By Sally Voth
A member of the McLean firm hoping to partner with Front Royal to strategize redevelopment isn't expressing much hope of resurrecting the process.
Tom Conkey, who is listed as a member of the leadership team on Kratos Infrastructure Inc.'s website and is a former Front Royal town councilman, said he was basing his belief on the panel's action Monday.
That's when the Town Council voted 6-0 not to sign a letter of intent to partner with Kratos. Councilman Bret Hrbek had been a vocal proponent of the letter, which mentioned a hospital, solar field, restaurants, hotel and housing as potential redevelopment projects.
Town Manager Steve Burke confirmed that Kratos drafted the letter.
"The letter of intent was developed by Kratos and submitted to the town," he said Wednesday. "[Town Attorney] Doug Napier and I reviewed it and sent them comments and then they provided an updated response to Doug this past Monday."
Burke said trying to work with a business for a public-private partnership was "new to the town."
By voting the same way as his colleagues did, Hrbek preserved his right to bring back the proposal to the council without having to wait the required 12 months.
In a comment posted at nvdaily.com Wednesday, Conkey stated, "Kratos is no longer considering doing anything" in Front Royal.
"With the defeat of this question, the town leaders told Kratos that they are not willing to take the town's future in their own hands," Conkey stated in the comment. "Businesses will continue to move out of town and the tax base will continue to erode. With a smaller tax base, the residents will have to pay more for the same services."
In a Wednesday afternoon phone interview, Conkey said he assumed any deal with the town was off.
"That was the vote, right?" he asked. "At this point, there's nothing to bring back. Yeah, I suppose they could, but I'm not expecting that. It was a decision by the council as far as I understood. It was pretty clear that there was pretty heavy opposition to what we were trying to do."
Conkey said he hadn't been told by any of the council members that they'd like to resurrect the proposal.
"All I can do is assume it's not going to come back," he said.
Conkey said he planned to release more details about the proposed project on Thursday.
Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org