Projects highlighted in state of Warren County address

By Ryan Cornell

FRONT ROYAL — Warren County has experienced a productive year in terms of construction and development projects.

The Dominion Virginia power plant recently hit the 80 percent mark, the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren Regional Jail will fill up with hundreds of inmates in a matter of months, and millions of dollars are being invested in repairing the county’s transportation infrastructure.

Warren County Administrator Doug Stanley presented these current projects and a slew of future ones planned in his state of the county address at a Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce luncheon held at the Holiday Inn & Suites Front Royal Blue Ridge Shadows on Wednesday.

He said it’s been nearly a decade since he presented his last state of the county address.

“It’s always good to talk about what you’re doing as a community and what you’re doing right as a community,” Stanley said following his presentation. “And I think we appreciate the opportunity to talk about what’s going on in Warren County.”

He provided a comprehensive plan update on parks and recreation projects, capital improvement projects, transportation projects and an overview of the county’s finances.

Sharing the results of a citizen survey, he said most residents want to live on a lot two to five acres in size, want to see expanded recreational opportunities, feel that the county has improved in the past five years and feel that commercial development should occur in the U.S. 340/522 corridor.

Recreational projects that he outlined include the playground planned for Rockland Park and the extension of the Eastham Park Trail.

A new middle school on the 25- to 30-acre site off Happy Creek Road, a majority of land which he said was purchased as part of the Leach Run Parkway Project, is in its planning stages. He said it would hold about 800 students.

“It would allow the eighth grade to be moved out of Warren County and Skyline high schools and create additional capacities at each of those schools,” he said.

Stanley said the plan is to request bids for the project this summer and possibly open it by the 2016-2017 school year.

He said that $120 million in the next three years is being invested in transportation projects, including the Morgan Ford Bridge, Gooney Creek Bridge and South Fork Bridge, which is scheduled to be completed in 2017. The Indian Hollow Bridge in Bentonville is scheduled to be completed next year, he added.

Dan Murray, chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, said the state of the county address provided a “transparent” review.

“People can see what the county is factually doing,” he said. “If you don’t see, you take it for granted. This brings it to light.

“It shows that we are a very progressive community, going in the right direction; some things get challenged and questioned why, and that the end, I think he [Stanley] explained why some things have been brought up.”

A state of the town presentation by Front Royal Town Manager Steve Burke is scheduled for May 28.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com