Prince William Board of County Supervisors

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors is considering a $400 million transportation bond and a $200 million parks bond that could go in front of voters in November.

Prince William County staff presented a list of road and park projects that could be funded if approved at the ballot box. The last bond referendum was in 2006.

At-large Chair Corey Stewart said residents should voice their opinions regarding the proposed bond projects 6:30-9 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, at the Hylton Performing Arts Center.

“People want to make sure it’s affordable and it’s the right mix of projects,” he said.

The board will consider whether to move forward with referendums on June 18, Stewart said.

If approved, the bond would help the county leverage regional, state and federal dollars to stretch the county’s dollar. For example, the 2006 road bond authorized the county to use bond financing for up to $300 million. The county only ended up authorizing bonds for $150 million, because the county leveraged other sources of funding, he said.

INDOOR SPORTS COMPLEX

At the top of a short list of proposals for parks: An $84 million indoor sports complex in eastern Prince William County with a hydraulic 200-meter, six-lane indoor track that would be one of five in the nation.

Other projects proposed Tuesday include a $21.6 million community field house in Brentsville; $10.8 million in improvements to Long Park; $6 million to develop a new dynamic park with an amphitheater in the Neabsco district; $6 million to expand Fuller Heights Park; a $42 million aquatic and fitness center in Woodbridge that would offer residents east of I-95 with a nearby facility; and $23.6 million to fund trails and buy open space throughout the county, said Seth Hendler-Voss, the county’s director of the parks, recreation and tourism department.

Sixteen parents, coaches and athletes told the board they support the county building an indoor sports complex in the eastern end of the county.

The proposed indoor sports complex would be 230,000 square feet, have 3,500 fixed seats, and would cost around $84 million. It could also host high school graduations and provide sports opportunities that would attract visitors to the county. Out of all of the proposed park projects, the complex has the ability to pay for its debt, Hendler-Voss said.

“There is a void for a facility like this in the D.C. area,” he said.

Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, an Olympic gold medalist and Gar-Field High School graduate, said  the complex would provide opportunities for youth and the community in addition to benefiting local businesses.

She said she saw her daughter’s practices cancelled due to conditions in the winter. And being able to compete closer to home will help student-athletes have more balance in their lives, she said.

Calinda Hawkins, Patriot High School’s head track coach, said she has about 110-150 students on her team on average. During this past season, she said the high school spent nearly $3,000 on just entry fees for three indoor track meets.

“Imagine if you have a tournament here,” Hawkins said.

TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS

Staff identified $2.5 billion in mobility projects and narrowed that list down after working with supervisors, said Ricardo Canizales, county transportation director.

Proposed projects include $50 million  to widen Devlin Road to four lanes; $30 million to extend University Boulevard; $300 million for a Route 28 bypass road; $12.5 million for intersection improvements to the Sudley Road corridor; $40 million to widen Route 55 and improve the Catharpin Road intersection; $70 million to add an interchange at Minnieville Road and Prince William Parkway; $15 million for a ramp at Gordon Boulevard and Old Bridge Road; $15 million for intersection improvements at Old Bridge Road and Prince William Parkway; $20 million to expand Summit School Road; a $70 million to expand Van Buren Road; $165 million to improve mobility in north Woodbridge at various locations adjacent to U.S. 1, Route 123, Horner Road, Annapolis Way and Marina Way; and $35 million for other smaller projects, said Canizales. A majority of the projects include bike and pedestrian access.

The proposed projects would create 50 new lanes in the county, 22 miles of bicycle and pedestrian access, and have a total cost of $512.5 million.

For all the projects, the county already has $27.8 million in funding available. The bond would be $400 million, meaning the county would still need $184.6 million in funding to complete the proposed projects, said Canizales.

(8) comments

Tom Fitzpatrick

Two points.

It is long past time that the Eastern End of the County receive a share of the tax dollars proportional to its population, and contribution to the tax base. Many in the Western End believe that they are unduly carrying the burden, which is simply not true. 40 homes on quarter acre lots generate a LOT more tax revenue than 1 home on 10 acres. So, subject to seeing more detail, more equitable sharing of resources, to include addressing the fact that the County is in arrears in its allocations to the Eastern End, is encouraging.

