Shenandoah Supervisors To Decide On 300-Acre Gift

Posted: March 26, 2013

The Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors will decide tonight whether to accept 300 acres near Timberville bequeathed to the county last year.


When Zula Wagner died in April 2012, she willed most of her farm to the county for use as a regional park. The board had a deadline of one year to decide whether to accept the property, located in the southern end of Shenandoah County at 1300 N. Mountain Road.


Deciding whether to accept such a gift may seem simple, but some board members say the issue is more complicated than it looks.


Supervisor Dick Neese, who addressed New Market Town Council about the issue in February, said he thought the property may be too far out of the way to be of use as a county park.


The cost of improving the land and maintaining such a park, he said, also is a concern.


“The timing is not [right],” Neese said. “I’d much rather see that money put into existing facilities.”


In addition to maintenance and security costs, the parcel would require county funds to improve the entrance to accommodate increased vehicle traffic that would be created by a park.


Pam Sheets, director of Shenandoah County Parks and Recreation, made a presentation to the Board of Supervisors in January imploring members to accept the land.


If the board chooses not to take the gift, the land could potentially be opened to development.


Sheets noted in her presentation that accepting the property would set a positive precedent for land conservation and create a space for larger events and gatherings. She also said the park could be developed in phases, funded as money and grants became available.


In other business, the board also will consider a funding request tonight for the Toms Brook Fire Department. The money would be used to renovate its living quarters, which were deemed inadequate by a fire marshal last year.


The board meets at 7 p.m. in the county board room of the Shenandoah County Government Center at 600 N. Main St., Woodstock.


Contact Kaitlin Mayhew at 574-6290 or

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