Did everyone watch the Board meeting yesterday? What a joke! What an embarrassment!

In a nutshell, the ENTIRE Board, led by Corey and Wally voted to screw citizens and reward private interest groups, whether they be a small little league football team or big developers, it’s all about the short term payoff $$$$.

Did you know that the co-owner of the Avondale property and Brookfield homes paid an UNDISCLOSED amount to the Grizzly football team to build their ill gotten  private/public parkland. Why should you care? Because WE all end up paying for the infrastructure required to support these homes. The property tax revenue from these new homes will NOT cover the services the County must provide for those homes. Oh, and let’s not forget the realignment of Vint Hill Road,  funded by ALL taxpayers.  WE all must pay for that un-needed improvement and in return, we don’t even get a lousy park, a private small interest football team does!

Where are all the fiscal conservatives?????????????????????????????????

 Do you have kids that enjoy parks? How much money was “donated” to the Grizzlies so that they could build their ball field? Are you willing to sit by silently while developers pay off special interest groups in order to “buy” votes for their project. Where are our elected officials, our “servants of the public” ? What is their trade off in allowing these back room deals?

Remember when this Board REFUSED to create a partnership with Bull Run Conservancy, a park that would have served EVERY single resident at NO cost to the taxpayer, and yet THIS project, this back room deal,  tranfering park rights to the Grizzlies, a private football league,  is acceptable?

39 Thoughts to “Public Parks SHOULD be FOR the Public……RIGHT???”

  1. Need to Know

    Corey and Wally caught much more flak over Avendale than they, and Brookfield Homes, expected. This payoff from Brookfield Homes is damage control to ensure the reelection of Stewart and Covington in order to keep the Gang of Five developer shills (Stewart, Covington, Nohe, Jenkins and Caddigan) on the BOCS.

    The mother of all disastrous developments, Brookfield Homes’ Brentswood project from 2006, is still on the development application schedule in the Planning Office. It and other new developments will be coming back after the BOCS election in 2011. Brookfield Homes and the other developers need five votes. A four-to-four tie means projects do not get approved.

    Brookfield Homes did not want to cough up this money for the Grizzlies, but it’s an investment in keeping the Board of County Supervisors that they and other developers have spent so much money to buy intact and voting for what they want.

    Elena is absolutely correct that PWC taxpayers will pay the price for this. Moreover, listen to the remarks Jay Ellington, head of the Park Authority made at Citizens Time. Never before has the County acquired land for parks and then dedicated it to the exclusive use of a single group (the Grizzlies). The vast majority of PWC citizens and taxpayers now own public parkland that they are forbidden to use.

    From our perspective, taxes and quality of life are at stake. From the developers’ perspective, billions (with a b rather than an m) are at stake. This BOCS has been laying the groundwork to deliver what the developers want, often with the exception of Stirrup, May and Principi.

    I applaud Bob Weir for stepping forward yesterday. He will now be the target of venomous, fraudulent attacks not just from Corey Stewart but from the developers and their PR people. Election of Bob Weir, Gary Freidman, or others who support sensible development and land use means development interests lose their five-vote majority on the BOCS and the gleam in their eyes for billions in profits at our expense.

  2. Elena

    Bob is aready under a venomous fraudulent attack by Greg. He is attempting character assassination by association, association to Eric and Annabel. NOT that it matters, but Bob has never met or spoken with Eric and Annabel. I know, it’s a shocker, Greg fabricating reality…hahahaha.

    Furthermore, Greg is so despicable, that he is making fun of Mr. Cronin who passed away a few years ago. I may not have agreed with everything Mr. Cronin said, but he was a good man and dedicated to the “little” guy. Shame on you Greg, does you well of hatefullness have a bottom?

    I would say to Bob Weir, that Greg dislikes you is a good thing, it must mean you are a decent human being.

  3. Need to Know

    One clarification, with which I think Elena would agree, is that none of us find fault with the Grizzlies or their families. This organization is doing a great job of providing family-friendly activities for youth in Prince William County. The culprits are the corrupt politicians and developers.

    This deal went through last night with no staff review and recommendation, no public review and comment, and over the objections of the Park Authority. The Grizzlies are pawns in the middle of all of this, although pawns that in this case came out fairly well.

    Moreover, Stewart and Covington maneuvered John Stirrup into a corner with no escape. They were wheeling and dealing in his district without his knowledge. Is he supposed to vote against hundreds of families in his own district?

    Avendale is a done deal at this point because of the backroom dealings of the crooked politicians and developers earlier this year. This development will cost taxpayers many times the amount Brookfield will pay toward building football fields on this land.

