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Stafford Board of Supervisors reviews parks bond projects
Stafford recently put a net over the Smith Run Park playground in Garrisonville to protect kids from balls hit from nearby fields.
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BY KATIE THISDELL
Costs for some of Stafford County's parks projects are higher than was anticipated three years ago, supervisors have learned.
The proposed Chichester and Musselman parks and existing Curtis Memorial Park will receive proceeds from the 2009 parks and recreation bond referendum, among other projects. County voters approved borrowing up to $29 million for these projects.
Supervisors met in a special meeting last week to hear updates on the projects, and decided to move forward on a rectangular athletic field complex as quickly as possible.
The county has not yet issued any bonds, but has instead used capital funds for the county's share of smaller projects, such as the Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail.
"That leaves some room to re-arrange projects, but we do have to be mindful of the restrictions that are in place because of the actual bond questions," said Maria Perrotte, Stafford's chief financial officer.
The $29 million can be divided to cover the approved projects in any manner, but it cannot be used for anything that was not part of the original referendum.
That means the money could not be used if supervisors decided to build a new pool instead of renovating Curtis Park Pool near Hartwood.
However, the amounts that were identified for each of the eight projects can be altered by spending more or less on the projects.
So far, $1 million in cash has been spent for planning Chichester and Musselman parks, as well as for land acquisition and various other parks projects. That could be reimbursed by the bond sale proceeds, leaving $28 million in the fund, or it could be spent on top of the original amount.
Four softball/Babe Ruth Baseball League diamonds and a one regulation baseball field are planned for Chichester Park, adjacent to Stafford High School. The bond provides $6.7 million, but Parks and Recreation Director Chris Hoppe said the project's cost estimate is now $8.5 million.
"It was known it would be phased implementation," Hoppe said. "Either we build less, or fund it with more" money to supplement the bonds.
Stafford County has not yet used any of the $29 million in bond money that voters approved in the 2009 referendum for local park improvements. The funds can be used only on projects that were approved by voters.
Development of Chichester Park next to Stafford High for a five-field baseball complex and related facilities. The bond funding level is $6.7 million, but costs now come to $8.5 million. The site development plan was submitted to the county in April.
Development of Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail, the Dominion Virginia Power Easement Trail between Courthouse Road and Garrisonville, west of Interstate 95, and the Cannon Ridge Trail, west of Belmont along the Rappahannock River.
Development of Musselman Park for baseball fields, rectangular fields, trails, playground, picnic shelter, restrooms, parking and related facilities. A public input meeting was held in December, and the county is now starting its master plan for the park along Truslow Road.
Development of a rectangular athletic field complex. The county is looking at several sites roughly between Truslow Road and Courthouse Road, west of I-95. Supervisors reviewed choices during closed session Tuesday.
Improvements to existing parks, including renovations to playgrounds, picnic shelters, trails, courts, handicapped accessibility and signs.
Renovation or reconstruction of Curtis Park pool.
Development of Phase II of Duff McDuff Green Park off State Route 3 east.