A water line to nowhere.  What a great line and one which  pretty much describes the $1.5 million dollar expense to construct a water line from somewhere to Long Park.  The annual operation costs are estimated to be $166,000.

There must be something I am missing.  The county says the water to the fields tests negative for nasty microbes.  The little library is closing in the fall.  The county also reports that digging another well is a far cheaper expenditure and that it will solve the problem.  So why is a water line going in?

Where is the money coming from?  If I heard correctly, it is coming from Gainesville proffers?  What about all the other parks?  Is their fair share being siphoned off?  How about Silver Lake?  It’s still crappy.  You sure can’t get potable water there.

Ben Lomond soccer fields also do not have water.  Splash Down might, since it is an aquatic center but the soccer fields do not have fountains.  Parents and kids bring their own.  It’s been that way for years.  Apparently toting your own water to not good enough for those using Long Park athletic fields.  Big Government should be providing “the chosen” with water.  Deer Park just isn’t good enough.

Dig a new well for the sports fields.  Give the little library bottled water until the new library opens up in a different location.  Hmmmm….did I say new library?  Gainesville Magisterial District now will have 3 libraries.

So how does the proffer money work?  Do individual supervisors get to keep the money within the district and spend it on their pet projects?   Aren’t proffers legally attached to specific rezonings?   How can you take park money  specifically proffered to the Braemar development rezoning dedicating to creating Catharpin Park and give it to Long Park?   Some proffer money is general.  Isn’t the money supposed to be shared among all parks and open space?

These are some of the questions PWC residents need to be asking.  It sounds like they are being fleeced and they are getting a water line to no where.

17 thoughts on “Water line to nowhere

  1. Mom

    Moon, I expect better from you. Typically you don’t cut corners by not doing your homework, but that certainly appears to be the case here. Lets get a couple of things straight.

    1. The cost of the water line, which is the only part funded, is not $1.5 million but roughly $600,000.

    2. The annual operating cost is roughly $35,000 not $166,000.

    3. The water line will service the public restrooms in the park, the neighborhood library and the equestrian ring, all of which have children using the water.

    4. The neighborhood library will be converted to use as a summer camp for kids.

    5. The “somewhere” from whence the line will tie in is either the existing line along Rt. 15 immediately in front of the park or from Battlefield H.S., take your pick, I don’t know which but it doesn’t matter since they are both immediately adjacent.

    6. The county says the wells have tested negative for the past six months because the wells were shut down from October through March and thus not tested.

    7. Test results provided to PWC show that bacteria was found to be present on 3/30/15.

    7. On April 17 the Department of Health proposed allowing the library “to resume providing bottled water for drinking and a portable hand washing station, while posting a notice to consumers to not drink the water”.

    So how do all of the wrong numbers get out there, according to Mrs. Peacor it is because she was “confused”. For example, she stated that the county “had spent hundreds of thousands to fix the well” because she “confused” that “with the cost to put the water line out to Long Park (there are many numbers in my head right now) which will cost hundreds of thousands to complete”.

    She says confused, I have a different take. That take can be expanded to several other who testified to the expenses, test results, etc., etc., etc., with the exception of Mr. Bruun who was clearly caught in the middle and delicately trying to tell the truth without throwing the CXO, Parks Administration and others under the bus. But then again, this is what usually happens when staff starts playing politics.

    You (and others) may know commence with the caterwauling asserting that this is simply another attack on staff by “people who wander into line item muck and just assume they know better than staff”. Go ahead, because often times we do know better than staff and in many instance (this one included) have the documentation/confessions to back it up. Some are just too blind to see the handwriting on the wall or in this case in the test results or county e-mails.

  2. I got my information from the BOCS meeting on April 21st. That is pretty recent homework.

    I feel that favoritism is being shown. Not much works at Ben Lomond soccer fields. We do have a men’s room and women’s room but it isn’t at the soccer fields. The water facilities are in the picnic area which is pretty lame but does get rented out. Trust me, the water provided is for the paying customers, not the kids.

    So is it ok with you that proffers are used in your neck of the woods but not in mine? How do you feel about the long term neglect of Silver Lake? That money could sure give Silver Lake a face lift.

