Thursday, November 18, 2010

Should Arlington involve the community before continuing partnership discussions?

Letter to Arlington Parks and Recreation from Ruth Shearer

Nov. 17, 2010

I am following up on a letter sent to you regarding the involvement of your department with Bishop O’Connell High School and their Special Use Application U-1159-55-1 and U-2110-77-2.  The Board of Governors of the school has cited the school’s “partnership” with Arlington County, including their plans to renovate their fields and their contribution to the renovation of the Tuckahoe fields.  A recent article in the Gazette newspaper included the Principle of the high school also citing the ‘partnership” with the County.

As I stated in my letter, I do not believe that such a “partnership” should be negotiated without the participation of the residents that are impacted by the proposed changes.  The County administrators and department employees are agents of the residents.  While I understand that your department sees this arrangement with the school as a means to renovate the fields at Tuckahoe, it is clear that your department has not considered the impact or consequences of this massive project to our community.

Numerous residents of the Williams/East Falls Church community have asked for an explanation of this partnership and any agreements between Arlington County Parks and Recreation and Bishop O'Connell High School.  In addition, the residents request an explanation of the County’s plans for Tuckahoe fields, since the County’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan does not address the Tuckahoe fields. The residents request information regarding the process that was used by your Department to determine feasibility of the Bishop O'Connell proposed plan, as well as the results such an evaluation.

The residents also request an explanation regarding the “partnership”, as cited by Bishop O’Connell High School officials, between Arlington County Parks and Recreation and Marymount University.  The school officials have stated that Marymount University is “paying for half” of this proposed renovation.  Although the school officials cite these partnerships in various public forums, no detailed information has been provided to the community.

Please feel free to contact me at 703.298.8716.


Ruth Shearer