land because the BOCS continues to diddle R$R%^&*() around and not settle the matter.

    Let’s not try to put words in our mouths or imply that we are liars. And yes, it is a one time event that will conclude June 12 as per the letter to Gainesville Resident.(” The exercise is a one-time event which will be held during this week and will conclude on Friday, June 12.” see comment #42)

  35. Elena


    As stated in the original e-mail from Supervisor Stirrup’s office :

    ” The FBI will be conducting a training exercise in the vicinity of Antioch Road on June 10, 2009. ”

    Once again, the issue is NOT that there is a training excercise on June 10 and apparently 11, and 12th. It is that this was a completely WASTED opportunity to create 500 acres of passive recreation for ALL citizens at NO COST to open for the taxpaying public of PWC. Now, instead, we’ve had a closed park, only certain groups can use it, and it is a tax burden to the citizens to open. Where do you think that money will come from to doze the houses, to clean up , to tend to land that has been neglected for almost three years? It will come from whatever proffers are supposedly left and the taxpayers. Had BRMC been given the opportunity to be stewards of this property, it would be open, they would have raised the money from donors, and ALL citizens would be enjoying it this summer. However, that is the past. Moving forward I am hopeful that in the end, the land will remain dedicated to passive recreation as was agreed upon many many months ago.

  36. Elena

    I do have to take back a comment I made about John. I called him an “overlord” of Silver Lake and that was not justified in this particular instance. However, were it not for his unjustified refusal to seriously consider BRMC was a great alternative, we would not be in this position. What kind of Repubican rejects a private public partnership that saves taxpayer money AND increases, by double, the amount of recreation land for its citizens at NO cost to the county?

  37. Moon-howler

    I thought that’s what Republicans were all about. Silly me. I think this is just one major pissing contest at this point. Many on the BOCS appear to have acted out of spite rather than what is in the best interest of the county. Operative word here is APPEAR. None of it makes sense.

    There really is no reason that Silver Lake couldn’t be a 4 seasons park. That area could also be used for sky watching nights. It would have been such an asset to have in the county. Win/win. Now we have lose/lose.

  38. Mom

    Silver Lake is the perfect example of the law of unintended consequences. The deal with Toll Brothers smelled from the outset given the way Connaughton handled the hearing for the amendment to the rezoning. I doubt anyone recalls but Connaughton gave the BRMC special dispensation (without explanation or board approval) to give a special presentation during the applicant’s 15 minutes. Kiefer went on for almost half an hour. The circus was in direct contravention of the BOCS rules governing public hearings.

    As a result, although the Silver Lake proffer was presented as a proffer to the residents of PWC, I have believed from the moment of Kiefer’s presentation that it was little more than a mechanism for Connaughton to transfer the property to the BRMC. I believe that theory is underscored by the fact that park funding issues were never considered. Similarly, I suspect that the property would have been summarily transferred if Connaughton hadn’t beat feet out of the county after his primary loss and the squashing of his plans to pave over Gainesville.

  39. Anonymous

    My recollection is pretty much the same as Mom’s. BRMC’s offer to add the 270 acres was already on the table before the board voted on the rezoning. Although parks and open space never had Connaughton’s attention during his term as chairman, he was smart and rightly identified the combined offer from Toll Bros. and BRMC as a golden opportunity.

    The high handed way Connaughton put the deal forward guaranteed him all the credit at the time but made some people mad mad mad and created significant obstacles for the people trying to make the deal a reality.

    But that’s beside the point now. The golden opportunity is lost and the only job left is to make sure Silver Lake is protected for passive recreation and opened to the public in short order.

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