    Do you not agree that drilling another well is the more conservative way to go?

  3. Too bad that money can’t be put in to Silver Lake. There is no potable water there that I have ever seen.

    That was dropped like a hot potato. $1.5 million would go a long way towards fixing Silver Lake. I find it interesting that one supervisor pours money into Rainbow Riding and another pours money into Long Park.

    Poor Silver Lake must be the ugly step child.

    Tell me again why those using Long Park can’t bring their own bottled water like every other place in the world does?

  4. Mom

    Moon, it would seem you weren’t taking good notes as those new numbers were presented Tuesday night, a week after the erroneous ones were asserted. Perhaps both you and I shouldn’t try and follow those meetings with a snifter of single malt in our hands. It may make the meetings easier to handle but it does sometimes muddle things up, particularly after the third or fourth dram. That being said, I suspect the correct numbers were only provided as the previous assertions were quickly called into question based on existing information and data.

    As to Ben Lomond, it like Long Park has public water facilities that are largely limited to a single location. I would have to check the new building codes to see if anything has changed in the last couple of decades (and would assume they have) but both parks are old and I’m not surprised at the limited facilities. That is however not the case in many parks in other magisterial districts.

    That being said, you know full well that land use and proffers have always been my principal focus in PWC (above and beyond all else including liberals/conservatives/staff). You are correct that Silver Lake has been neglected, so too have been Long Park and Ben Lomond. Cathairpin has been subject to delay after delay, etc., etc. etc. At the same time, parks in the rest of the county are routinely funded, both for capital costs and operational expenses.

    In this instance the use of proffers is absolutely acceptable unless you consider that the “repairs” are to address a decades long public health hazard that should have been addressed long ago.

    The sad truth is that the Gainesville District is and has been the bastard step-child when it comes to the allocation of park funds, virtually everything in recent years has been funded by proffers restricted to use in the Gainesville District. If you want to point a finger at anyone (and I have been following and documenting this for going on two decades) you need to look no further than the PWC Parks Mafia headed by “Don” Jenkins and his capo “Pockets” Nohe. The two of them have steered the parks allocations toward the east end for years, occasionally cutting a deal with Wally in exchange for other considerations. This isn’t anything new and predates Candland as they used to do the same thing to Stirrup. The minutes are replete with examples and this year’s actions are simply more of the same.

    As for drilling being the more conservative option, ordinarily I might agree however, the problem lies in the ground water itself and soils that limit its movement. Simply digging another well in the vicinity will likely provide water with the same contaminants, either immediately or in the near future. I don’t believe the source has been identified but I would be willing to wager it has something to do with a failed septic field.

    1. Which of course, brings up another question. How safe is the soil that kids are playing on? Ben Lomond is regularly under flood water. I would like to see a soil test there also.

      I don’t like soccer fields being counted as open space anyway but don’t get me started on that.

      So again, how much is it really going to cost? I have gotten to the point when Pete starts braying, which is every 5 minutes, I go in to shut down mode. It’s an automatic physical response.

      Lastly, who would ever attempt to listen to a BOCS meeting without Scotch? It doesn’t even have to be single malt.

  5. I asked a lot of questions that have gone unanswered, especially about the use of proffers.

    I am not so sure the exact amounts are the issue here, in fact. For starters, if Pete hadn’t been so combative with the rest of the board, he might have been able to see the Long Park idea and not had to resort to the use of proffers. That is the part I find baffling.

    I await being enlightened as to how that is really going to work and what really happens with proffers. How are they tracked? I simply do not know.

  6. Pat.Herve

    @Mom
    Mom – I listened to the board meeting from April 16. The numbers were $165K a year ongoing costs and around $1.2-$1.5 Million to bring water and sewer to the park. They said that there was no intended future use of the Mini Library (perhaps storage) after it closed. The bathroom well has passed its testing after it was chlorinated and the Library well is potable, although with a caution.

    Why bring water and sewer – it is only the water that is the problem. I will review the latest meeting and if the costs have changed, I might be in a better mood to support it – but at $1.5 Million, it is very much not the conservative thing to do – close the fountains and sinks.

