New Market Eyes Park Plan
Posted: February 23, 2013
NEW MARKET — A debate flared at the New Market Council meeting this week over the impending decision of whether to accept the 300-acre Zula Wagner property willed to Shenandoah County for a regional park.
In April, the property was bequeathed to the county for use as a regional park. The Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors had a deadline of one year to decide whether to accept the property northwest of New Market at 1399 N. Mountain Road.
The board will revisit the issue at its March 12 meeting after tabling a vote earlier this month. Some supervisors cited concerns that maintenance costs for the park would be too much of an expense to take on and others questioned whether the property’s proximity to the Rockingham County line made it appropriate as a Shenandoah County park.
On Tuesday, Larry Smith, member of the Shenandoah County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, implored the New Market Town Council to support the creation of the park.
“It will benefit the New Market area and improve the quality of life [here],” said Smith, who is also a former mayor of the town.
He said the land could be used for hiking, horse trails, environmental programming or an archery range.
It was designated in the will that the land was to be used for a park and conservation purposes. But if the county does not accept it, the property could be developed.
Supervisor Dick Neese, who represents the New Market area, also addressed council. Neese said the cost was one of the main reasons he was set against accepting the land.
“The timing is not [right],” he said. “I’d much rather see that money put into existing facilities.”
The entrance, he said, would require improvements for heavy use.
Neese also pointed out that every town in the county already has a park.
Mayor Doug Bradley said he’d like to send a letter to the board on behalf of the council in regard to the issue, and asked for a show of hands of who would be in support. A few hands went up, but other council members said they would need more information to decide.
“Right now, we don’t have all the information, but if you asked me if I support it right now, yes I do,” said Councilman Tim Palmer.
Councilwoman Peg Harkness said she liked the idea of a regional park that would draw visitors into the area.
Council members said they will discuss the issue in more depth during a scheduled March 4 committee meeting.
Contact Kaitlin Mayhew at 574-6290 or firstname.lastname@example.org