Montross may be one of the few towns on the Northern Neck that presently lacks a local park. Mayor Cosgrove has been looking to fix that, and from the looks of things, he’s on his way to succeeding. It was a dream that was tossed around back in May at that month’s meeting of the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors, when Cosgrove unveiled the whole thing to the Board.
The plan was to take a space right next to the Montross branch of the Rappahannock Regional Library, which has long been empty and unused, and convert it into a nice little park for people to use and enjoy, as well as host events. In the month after the idea was pitched to the Board, a lease agreement was whipped up where the County would lease the parcel of land out to the town for a dollar per year for twenty years.
To say the public was in favor of the idea is a massive understatement when the Board brought the matter before the public for their comment. Everyone from the director of the nearby library to the neighbors to residents in the town all stepped forward, speaking at length about how limitless the possibilities with such a space were.
Among the many faces that stepped forward to voice their support was a fellow by the name of Jim Pillsbury, whose words invoked feelings of regret and exhilaration that many will recognize as nostalgia.
“When I was a kid here, I’d get a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, then go out and play all day, not come back until night,” he stated, “You can appreciate what being outside did for us, from physical activity to social interaction. It was a diverse group that played together, and we got an appreciation for the land and nature. A lot has changed since then. You can’t play on someone else’s land anymore like we did. We all knew each other, but today, most neighbors don’t, and it’s unsafe for kids to play like we did.
“Today, kids are weaned on electronics,” Pillsbury continued, “They don’t play outside like we used to, and parents these days even use it like a babysitter. Being able to have a park would be a wonderful thing. Having a park to play in is critical for kids, and this will be a wonderful thing. Think of how it will help develop our community. This park will do much more than give us a place to go; it will help our children to appreciate nature as we do.”
Jerry Davis, of the Northern Neck Planning District Commission, also spoke at length on the topic, stating how important it was to have a public space like this in the middle of a business district such as Downtown Montross, and that it “would be a big positive.”
Larry Hinson was another one to speak up, stating “This is a great idea. Warsaw has one, let’s see if we can make this one better than theirs!”
Chairman Fisher promptly brought the house down, quipping “The fact that it’s in Westmoreland County makes it better already!”
By the time the lease agreement, which was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors, found its way to the Montross Town Council, agreeing on it was pretty much just a formality. There is still much to be done, but this is the first major hurdle that has been cleared.