Letter: Change happens; and apologies
Remember a few years ago, when several well-intentioned citizens actually shed real tears lamenting the "fact" that, if certain new developments were allowed to take place on Main Street, civilization as we know it in Mathews would come to an end? It seems that most, if not all, of those fearful skeptics are now happily procuring Kung Pao chicken, groceries, sausage biscuits and coffee at those evil denizens of cultural doom.
It seems that another change has now surfaced that has caused a similar reaction from a small group of citizens that I admire and consider long-term friends. For any unintended anguish that I may have caused them by being the instigator of this anticipated "change," I sincerely apologize. As a Parks and Recreation professional for more than two decades, serving as board chairman in both Henrico and Mathews counties, I have, on many occasions, seen the positive results achieved from providing the community with safe, well-managed and properly maintained parks and recreation facilities. It was this past experience that prompted me to contact Mr. Conrad Hall with a request that he consider donating his Billups Creek home and property for enjoyment by our county’s residents and visitors. The Hall family’s Mathews County roots go deep into the 18th century. It is his desire to provide a quiet and serene environment in which to present our rich maritime history to future generations, while providing a natural setting for putting in kayaks, canoes and small sailboats.
For getting the donor embroiled in what, I thought, would be a universally accepted "gift" by all Mathews residents … I apologize. To all of the volunteers who were prepared and anxious to work on the project … I apologize. To the children and adults who will have to wait a little longer to enjoy a "hands-on" experience at Mathews Heritage Park … I apologize.
I can only hope that, by working together on this wonderful project to make is a reality as soon as possible rather than working against it, those well-meaning detractors will learn they have nothing to fear and everything to be proud of.