Letter: County board stifling park’s development
I watched from afar, here in Richmond, the unfolding events of the Mathews Heritage Park in utter dismay. The Mathews County Board of Supervisors’ handling of this certainly has an appearance of borderline legalities. How the board stifled the development of a park and museum for not only the citizens of Mathews, but for Virginia as a whole, is utterly disgraceful!
Never in my life have I witnessed such complete disregard to finding, learning and utilizing all the facts before forcing decisions down upon others. The board’s “order” to Tom Robinson to remove a Facebook page which kept many people up to date on the progress as well as allowing a centralized location in which to draw support to maintain the property certainly seems like a clear violation of the First Amendment.
While I am unsure as to any legality of the neighbors’ enforcing their view that nobody can utilize the roadway to access the property is legal in itself, it would seem to me that whoever owns the road must require right-of-way to one of the other property owners, especially as it appears to have been this way for years now to begin with. Further developments also show that the road in question is also not on their property, which will create further questions.
I certainly understand the neighbors’ concern with legality as to individuals getting hurt and holding them liable, all of which can easily be rectified with clear boundaries of their property line, “no trespassing” signs and such, all of which would be to their benefit if they were so fearful of such legal action against them. It appears that their effort to stop the introduction of this park on their grounds is not well thought out.
I cannot help but question where the board’s ethics lie at this time. My suggestion to the entire board is to read and fully understand your own Code of Ethics and then begin acting like the professionals you’ve been elected to be.
As a citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia and a visitor to Mathews County, I understand the importance that the Heritage Park would be to Mathews. This is a viable venue for people to visit and to gain access to the waterway for the many watersports Mathews is known for. It is also a fantastic way to foster the heritage that so richly formed Mathews into what it is today.
I urge the county’s governing body to allow the Public Access Authority (PAA) and its appointed leaders and volunteers to move forward with this park for the future generations of Mathews and for the citizens of Virginia and beyond to enjoy, learn and promote the Fertile Farms on Smiling Waters!
Matthew T. Kimball