April 6, 2003
Mr. Jim Johnson, Chairman
Prince William County Park Authority
14420 Bristow Road
Manassas, VA 20112
Dear Mr. Johnson:
Thank you for taking the time to participate in last Saturday’s Community Meeting on Lake Ridge Park. The information provided by Park Authority staff was interesting and helpful. We hope that this additional opportunity for the Park Authority to gather feedback from the community will help bring the plans for Lake Ridge Park to a speedy resolution so the maximum number of youth can participate in the program this coming summer.
Many Prince William citizens are committed to protecting the existing woods and much-loved nature trails along the Occoquan Reservoir at Lake Ridge Park. This commitment has been expressed to the Park Authority through citizen comments at the January 25 Community Meeting hosted by Supervisor Griggs, telephone calls, written correspondence and letters to the editor. The community again expressed this commitment at the April 5 Community Meeting.
The Park Authority alternatives presented at the April 5 community meeting included Options 1, 3 and 4 from the list of seven staff alternatives. Mr. Wickham, the Occoquan District representative, announced that he would recommend to the Park Authority the driving range alternative that least impacts the park. This alternative allows the First Tee junior golf program to accommodate more students by expanding the existing hitting stalls from four to 10 and requires the clearing of .025 acres of trees. The existing hiking trails and wooded area would remain intact.
The community may find this alternative acceptable. However, the process to date has raised concerns within the community. Any resolution of this nature would need to include formal assurances that the Park Authority will maintain a long-term commitment to this plan and Lake Ridge Park, including: (1) no future expansion of the golf program; (2) no lights, and; (3) preservation of the nature trails and existing wooded areas, outside the .025 acres required for this proposal.
I was delighted to read in the Washington Post article Groups Rally Against Park Driving Range (April 6, 2003) that the First Tee representative said their “funding could be put toward the cost of operations or running the day-to-day program at Lake Ridge Park,” and that First Tee would not take back the grant. We hope this opportunity will grant access to Prince William youth who might otherwise be unable to participate in this program. Additionally, the Park Authority has expressed concern regarding a reapplication process for this funding and we hope that this information will expedite resolution for the First Tee program at Lake Ridge Park.
Again, thank you for your participation at the April 5 community meeting. We are happy to provide information and assistance at your request to ensure the timely resolution of this issue. Please let us know how we can help. We look forward to hearing from you.
Cc: Prince William County Park Authority Board
R. Griggs, Occoquan District Supervisor
M. Schultz, Citizens for Trees and Trails