  4. Elena

    Actually NTK, I would disagree. The Grizzlies leadership knows full well what they have compromised. Many “grizzly” parents chose not to speak out after they learned the full details. I do hold the leadership culpable in this debacle. Nothing is for free and many have chosen to look the other direction, not caring how their actions have affected the entire community of PWC.

  5. Need to Know

    Perhaps – I don’t know any of the Grizzlies. I was working from the assumption that they are the sort of group that is singularly focused on their kids and doesn’t care much about politics. I would share your view of any of their leadership were aware of the full political dimensions of the situation, and its impact on the broader community and taxpayers, but signed on anyway.

  6. Elena

    Several citizens reached out to the Grizzlie leadership, me being one of them, and shared the long term consequences of Avendale passing prior to the vote. They were told they were being used and their reaction was “use me away if I get my ball field”.

    I am focused not just on the well being of my kids, which is obviously my main priority, but I also care about the health and well being of my entire community. The head in the sand excuse just won’t work this time. Geez, Jay Ellington got up at citizens time and pretty clearly explained the damaging long term consequences of this land deal for the Grizzlies.

  7. There is something morally reprehensible about someone who lies, knowing what is being said is a lie, for political gain.

    I know for a fact that Mr. Weir and Mr. Byler do not know each other, much less have a relationship of any sort, much less involving the immigration debate.

    The blogger in question knows this also.

    A man’s word is one of his most valuable possessions. Guard it carefully.

  8. marinm

    Thank you Big Government.

    This article doesn’t make me happy and I’d like to learn more.

  9. Elena

    Go to http://www.pwconserve.org and check out their website and blog to learn more.

  10. Color Me Skeptical

    I think everyone would like to learn more. I listened to the what was said at the BOCS meeting and still don’t know much.

    I know the former landowners and Brookfield Homes donated an undisclosed sum of money to the grizzlies. There were indications that the grizzlies and the BOCS had signed a formal agreement of some sort but nothing on the terms.

    Mike May asked if and how the land could revert to PWC. I believe the answer was PWC could take the land back if the grizzlies violated the terms of their contract with the BOCS. But there was nothing about what the terms of this contract might be.

    Can regular people use the park or does everyone need permission from the grizzlies? Do the grizzlies actually own the land outright or have a lease agreement with PWC? Could they sell the land or transfer the lease to a different ball club or whatever? I’m interested in knowing more too.

  11. anon

    Grizzly Nation,
    We take great pride to provide you with the following update regarding the August 3rd Prince William County Supervisors meeting that many of you attended. Yesterday afternoon, the Grizzly Board of Directors presented a business plan to the Prince William County Board of Supervisors in an effort to obtain additional fields for the league.

    Preceding review of the Grizzly business plan, in a unanimous vote brought to motion by Supervisor Wally Covington and seconded by Supervisor John Stirrup, the Prince William County Supervisors approved a 35 year licensing agreement with the Gainesville-Haymarket Youth Football League for a 16 acre sports park on Vint Hill Road to be developed as the new home of the Grizzlies!

    The land is being provided to the Grizzlies through a proffer by the PWC Supervisors. Construction of the fields and facilities are being built as a result of a $750,000 donation to the Grizzlies by Brookfield Homes and Grizzly supporters Skip Albright & Mary Ann Ghadban. The Grizzlies through the Field of Dreams Fund will make a $250,000 financial investment to complete phase one of the project.

    Phase one of the facility will include (2) grass football fields, access road from Vint Hill, snack bar/Grizzly Den, picnic pavilion, parking lots and utilities. The facility has a growth plan to include a future third field which the Grizzlies intend to develop as a synthetic field as soon as possible. The Grizzlies will have control of all operations, scheduling and maintenance of this facility for 35 years.

    The implementation timeline includes filing site plans with the county as early as next week with ground breaking planned for early April 2011. The new HOME OF THE GRIZZLIES will be open for play SEPTEMBER 2011! Tyler Field will continue to be used as well.
    A site plan drawing of the Vint Hill Park can be found on the home page of Grizzly Football. http://www.grizzlyfootball.org

    The Board of Directors would like to thank all the board members of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors for their leadership on this public/private partnership. Additionally, we would like to thank the corporate and individual supporters of the Grizzlies that have made the Grizzly Field of Dreams possible.

    We will provide additional updates as this and other Field of Dreams projects progress.
    Go GRIZZLIES!!!!
    Gary Skeens, GHYFL Commissioner

  12. marinm

    Looks pretty clear, the County owns the land and the League is the lessee. Meaning they could kick me off the property if they wanted to.