Having said that, spending money for the sake of spending money, or paying for singular extravagances when more modest but more broadly distributed resources would benefit more people, is not a "win." Hydraulic lanes? Again, I suppose I need to see the details, but, it sounds like someone making spending decisions is in love with hydraulics, whether in orchestra pits or track and field pits. Let's be smart about how we spend each dollar.

Which all reminds me of a poster a fellow budget analyst had on his wall when I worked at NASA:

"I either want less corruption in the world, or more of a chance to participate in it."

What I want is more participation, but less corruption, in the broadest sense. Corruption doesn't necessarily mean outright theft. It can mean theft through taxation for foolish expenditures.

insidebugging

This decision involves entirely too much money and responsibility for this bunch of lame ducks to make. Wait till after the elections this November and let the new leadership decide if taking on all the debt is worth it or not.

Haymarket2008

A referendum is a vote by the general public. The BOCS just votes to place it on the November ballot.

Tom Fitzpatrick

It is a lot of money. And, it is fair to want the most accurate representation of the citizens and taxpayers to decide upon it. That's why it is to be decided by ballot, not Board. It will be great fodder for the general election candidates to show where they stand on this, and the broader issues of taxation, and equitable, intelligent use of tax dollars,

411Catharpin

There are many lame duck Supervisors who have their hands in this til but my friends it is great to have champagne dreams but we in PWC are a beer based population. IF, and it is a big IF, the county could sell naming rights to those track/field soccer venues then sure have PWC pay its share but there is NO WAY we should pay for such rich dreams that could end up as tax payer failures. Due to crappy roads, I will not be traveling from the western side to the eastern side for elevated tracks. As far as roads go, folks our grotesques roads and huge impact due to traffic lights is based only upon one thing, over build with no oversight and fewer proferrers to force the developer to pay his fair share like our neighboring counties. LIghts on 234 make that road undrivable and thus it is dying, so folks take Ashton but with all that new development and new stores like Lidl new lights must go up and now that road is undrivable so you take Wellington but that road is a disaster and one can see loads of new development but no road upgrades. Face it folks we have build and spend Supervisors and a truly poorly trained transportation team at the state and county level. We lack responsible leaders in many instances, we lack planning, we think bigger then we can afford and the county is about to face real serious travel and quality of life issues. Of course we can always enjoy over the top in school pianos and school pools while the kids have trailers!

Soily

A while back I received a questionnaire seeking my feedback on recreational facilities in Prince William County. I had a few suggestions, but not even in deepest crevices of my brain did I have an $84 million indoor sports complex with a hydraulic 200-meter, six-lane indoor track on my wish list. That could be because I'm old fashioned and don't think outside the box, or it could be because I pay $6,000/year in property taxes and don't want them to go up anymore.

icrazyhorse

I will not support this extravagant bond issue. PWC does not need this financial burden.

Chip Walker

I think road improvements would be a better choice for this money. I moved here in 1984. With the exception of several traffic lights and a couple intersections with multiple left turn lanes, Dale Blvd has not changed. It's 2 lanes from I95 to Hoadly Rd.
When I moved here Dale Blvd stopped at Princedale. Now it goes through to Hoadly Rd.
I can't say how many more houses, townhouses, and apartments have been built here in the last 35 years, but the roads are not adequate to handle the everyday traffic.
The addition of Benita Fitzgerald from Dale Blvd to Cardinal Dr has overwhelmed Dale Blvd. Trying to get out of the Birchdale subdivision is horrible. If you, the County, wanted to make the thoroughfare to Cardinal Dr, why didn't you build a flyover vs putting another intersection on an already overcrowded road? Yes, there are 2 left turn lanes but the traffic backs up on Dale Blvd creating tie ups back to I95. People also block the intersection while trying to get to Benita Fitzgerald. Putting a flyover would have helped eliminate this problem.
Use the money to fix Dale Blvd. I think the traffic flow and safety are much more important than more sports facilities.

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