By Alex Bridges
The company that owns the Shenandoah Valley-Herald has put the newspaper's office and adjacent lots, including the Woodstock Main Street Park, up for sale.
Town Manager Larry Bradford announced in a press release on Thursday that the Page-Shenandoah Newspaper Corporation requested that Woodstock remove its "assets" from the park site because of the pending sale of the site next to the Shenandoah Valley-Herald, located at 207 N. Main St.
Bradford said by phone later that day the newspaper company has put five lots it owns up for sale -- including the property occupied by the Valley-Herald and two other parcels. The park occupies two lots, Bradford said.
"It's my understanding they want to sell all five lots," Bradford said.
The properties run from the park on Main Street to Locust Street.
The town made an unsuccessful bid to buy the property for continued use as a park, according to Mayor Jeremy McCleary.
"Since we were there they gave us the opportunity to purchase all five lots," Bradford said.
Randy Arrington, the editor and general manager of the Valley-Herald, the Page News and Courier, and the Warren Sentinel, did not return a call for comment.
Woodstock has used the site for years through an agreement with the property owner as a space for community events.
Asked whether the town sought to find another site nearby, Bradford said no land is available.
"We're struggling with that," Bradford.
The Byrd Newspaper Group made the property available to the town in 2001. Woodstock officials negotiated a no-fee lease for use of the land to commemorate the town's 250th anniversary in 2002. The town erected flagpoles on the park site as a memorial to victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
However, the town plans to move the assets to an area in the larger W.O. Riley Park, Bradley stated. The new site can accommodate event participants more comfortably. The space in the larger park is located near parking, restrooms, picnic areas and a playground, according to Bradford. The town manager said the move presents an opportunity to expand the events and make space available for other groups to use.
The town owns gazebos, fencing, flagpoles and other items at the site, which workers likely will start removing and take to the new park area next week, according to Bradford. The town had installed a circular sidewalk by the poles.
Woodstock Enhancement Coordinator Jane Beasely noted in the release the town has enjoyed the use of the park for the past 11 years, during which time it served as the site for events such as Music on Main. Beasely stated that the new setting will allow the town to promote the community and expand the events it can offer.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org