    It all depends on what’s in that agreement. Devils in the details, right? 🙂

    Sneaking suspicion they won’t even have to pay taxes for the land/improvements.

  13. I am going to agree with Marin here. This seems highly irregular.

    I remember those years the county refused to let the Bull Run Conservancy take over Silver Lake. There would have been no expense to the county and EVERY could use the lands. Now we let a kids’ football organization take over 17 acres. Unless you are a grizzly or a parent grizzly, I don’t think the average county person will be welcome there.

    Go one, send me the bill BOCS. Hosed again.

  14. Elena

    Disgusting, I don’t even know what to say. For ALL the reasons John Stirrup, Corey, Maureen, John Jenkins and Wally C gave NOT to allow a REAL public private partnership for parks with Bull Run, they allow THIS debacle to happen. Every citizen in this county should be livid at the obvious misappropration of public land for private use. No, this is NOT at all what would have happened at Silver Lake. BRMC was intent on making it open to ALL the public, not just one interest group. Oh, let’s not forget who owned the property that Finley bought…..Skippy Albright. Interesting huh, Finley gets screwed but Avendale succeeds and the developers of the Avendale property walk away smiling. This stinks, I mean really, stinks.

  15. Pat.Herve

    This type of deal does not surprise me, as this is what our politicians do – they cater to the lobbyist, and try to spin the cause into something that is for everyone’s good. In this case, the lobbyist’s were
    A the Grizzlies, and
    B Avendale Developers.

    The outcome really does not benefit all of PWC, but the vocal few. Anytime a politician says, this is a Win-WIn, it is probably a tax payer loss.

  16. Gainesville Resident

    Elena :
    Several citizens reached out to the Grizzlie leadership, me being one of them, and shared the long term consequences of Avendale passing prior to the vote. They were told they were being used and their reaction was “use me away if I get my ball field”.
    I am focused not just on the well being of my kids, which is obviously my main priority, but I also care about the health and well being of my entire community. The head in the sand excuse just won’t work this time. Geez, Jay Ellington got up at citizens time and pretty clearly explained the damaging long term consequences of this land deal for the Grizzlies.

    I would agree, and furthermore anyone who is silly enough to fall for that whole scheme of getting them to come to the meeting in exchange for empty promises about a ballfield deserves all the criticism they can get. Whether or not you are “politically inclined” most people aren’t born yesterday. This was so obvious that it was just a scheme to get the Grizzlies to come to the meeting in support of the Avendale project. It does seem like they didn’t mind getting used, and they are naive if they believe they’ll get their ballfield anytime soon.

  17. Gainesville Resident

    This is just awful. Since when do we build what seems to be essentially a private park paid for by the PWC taxpayers? We are going to pay for it somehow, despite all these donations. For one thing no taxes are going to be paid on that land to the county, yet most people in the county it seems won’t be able to use it.

  18. Gainesville Resident

    Since the Grizzlies were nice enough to come to the BOCS meeting and fill up citizen’s time with all their comments in support of the Avendale project, everyone else should go to their website and send them comments about this whole scheme. Fill up their inboxes with protests! I’m going to go look for their website and see if there’s a place or e-mail address to send comments to.

  19. Censored bybvbl

    Here’s the link to the InsideNoVa article about the deal. Comments can be left there as well.


  20. Gainesville Resident

    Went to Grizzlies’ website and found a Contact Us link on the left side. It gives a form to fill out with your name, e-mail address, and phone number and then comments. I didn’t give them my real phone number but I did give them my real name/e-mail address. I put in a brief comment about the problem with the park most likely being off-limits to county residents who are not Grizzlies’ members – yet PWC taxpayers will probably be paying for yearly upkeep/maintenance costs, etc.

    It gives you back this response when you hit submit:

    Your feedback has been sent to the appropriate GHYFL board member(s). We appreciate your taking the time to help us improve our Organization.

  21. Elena

    They were given almost a one million dollar donation from Skippy Albright and Brookfield. They will have their ballfield by 2011 I believe.

  22. Elena

    The Grizzly leadership should hear from County residents. Your comments Gainesville were respectful and to the point, good job!

  23. Gainesville Resident

    Elena :
    They were given almost a one million dollar donation from Skippy Albright and Brookfield. They will have their ballfield by 2011 I believe.

