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Posted March 14, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Kratos issues statement on Front Royal project

By Sally Voth

The McLean firm at the center of an apparently defunct redevelopment plan with Front Royal has issued a statement regarding the controversy surrounding it.

Tom Conkey, who is with Kratos Infrastructure Inc. and a former councilman who didn't seek reelection to the Front Royal Town Council last May, released the statement Thursday.

On Monday, the Town Council rejected a letter of intent that described potential development that could have included a hospital, solar field, housing, restaurants, hotel and medical office building.

Debate surrounding the proposal gave "rise to comment and innuendo based solely on conjecture, speculation and ignorance of the facts surrounding the intentions or expectations of all those involved," the statement says.

The letter of intent was to "initiate conversation" on possible business and infrastructure development, it states.

"The intent was that Front Royal would decide on and develop a long-term business plan that would encompass what Front Royal saw as relevant and desirable," the statement says. "Kratos was simply there to assist in defining economic facilitation in order to stay within the framework of acceptable financing options."

Those options would not include tax burdens on the residents, or be dependent on state and federal funding, according to the statement.

"Our role in all of this was to simply assist in defining and facilitating Front Royal's goals ... not to become a beast of burden," it states.

Councilman Bret Hrbek had championed the potential partnership to his colleagues, but ultimately voted against signing the letter of intent. He cited some legalities that needed clearing up for his vote, as well as protecting his right to bring the matter back without waiting 12 months by going along with the majority opinion.

Councilman Daryl Funk came out in vocal opposition on Monday. On Tuesday, he cited the scope of the project and the lack of clarity regarding funding as partially why he was against it.

"This project seems to radically change from presentation to presentation," Funk said. "We don't even know what projects are being proposed."

In a Thursday afternoon phone interview, Conkey didn't elaborate much beyond the statement. He said the firm doesn't consider itself consultants, but is made up of individuals with various types of expertise.

"The depth of our company comes from the companies that we're working with," Conkey said.

These can include architectural, engineering, construction and construction management firms, he said.

"It will be different for every project and every community," Conkey said. "We try to pull together the very best of the industry that's available. I spent 30 years in procurement, and that's what we're doing here, is finding the best people to come together and do the work."

The only project Kratos -- which is managed by former Front Royal Town Manager Michael Graham -- has publicly discussed is a $60 million one in Seat Pleasant, Md.

"We've got some other projects that we're looking at and talking to people, but I'm not willing to name any other ones at this point," Conkey said.

For Kratos' full statement, please go to nvdaily.com.

Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or svoth@nvdaily.com

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