  7. Mom

    Moon, first and foremost, drink anything but a single malt scotch is a sin regardless the professed rationale.

    Don’t get me started on soil testing, if you think Ben Lomond is bad you would be shocked at the “free” fill dirt used at Catharpin Park. Thanks to Wilbourne the fill dirt those kids now play on was excavated from the railroad yards in Alexandria, think PCBs, heavy metals, arsenic, etc., etc., etc.

    I agree with on the soccer fields credit as open space and would suggest that a large percentage of those proffers you are concerned about went into various soccer fields in the Brentsville District. You can thank the former supervisor for that.

    Proffers are tracked separately from the rest of the county funds/revenues and they can expire. The planning office tracks them but I have always had concerns as to how they are allocated. With regard to your comment on the other thread, I can work with anybody, left, right or otherwise and will offer my particular skill sets if I believe the goal is in line with my world view. Thus I can work with Pete, Jeanine, Gil, Alyson and of course Elena.

    P. Herve, the numbers changed during the presentation on the 21st, after Peacor admitted in an e-mail that her previous numbers were wrong because she was “confused”. She was apparently “confused” about the well test results as well as they show positive findings on 3/30/15. The Parks Director was also “confused” about the future use of the mini-library. Lastly, the new plan is for water only, not sewer.

  8. Wombat

    I now understand what I’ve been doing wrong. I’ve been relying on mere wine to get me through these meetings. Single malt from now on.
    Regarding the numbers, I stated in an earlier post that is was painfully clear that every member of the board, the CXO, and various staff members were ALL confused about the exact nature of the problem and what it would take to fix it during the markup session meeting. It was a little more clear on the 22nd and, as @Mom states, the proposed “fix” now only brings water and not sewer so the cost is lower than originally stated for the “non-well” option. I don’t pay enough attention to parks to be able to speak intelligently about how they are handled/paid for/prioritized. It seems to me that every park should have access to clean, potable water and adequate restrooms. Every. Park. The devil in that little detail is what it always is — how much does that cost and who will pay for it?

  9. Lyssa

    What, free water? Only RHinos support that.

  10. Pat.Herve

    @Mom
    Mom – help me out here – where do I find the new numbers – look at the recorded sessions and could not find them – can you direct me to the video/source? Thanks.

  11. Mom

    @Pat.Herve
    You can either watch the meeting or wait for the briefs to be posted.

  12. I find it problematic that only one person supposedly knows all the right answers here. If the information had been communicated effectively we would all be dealing with the same set of facts. Now we might not all agree on the desirability of these facts but we wouldn’t still be arguing over what these facts are.

    If you watched both meetings and read the local papers like I did, you should know what is going on. I have been told pretty much that I am clueless.

    Maybe there should have been a public hearing or something. Gainesville money should have an easy to read paper trail.

    I find the fact that supposedly only one person knows the real fact to be problematic.

  13. I also want to know if there was spare money why some of it wasn’t diverted to Silver Lake.

    No potable water. No trash cans. Pot holes that could break an axle. The good news is, Silver Lake is such a blemish that no one goes there.

    Elena and I have howled over Silver Lake until we are blue in the face. Good picnic areas cant be accessed by cars. Poison ivy grows rampant in the summer. That friggin middle school sits right on top of the lake.

    Funny how there is money for the soccer moms but not for the fishing moms.

  14. Pat.Herve

    @Mom
    I watched the video’s of the meeting. Please direct me to the date and time frame where it was discussed at the lower numbers. I cannot find it – sometimes I can get confused so that is why I am asking to direct me to the information – otherwise, it remains $1.5 Million in my mind.

  15. Boy from the 'hood

    I hope Candland doesn’t allow his children to fill up water bottles in ANY bathroom. That’s really not too sanitary.

    Why don’t Haymarket and Gainesville kids bring bottled water?

  16. clueless

    Mac and Mom get all of the information ahead of the rest of us. When you are absolutely right about everything it is easy to be blind to the hypocrisy of your positions. Lets scream and go on and on about burying power lines in Woodbridge and then whine about water for the children. All while hijacking the budget process, getting everything you want, and then voting against it all to keep your street cred.

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