Rec Site Gets Public Hearing

RIDGEWAY – Town Council voted unanimously at their Feb. 12 meeting to host a public forum on the issue of whether or not to ask the County to consider relocating a proposed District 1 recreation facility into the town limits.

Currently, the County is planning to construct the facility on approximately 10 acres of land just beyond the town limits on Highway 21 S. near Smallwood Road, adjacent to a County recycling center. Since December, however, Ridgeway Councilman Russ Brown has been advocating for property at Church and Means streets, site of the former Ridgeway School and the former Town Hall.

While Brown’s fellow Council members have warmed to the idea, a handful of citizens have spoken out against the move, citing traffic, noise and aesthetic concerns. Councilman Donald Prioleau has also advocated for the move, saying Ridgeway makes the most sense as it is the hub of District 1. At a joint meeting with County representatives on Jan. 28, Prioleau also said it might be less expensive to build the facility on the Town’s property. Unlike the proposed Highway 21 site, which would require extensive tree removal and grading, the Ridgeway site is essentially ready to build. Furthermore, he said, the Ridgeway site already has water and sewer available; the Highway 21 property does not have a sewer connection.

District 1 County Councilman Dan Ruff said during the Jan. 28 meeting that a third option, to build the facility at Rufus Belton Park, approximately 9 miles out of town at 5087 Park Road, might be on the table. Ruff also suggested a final public forum before Ridgeway makes a decision.

During Council’s Feb. 12 meeting, Dee Dee Ruff urged Council to hold such a forum.

“There are good things that could come from a facility inside of town and there are also bad things that could come from having a facility inside town,” she said, “and you need to openly air those, frankly discuss them and carefully examine them. It’s a big decision and once you make it, it can’t be easily undone, if at all.”

The forum will be held Feb. 24 at Town Hall at 6 p.m.

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