No threat to Amer­ica’s pas­time in Amissville

County has ‘no in­tent’ to elim­i­nate base­ball pro­gram at Stu­art Field

Rappahannock News - - FRONT PAGE - By John Mc­caslin Rap­pa­han­nock News staff

It all be­gan with an ar­guably poorly worded posting by the Rap­pa­han­nock County gov­ern­ment an­nounc­ing a spe­cial meet­ing this week to dis­cuss pos­si­ble “dis­po­si­tion” of a pop­u­lar county-owned youth base­ball field.

Which, not sur­pris­ingly, was im­me­di­ately fol­lowed with a Face­book posting by Amissville res­i­dent Page Glen­nie: “Next Thurs­day, 21 Septem­ber 2017, at 10 a.m. the Rap­pa­han­nock County Board of Su­per­vi­sors has called a Spe­cial Meet­ing. On the agenda is ‘Dis­cus­sion and Po­ten­tial Ac­tion re. Lease Agree­ment between Rap­pa­han­nock County and the Rap­pa­han­nock Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion, Inc., for prop­erty in Amissville known as Stu­art's Field.’”

The lease, as Glen­nie pointed out, au­to­mat­i­cally renews un­less

ei­ther party gives writ­ten no­tice be­fore Oct. 1.

“The only ‘Po­ten­tial Ac­tion’ is to give no­tice not to re­new the lease,” opined Glen­nie. “Why would any­one in the county gov­ern­ment not want to re­new the lease for these ball fields and deny our chil­dren a recre­ational fa­cil­ity that costs our county noth­ing?”

The posting gen­er­ated con­sid­er­able emo­tion among county res­i­dents from here to Culpeper.

But Rap­pa­han­nock County Parks Author­ity Chair­man Ron Makela as­sures this news­pa­per’s read­ers and young base­ball play­ers alike that no­body is eject­ing any­body from the base­ball di­a­mond.

“Ab­so­lutely not,” Makela re­acted. “The county has no in­tent of elim­i­nat­ing the base­ball pro­gram. In­stead, we want to bet­ter uti­lize the build­ing that’s up there.”

Re­fer­ring to a for­mer Ru­ri­tan build­ing owned by the county that “has a large meet­ing space [and] hand­i­cap-ac­ces­si­ble bath­rooms,” Makela said. “Why is the county not us­ing this?”

Makela re­called that it was then-Rap­pa­han­nock County Ad­min­is­tra­tor Deb­bie Keyser who alerted him to the fact that the Stu­art Field lease was com­ing up for re­newal and she said it might be­hoove the county to re­view it for the first time in 10 years.

Mean­while, a county of­fi­cial fa­mil­iar with how to­day’s spe­cial meet­ing came about said the orig­i­nal and still pri­mary pur­pose was to re­view ap­pli­ca­tions for the county ad­min­is­tra­tor’s post, which from a per­ma­nent stand­point has been va­cant since Keyser’s de­par­ture sev­eral months ago. The ap­pli­ca­tion dead­line was Sept. 16.

The of­fi­cial ex­plained that to­day’s meet­ing was the first op­por­tu­nity for the board to re­view the ap­pli­ca­tions and choose which can­di­dates to in­ter­view in the fu­ture.

The parks author­ity dis­cus­sion was added to­day be­cause the 10-year lease between the county and the Rap­pa­han­nock Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion to use the field ex­pires on Dec. 31, but the of­fi­cial no­tice pe­riod to re­new the lease ex­pires on Sept. 30.

In ad­di­tion, per the lease, ei­ther party has the right to de­clare that they do not wish to re­new the lease on Jan. 1, but they must state their in­ten­tions by Oct. 1. If both par­ties re­main silent then the lease au­to­mat­i­cally renews for an­other term.

It’s ac­tu­ally a “pru­dent” thing to do, said the of­fi­cial of to­day’s Stu­art Field lease re­view, even if some are now “up in arms and as­sum­ing the worst.”

Stu­art Field is used pri­mar­ily by play­ers from the Rap­pa­han­nock Culpeper Base­ball league.

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