Letters to the Editor, Week of Nov. 7, 2013

Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:50 am

Theater would be a benefit to the county

I have been following the comments made by the opponents of the proposed movie theater in Mechanicsville. They are vocal and they are many.
However, I have also reviewed the documents pertaining to this case, including the Public Impact Statement provided by our Sheriff and the Traffic Impact Statement prepared by Timmons.
Opposition to this movie theater can be summed up by the phrase “not in my back yard.” Generally, citizens who adopt this mind set are reluctant to see the positive benefits of the proposal. They are more concerned about “defeating” the issue than working to improve the plan.
Case in point. The Sheriff’s review of the proposal specifically states he is not for or against the project; he was telling the Board that his resources are thin. As a department head the Sheriff pointed out impact on his manpower, resources, and operations. This is true for all proposed development in the county, not just the movie theater. Yet, the opposition to the project would have us believe that this impact statement was something out of the ordinary. Give me a break! Our good sheriff is placing the Board on notice that for every decision you make there is a price to be paid. In his case he probably will need additional staff and resources….not just for this project but for development in general.
I support the approval and construction of this project. Mechanicsville is long overdue for a movie theater. I urge you to listen to the Hanover Business Council and approve the theater. Revenue generated from this business will easily pay for additional deputies and other resources.

N. Wayne Burgess
Mechanicsville

Will supervisors vote to keep Hanover safe?

Years ago our family moved to Mechanicsville, drawn to the “Hanover quality of life,” most notably good roads when compared to the daily chaos, traffic jams,  and hazards which were apparent on both Broad Street and Midlothian Turnpike.
Over the years, business growth has occurred, and the previous  Hanover Boards of Supervisors always voted to ensure Hanover County and Mechanicsville were safe and special places to live and raise our families.
Nov. 13, our quality of life is threatened by a proposal to add a 12-screen, “super-sized” movie theater, onto a miniature-sized road support system, right next to the Brandy Creek subdivision, (across from Lee-Davis High School) which most assuredly will lead to more traffic jams, accidents and personal injuries, decreased home values for all residents along Mechanicsville Turnpike, and increased crime directly across from Lee-Davis High School, and very close to Stonewall Jackson Middle School, at a time when our Sheriff’s Department is already shorthanded by four positions.
I have reviewed the Traffic Impact Analysis submitted by the proposed theater owner, and also have done my own independent research on the impact of movie theaters in a community. I am more convinced now that this project is the equivalent of trying to force a “round peg into a square hole,” meaning it is the wrong size and wrong location, which would leave thousands of dollars of unfunded liabilities for current and future residents of Hanover County.
In addition, if this theater goes through, we can expect, especially on weekends, all left turns westbound on Mechanicsville Turnpike near Lee-Davis High School, and making turns out of Tractor Supply,  Food Lion  or McDonald’s  onto Lee Davis Road to become “chaotic.”
The question before the Board on Nov. 13  is  not  “Are you opposed to a movie theater in Mechanicsville?”  because quite honestly, speaking for myself, the idea of a right-sized theater at the right location is worth considering.
The true question Nov. 13 is “Are you in favor of a movie theater that will lead to traffic jams, accidents, decreased home values  and increased crime across from Lee-Davis High School, while leaving Hanover citizens with thousands of dollars of unfunded liabilities?” Will this Board of Supervisors listen to and respect the voices of over  600-plus citizens (and growing)  across Hanover County, opposed to this theater proposal,  and vote no and keep Mechanicsville and Hanover County,  safe and “special” places to live and raise our families, for current and future generations.

Mike R. DellaRipa
Mechanicsville

Elated, humbled by Train Day support

Wow. I am elated and humbled by the response to Ashland Train Day 2013, hosted last Saturday by the Ashland Main Street Association.
According to Visitor’s Center Manager Pam Crisp, who dutifully acknowledges each new visitor with a click on her trusty mechanical counter, said there were about 5,000 people at the train station alone.  Train Town Toy & Hobby owner Jim Donlon estimated the total number of attendees at nearly 7,000.
The Virginia Civil War 150 HistoryMobile staff noted it was one of their top five attendance days ever.  The last reported figure was 1,858 visitors to the mobile museum – coincidentally, the same number as the year the Town of Ashland was incorporated.
More remarkable than the attendance figures were the enthusiastic responses from visitors, residents, Randolph-Macon students and business owners that participated.  Katie Kisner, CSX Community Affairs and Safety Manager, wrote: “Your Train Day is among the best train days I’ve participated in throughout the east coast.”
Alexis Thompson, the new Virginia Main Street (VMS) Program Manager, returned to Ashland for Train Day to reunite with her former Harrisonburg band, “Everyday People.”  Her performance was just another marvel that made the day special.  She wrote afterwards:
“I was absolutely blown away by Train Day this year. The activities were amazing, the turnout was amazing.  (VMS Revitalization Specialist) Brad Belo attended with his family and he said that the business participation was extraordinarily high for most Main Street events. He loved how all the doors were open, sales were being made, balloons were given out, etc.  Please, please, please communicate to the businesses that everyone here is talking about how incredible their community spirit is and to continue that participation.
I love that I can brag about you all so much around here.  Ashland has quite the reputation as a shooting star community ready to explode.”
It’s good to know that the Center of the Universe is being noticed by the rest of it.
A huge thank-you to our sponsors, vendors, volunteers, visitors and Main Street Board members who made Ashland Train Day a success.  I won’t dare mentioning names individually because I always forget a few folks.  I’ll leave that to my extraordinarily talented, hard-working and detail-oriented partners, Train Day Chair Bill Gatewood and Promotions Chair Jen Chambers. They deserve full credit for delivering the best Train Day ever!

Tom Wulf
Executive Director, Ashland Main Street Association

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