By Patty hardee Spe­cial to the Rappahannock News County re­news Stu­art Field lease

Rec chair re­signs, cit­ing ‘no con­fi­dence’

Rappahannock News - - FRONT PAGE -

The Rappahannock County Board of Su­per­vi­sors has voted unan­i­mously to re­new the Rappahannock Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion’s (RAA) lease of Stu­art Field in Amissville.

The vote in fa­vor of a fiveyear ex­ten­sion of the lease was recorded at a spe­cial meet­ing of the BOS orig­i­nally con­vened to con­sider ap­pli­ca­tions for a per­ma­nent county ad­min­is­tra­tor. That po­si­tion has been va­cant since Deb­bie Keyser re­signed in July. Brenda Gar­ton, the in­terim ad­min­is­tra­tor, is lead­ing the search for a can­di­date to fill the po­si­tion.

Gar­ton added the lease con­sid­er­a­tion to the agenda when it was learned that a de­ci­sion had to be made on the lease by Septem­ber 30. The next su­per­vi­sors meet­ing, sched­uled for Oct. 2, would have been too late for a vote.

The county leased Stu­art Field to the RAA in 2008 for 10 years with op­tions to re­new for two five-year ex­ten­sions. The fa­cil­ity is used by Rappahannock and Culpeper youth for base­ball games.

More than two dozen peo­ple — mostly RAA sup­port­ers — at­tended the meet­ing, which ap­peared to sur­prise the su­per­vi­sors. The Vis­i­tor’s Cen­ter build­ing, which is un­der­go­ing ren­o­va­tions, could not hold a crowd of that size, so the meet­ing was con­ducted out­side on the lawn.

A Face­book post­ing last week by Amissville res­i­dent Page Glen­nie sug­gested the in­tent of the county su­per­vi­sors was to get rid of the Stu­art ball fields.

Ad­di­tional ru­mors over the last week men­tioned the pos­si­bil­ity of the RAAC Com­mu­nity Theatre tak­ing over what is known as the Ru­ri­tan build­ing at Stu­art Field. RAAC, which holds its per­for­mances in the more cen­trally lo­cated county seat of Wash­ing­ton, de­nies it was ever in­ter­ested in tak­ing over the build­ing.

Com­menters on the county’s email list­serv, Rap­pNet, Face­book and a Culpeper news­pa­per story pointed fin­gers at Amissville res­i­dent Ron Makela, chair of the of the Rappahannock County Re­cre­ation Fa­cil­i­ties Author­ity. The RCRFA man­ages the re­cre­ation cen­ter across Route 211 from the Town of Wash­ing­ton.

Hours after the BOS vote to re­new the lease on Stu­art Field, Makela re­signed from RCRFA. His let­ter res­ig­na­tion sub­mit­ted to Gar­ton read in part:

“The County has owned the ‘Stu­art Field’ prop­erty for 10 years and has done noth­ing to take ad­van­tage of the ben­e­fit that could be de­rived from the old Ru­ri­tan build­ing as a com­mu­nity gath­er­ing space for all the cit­i­zens of the County.

“This was a project I felt the RCRFA could take on, and at no ex­pense to the tax­pay­ers, fin­ish the work that needs to be done and make it avail­able for use by non prof­its, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4H, Com­mit to be Fit and through user fees to pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als and groups.

“As a re­sult of the vote taken on Fri­day, Septem­ber 21 by the BOS, that op­por­tu­nity is lost. I con­sider the vote to be a ‘no con­fi­dence’ vote in re­gards to the RCRFA and my lead­er­ship abil­i­ties and there­fore ten­der my res­ig­na­tion ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately.

“I will con­tinue my vol­un­teer work with the many other county or­ga­ni­za­tions I en­joy work­ing with through­out the year.”

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