Supervisors turn down Woodville Park project

Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Jul 02, 2014 - 02:31 PM

In spite of the pleas of park supporters, the Gloucester County Board of Supervisors decided against pursuing a grant to bring sewer to and construct a well at Woodville Park. The grant would have provided $500,000 for this project, but would have required a matching contribution from the county.

During Tuesday night’s meeting in the colonial courthouse, the board also voted unanimously to reduce the size of the Gloucester Planning Commission from its current 13 members to seven members with one liaison from the board of supervisors.

Woodville Park

Seven residents, including several who have volunteered countless hours developing Woodville Park, spoke at the beginning of Tuesday night’s meeting, asking the board to match $500,000 toward a Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant offered by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

According to parks and recreation spokesperson Katey Legg, if the board had voted to match the grant, the county could have utilized the $55,000 appropriation in the fiscal year 2015 Capital Improvement Plan budget for Woodville Park, along with $120,000 of the tourism reserve fund. Volunteers would have also contributed labor to assist with site preparation and building construction.

“We’re in debt up to our gills,” said York district supervisor Phillip Bazzani. “We have a tax assessment coming up next year and we don’t know what its impact will be on revenue. For us to blatantly spend this money without knowing the fiscal impact is not good financial stewardship.”

Gloucester Point district supervisor Chris Hutson said, “I can’t believe no one on this board has ever taken a chance … this is something for the kids of this county and I think that’s who we should look out for.”

Proponents for water and sewer at the park say it is difficult to attract visitors and sporting events without public restrooms on site.