County leaders back battlefields group plans

WOODSTOCK — Shenandoah County leaders on Tuesday backed a battlefields group’s efforts to keep moving forward on an area trails project.

The Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 at its regular meeting to adopt a resolution of support for the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation’s application for federal grant money to help cover the cost of a project aimed at creating a network of trails and interpretive links in the northern part of the county.

In the same action, the board approved an agreement that includes conditions on the county and the foundation if either party pulls out of, or causes the other to withdraw from the project.

As board Chairman David Ferguson explained, if the foundation pulls out of the project then the organization would have to reimburse the state for any money it spent up to that point. If the county withdraws, the county would have to repay the state, according to the agreement.

The foundation plans to apply to the Virginia Department of Transportation for up to $546,526, of which the organization must pay $136,631 as a 20 percent match. The money would come as transportation alternative funds through the federal Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century program.

Foundation Director of Conservation John D. Hutchinson V presented the board with information about the request on Jan. 13. At the meeting, an agreement was requested between the parties concerning any withdrawal from the project and who would pay the money back to the state.

The resolution states that the supervisors request that the Commonwealth Transportation Board continue to fund the project aimed at identifying, rehabilitating, interpreting and protecting the historic transportation corridors in battlefield areas in Fisher’s Hill, Cedar Creek and Strasburg.

Also at the meeting, the board:

  • Granted an easement to Dominion Virginia Power across property occupied by a Toms Brook-Maurertown Sanitary District pump station. Dominion proposed an agreement that allows the utility company to provide three-phase power to the new pump station. No one spoke at the public hearing held on the proposed easement. Ferguson said plans call for Dominion to remove the overhead line.
  • Approved a petition to the circuit court seeking to add property owned by Gary McDermott to the Stoney Creek Sanitary District. The McDermotts own two parcels totaling approximately 38 acres zoned for conservation use on Supinlick Ridge Road, adjacent to Bryce Mountain Resort. The McDermotts intend to build a house on a parcel and to receive sewer and water service from the district. Virginia code requires the board petition the circuit court to admit the property into the district. The property owner will be responsible for paying the cost to connect to the line.
  • Agreed to schedule a public hearing on a request to grant an easement to Shen Valle Logistics for a sewer force main that would cross the Shenandoah County Landfill property. The force main would connect the former Johns Manville plant adjacent to the landfill to the leachate and septage line. The plant site would no longer need to use the existing septic system on the property, Ferguson said.

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