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Posted November 22, 2012 | comments Leave a comment

Rotary to sponsor Rockland Park shelter

By Alex Bridges

Warren County's efforts to develop Rockland Park received help from a local group this week.

The Rotary Club of Front Royal has agreed to commit $25,000 paid out over five years to sponsor the construction of a proposed shelter in the park, according to a press release issued Wednesday. The 30-foot by 40-foot covered pavilion would accommodate approximately 50 people, the release notes. County Administrator Douglas Stanley said he hopes construction of the shelter can begin sometime next year.

The county still seeks another individual, business or civic group to sponsor a second shelter in the park. Civic groups have sponsored shelters in Sherando Park near Stephens City and Jim Barnett Park in Winchester.

The Rotary Club chapter has supported other local projects such as the Warren County Skate Park, Freewheeling Way and the Warren County Dog Park at Eastham Park.

County plans call for the 219-acre site off Rockland Road, formerly known as the Fishnet Property, to serve as a regional park facility with numerous amenities and features. The county bought the land in 2009 and began developing a master plan for the Fishnet Property. The county approved the plan in December 2009 after officials collected public feedback.

The county received one response to its request for proposals, advertised in September, to build two shelters, according to Stanley. The site features two existing shelters.

This winter and spring, the Virginia Department of Transportation plans to begin construction of a new paved road designed to access the park property from Rockland Road, Stanley said Wednesday.

Some of the trails already exist on the site, accessible from the Front Royal Golf Club, Stanley noted. The county has applied for a grant to complete a looped trail in the park that Stanley said they hope to build next summer.

Top requested amenities for the park include trails for walking, hiking and bicycling; a disc golf course, primitive camping sites and multi-use athletic fields. The plan as approved calls for the construction of these facilities as well as possible additional amenities such as a recreation center.

"All that stuff is going to take time to build," Stanley said.

The county has leased part of the park property to a construction firm involved in building the nearby Dominion power plant. In exchange for using the land to store materials for the plant project, the firm has agreed to grade the athletic fields for the county, Stanley explained.

Visit Warren County's website to view the Fishnet Master Plan, under the resources menu, and to find more information on Rockland Park. Anyone interested in sponsorship opportunities or who has questions about the park plans can call Stanley at 540-636-4600.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com

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