By Kim Walter
Warren County is looking to acquire 3.19 acres along Rt. 638 to be used as a kiss-and-ride bus stop.
The two lots totaling more than 3 acres is under the management of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and is part of the G. R. Thompson Wildlife Management Area on Freezeland Road.
In November 2009, County Administrator Doug Stanley wrote to a property manager with the department and thanked her for coming to Warren County to look at the site. At the time, Stanley asked for permission to improve two areas located on the property for use as a school bus drop off and kiss-and-ride parking.
The areas would feature a bus loop, shelter and parking for parents' vehicles, since buses don't travel on the area's numerous gravel and dirt roads.
"As you can see from the attached maps, there are literally hundreds of lots in the surrounding subdivisions that feed out to Route 638," Stanley wrote. "Unfortunately the area is lacking in adequate parking and presents some safety issues for students getting on and off the bus."
Stanley also said the improvements would help the department in that it would provide "more formalized parking for the wildlife area."
Three years later, Stanley reached out to Sen. Mark D. Obenshain, asking for his support of the land transfer.
"Currently our public schools pick up children at a number of informal bus stops along Route 638," Stanley wrote in a letter dated Nov. 15. He again cited inadequate parking and safety issues as reasons for land improvement.
"Due to the large number of homes and potential home sites in the area, we need to find a permanent solution to the problem," Stanley wrote. "We have recently developed a site at High Top Road, a couple miles south of the site in question, but we still need one in this area to accommodate the children farther up the mountain."
Representatives of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries are supportive of the request, according to Stanley.
"The project is one that truly exemplifies cooperation between the state and its localities for the benefit of our citizens," he said.
Last week, Obenshain introduced a Senate bill to authorize the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries to convey certain lands in Warren County. Approval is needed from the governor and secretary of natural resources, and consultation will be sought between the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Warren County Board of Supervisors.
Contact staff writer Kim Walter at 540-465-5137 ext. 191, or firstname.lastname@example.org