Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Soccer Fields vs. Police Sub-Stations

At the October 10th meeting the BOE voted to surplus land back to the county to build police sub-stations. The land is at TSHS & Jenifer Elementary . Minutes will reflect in Nov. , Young voted against the motion, & I abstained. Young tried to make an amendment to the motion to delay the Jenifer transaction until we received more information (i.e., impact on soccer community and field size). I seconded the motion but it failed. Young & I were the only two voting yes to the amendment.
As Ms. Young predicted, when we were first informed of this "opportunity," the soccer community started roaring when they found out one of their practice fields was eliminated. These are high-use fields and are in constant use. Yes, we have PLAYING fields, but the powers that be don't like teams practicing on the "good" (playing) fields because then they won't be in proper shape for games. To my knowledge, Jenifer is not used for games. Some coaches have resorted to practicing at fields in PG County. How sad it is that we can't provide sufficient practice facilities for our own youth. How utterly inconvenient for parents who furiously drive home from work only to turn around & drive back up to PG County for their childs soccer practice.
The motion to surplus the land passedbut included a stipulation to retain a soccer field at the Jenifer site. Currently, there is 1 large field & 1 very small field.

The Board was first told that the commissioners approached us & wanted us to surplus these pieces of land to them. In exchange they would renovate the Adult Ed Bldg.
IAfter speaking with a couple of the commissioners we were told the need for substations was discussed publicly but, the commissioners did not approach the BOE; the BOE came to them & "offered up" the land. This was odd. First, the BOE never discussed approaching the commissioners to do this. Second, why would we or staff do that out of the blue? We were never told they were looking for sites for substations. It just wasn?t adding up. This was very conflicting information.
The commissioners said we offered up land first & CCPS staff says the commissioners approached us first. Hmm? Mr. Bailey says Cooper met with him & Richmond near the beginning of Oct. at one of their regularly scheduled meetings. (This may start a whole new thread about transparency issues. Mr Bailey has been asked before to provide the rest of the board with notes from his meetings with Cooper & Richmond so we could all be on the same page. His response, "There are no meetings, so there are no notes.") Hmmm.....
Bailey says Cooper brought up the issue during the regularly scheduled bimonthly meeting in Oct..
Why weren?t we told about that meeting & why weren?t we given information about the issue prior to our board meeting. Bailey says we should have received the information by e-mail and fax prior to the Board meeting. Our secretary says a memo was composed & was originally intended to be distributed 5 days prior to our meeting. After further discussion between Bailey & another staff member it was decided the information would not be sent. They determined the information would be distributed (for the first time) in executive session. We still didn?t receive the written information then either.
We were told this had to be rushed because a state agency must ultimately approve the transaction, & that agency meets at the end of Oct.. If we didn?t vote on it immediately the "deal" would be delayed 3 months.

Please let me know how you feel about removing our youths soccer fields in order to build police sub-stations.

1 comment:

Jennifer Abell said...

Well it appears as though the ?deal? is on hold. The commissioners did not accept what we (the other BOE members) HAD approved and are asking us to remove the stipulations. BOE received a memo dated 10/17/06 from Mr. Wayne Cooper stating

(1) they will NOT be funding the renovations of the Adult Ed Bldg. The BOE will have to include this request in their CIP next CIP budget.
(2) they ?are concerned that locating such a field adjacent to the new substation will create a situation ripe for illegal parking, ingress/egress issues and public safety concerns.?

Therefore the BOE has been asked to remove these two stipulations from the agreement. In other words, just give the land to the commissioners and let them build the substations! If the votes go as they have in the past, this will be passed come Nov. 14th.