Colonial Beach Town Council rescinded Resolution 29-20 on Wednesday at their September meeting. The resolution called for the purchase of playground equipment for Eleanor Park on Irving Avenue as a replacement for Castle Wood Park.
Five of the council members voted to rescind the motion with Dallas Leamon the only “no.”
The fight over Eleanor Park has been ongoing for fifty or more years. What was used as green space, a campground, open space and then a mobile home park for years is sitting open right now.
A former council placed the property for sale receiving two offers over two years. Both offers were withdrawn before they could be finished.
Over the past 10 years alone, the council and Planning Commission have bounced the property, and ideas for its use, back and forth. Colonial Beach Green Space has applied for conservation grants for the property, but lost one due to a member of a past council calling the conservation group Virginia Outdoors Foundation and telling the group the town did not want the grant. This left the group out of that round of funding.
No other offers have been made on the property. Even if the property were to have an offer made, according to two attorneys who have worked for the town, a super majority of votes – six out of seven – council members would have to vote to sell it.
The seated council does not have votes to sell the property. Nor are they likely to, as town citizens are torn over the property. Originally left to the town for the good and enjoyment of the property owners, it has become a more contentious issue than the town’s school system.
However, the town’s grant applications for the property have shown interesting information in the past, as it did show the town meant for it to be green space. A former council claimed this was not true prior to the application being received by a town citizen via the Freedom of Information Act.
Colonial Beach faces a game changing election as three council seats and the mayoral seat are open in November. Six candidates are running for the council seats, only one of whom is an incumbent, Dallas Leamon. Running for the mayor seat are Vice Mayor Robin Schick and Mike Fitzpatrick.
The other candidates for council seats include Caryn Self Sullivan, Alan Darlington, Tom Moncure, Mike Cabrey, and Wayne DiRosario.
Some town residents have called for a referendum on the matter but there is no statute in Virginia that allows that.
Regardless of whomever is elected in November this issue will likely come up during their time in office.