All News & Blogs
Those opposed to King George County giving land for proposed HELP Center continue to fight board's decision
View More Images from this story
Visit the Photo Place
By CATHY DYSON
King George residents opposed to the county giving land for a nonprofit group to build a social services center are working to get that decision overturned.
Shawn Palivoda, a real-estate agent in Dahlgren, filed a protest with the county May 2, the day after the Board of Supervisors voted to give 5 acres at its Government Center for the HELP Center project.
Palivoda said the action violated the Virginia Public Procurement Act and should be cancelled.
But Kelly Dixon, King George's procurement manager, ruled there was no bid to protest because bids hadn't been requested for the project. Likewise, she said there was no award to cancel because the county hasn't awarded any contract for office space.
"Your protest has been determined invalid," Dixon wrote in her May 7 response, "and will not receive further consideration."
Dixon said she consulted with County Attorney Matt Britton and County Administrator Travis Quesenberry in making the decision.
Palivoda isn't finished. He said he's talking with "tons of people," many in the business community, who are upset because the county's action would take renters away from landlords who provide office space for county agencies.
Palivoda said he's meeting Monday with representatives from a McLean law firm that specializes in government contracts. He'll sue the county, if lawyers determine he has a case.
"Absolutely," he said on Thursday, echoing that he believes it is "fundamentally wrong" to give land to a private, nonprofit group that competes with other businesses.
Project FAITH, the nonprofit group offering to build the center, has brought more than $20 million worth of housing for low-income, disabled and senior residents to King George. The homes have been built at no cost to the county, through state and federal grants and low-interest loans.
Project FAITH Director Fronce Wardlaw would use the same funding methods to build the HELP Center, a 42,000-square-foot building that would cost about $9 million.
Supervisors have been discussing Wardlaw's offer for more than three years. But no residents came forward to complain about it--or ask for a chance to build such a center themselves--until the supervisors got ready to take a vote on giving the land for the center.