    Yes, I realized that after I read further in the thread, so they will get their field supposedly in time for their 2011 season. Still, it doesn’t address the yearly cost of upkeep of the fields, which I think is fairly expensive. That’s what I addressed in my comment to them on their website – that it seemed the park would be for the exclusive use of the Grizzlies, yet the PWC Taxpayers would be on the hook for the yearly upkeep costs, and that seemed unfair. We’ll see if I get any reply, as I did put in my real name and e-mail address. Didn’t want to get a phone call from them but it made you put a number in so I put in 111-111-1111!

  24. Gainesville Resident

    That’s interesting about Brookfield’s donation by the way. They do donate money when forced or guilted into it. Our HOA has gotten Brookfield to kick in extra money to the HOA when it’s been pointed out things Brookfield promised for the neighborhood but never implemented. My gut feel is Brookfield wants to protect their reputation as much as possible, so when called on things they’ve not done right they’ll throw money around to try and squelch any bad publicity. Of course, one of the other residents of our neighborhood coined the term Crookfield which I think is pretty accurate.

  25. I wouldn’t give my real phone number either. That woman who used the wrong tense of the verb ‘to run’ every time she opened her mouth might call me. I know I would be bad and correct her. MEOW.

    To run

    today I run
    yesterday I ran
    I have run before

    I hope she reads it and learns.

  26. That little lesson above works for all verbs..

    GR, too bad Brookfield didn’t take the same care with your neighborhood pond.

    What do those people think about having the grand canyon on their property? Does water still come up?

    That is a good example of how little control has over what is built and what is not built. That site should have become condemned by the county.

  27. How many people would have been employed if Eric Finley had not been cheated?

    I get so disgusted every time I think about what happened to him.

  28. Elena

    Well, the asphault plant would have employed 100 and who knows how many more people for the the actual asphault business. Now that he has to pay on the 3 million dollar mortgage who knows how many people is NOT hiring. Like I said, so much for supporting the small business owner, you know, that pesky old back bone of the American economy!

  29. Gainesville Resident

    Moon-howler :
    That little lesson above works for all verbs..
    GR, too bad Brookfield didn’t take the same care with your neighborhood pond.
    What do those people think about having the grand canyon on their property? Does water still come up?
    That is a good example of how little control has over what is built and what is not built. That site should have become condemned by the county.

    They patched over (covered over) the grand canyon right before Thanksgiving. Not sure how they did it as I wasn’t there – but there had been this huge hole the width of an arm and very deep – more than 3 feet deep.

    Also, my driveway had a huge depression in it and they tore out that piece and put down a new piece.

    My sump pump hasn’t been coming on as much ever since they diverted the output away from my house rather than pumping it out just a couple of inches away from the house and back into the ground again.

    A year ago they replaced the sidewalk leading up to my next door neighbor’s front porch, as the steps to the front porch had separated from the sidewalk by nearly a foot! Now, it is cracked again and I think only a matter of time before the same thing happens all over again.

    Of course, my basement floor has many cracks in it – but they developed soon after i moved in and I haven’t managed to get Brookfield to do anything yet about them. I’m still working on my letter to the CEO (not that I think it will do any good) listing all these issues and telling him how dishonest his company is as they had to know these lots were prone to these problems long before they even advertised them for sale. I was unlucky enough to look at them during an extreme dry spell back in 2008 so of course they were perfectly dry back then and all of them were unbuilt so no one had been living there to witness what they looked like under wet conditions.

    The lake seems to have moved to another unbuilt lot at the bottom of our street on the other side. That was looking pretty ugly after all the rain but now has been getting frozen over. The funny thing is that lot has a for sale sign on it. I’m sure Crookfield would love to build on it to cover that up – just like they did with my neighbor’s lot.

    My back yard – in one corner ( an area of roughly 2 feet by 3 feet) would fill up with water but I dug a trench to drain the water off to the common property behind that corner.

    The problems definitely persist – I’m most concerned about my basement and the overall stability of the ground underneath my house.

  30. That new lake could just be another underground spring. That land should have never been approved for building homes with that sort of problem going on.

    Elena, who inspects the lots before they are built on? I would assume someone would. You can’t trust the developers to do the right thing.

    GR, you should be concerned about it.

  31. Elena

    There is no one. The county depends on the developers HIRED environmental specialist to identify where the protected areas are. Can anyone say Fox watching hen house?

    Yes, you heard correctly, the county does NOT have someone that does the actual designations prior to site plan approval. Do you think it is in the best interest of the developer to identify land they will not be able to build? Yeah, probably not.

  32. Why am I not surprised that the county lets the developers hire their own “environmental specialist”! Obviously Brookfield’s guy signed off on some land that is of rather questionable ability in terms of being buildable. It is interesting to note at the south end of the neighborhood is a protected wetlands area. I’m on the north side though – about a mile from that area.

  33. GR, have the grizzlies growled back at you?

  34. GR, is this a “shrink soil” problem? I’ve heard that this is a problem in the Chesterfield area and the counties had hired soil engineers to identify the problems. In my completely non-lawyer opinion, is there a class action case here?

  35. Gainesville Resident

    No reply from the Grizzlies yet, MH. But, it hasn’t been 24 hours even yet so may need to give them time. Will be interesting to see if I get a reply of any kind – if I do I’ll be sure and report it here.

    Cargosquid – I’ll have to read up about “shrink soil” and get back to you on that. As to a class action suit – it sort of seems to me there has been some misleading which may have been intentional. I have no idea if it rises to the level of a lawsuit. I’m still trying to guilt Brookfield into taking some corrective actions in a letter I’ve been drafting that will go to their CEO. I’m going to include the threat to get the local newspaper involved and see if that gets their attention. It seems to me Brookfield doesn’t like negative publicity, and I have a ton of photographic evidence with dates showing the entire sequence of events! I’ve been very carefully documenting everything over the past two years, including e-mail correspondence with Brookfield’s customer service department who have basically been ignoring the problem. Also, the county got involved to some extent when they investigated the flooded lot next to mine, told Brookfield to drain it and monitor it, and then Brookfield started building on it just 3 short days later! This was after I had repeatedly complained to Brookfield and they would not come out and do anything, including fixing my continual sump pump running problem. At the same time, the county forced them to make my sump pump drain off my property rather than right down an inch or two away from my house!

  36. Censored bybvbl

    Cargo, are you talking about marine clay?

    Anyone interested in the soil composition in different parts of PWC can consult a soils map such as the one linked and then research the particular soil in which he/she is interested.


    My husband and I did this before buying our house because there are soils in the neighborhood unsuited for drainfields.

    In working with a sanitarian to site a drainfield on our property, I became very much aware of how soils can appear quite different depending on the recent amount of rain an area has had, the slope at which water drains, underground springs,poorly graded land, etc. Sometimes soil tests that are a mere ten feet apart drain remarkably differently.

    GR, after your warning, the builder should have looked into that lot more closely. However, the person doing the evaluation initially may have seen the same conditions as you did – dry land.

  37. Censored bybvbl

    Off topic, but more technical data on how lots are developed (with emphasis on grading).


  38. Gainesville Resident

    Thanks for those links, Censored. I will check them out. I will grant the fact that the lots may have been dry when looked at. However, I have a feeling someone expert enough should have seen the whole picture which would include all the things you mentioned: the amount o frain recently, how the land is graded, etc. etc.

    There is no question (and I have the evidence to back me up) that the builder ignored my warnings starting immediately after I moved into my house and we hit a rainy spell that November and the lot next to me flooded. I complained and they did nothing. It froze over and was an ice skating rink that winter. Then in the spring more rains came and it flooded even more. I have pictures showing the water spilling over onto my lot. At that point, after persistent attempts with the builder and them not doing anything, I got the county involved. What is the builder’s solution. 3 days after the county comes out and tells them to drain the lot, they do that and immediately dig it out and start building on it! I have pictures of them putting the basement in while it is raining and water in the basement of that lot.

    Subsequently, that lot has had lots of issues as I mentioned above – the driveway developing huge sinkholes, and the pavement sinking about 8″ to leave that amount of gap between the top of the pavement and the bottom of the steps to the porch. There is something not right there, that much is evident.

    Again, thanks for the link – I had not thought about the type of soil but I will study that info.

  39. Censored bybvbl

    GR, I’ve a friend whose lot has a sink hole on it. It’s on a slight slope and no matter how frequently she and her husband fill the hole (with rocks, stumps, soil) the hole always reappears. We’ve all come to the conclusion that there’s an underground spring or large fissure in some rock which allows groundwater to flow not too far below ground surface washing away/undermining the soil.

    There are marine clays in the eastern part of PWC and I’ve seen reference to black jack clays in the western part but I’m unsure of the location. These soils can be built on with the proper foundation, but that’s an expensive proposition.

    Around my own yard I’ve seen a remarkable change in the water in the soil in a particular area when the direction of water runoff from a road changed. I’ve also walked through wooded areas and been able to feel the differences in solid ground and mushy soil – even on a slope and with no noticeable visual difference. Mother Nature is a mysterious old gal.

    When my husband and I want to find buried electric lines or water pipes or watery soil, we get out our coat hanger divining rods and start walking the land. (This is great fun!)

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