Young Life volunteers ask New Market for meeting space

NEW MARKET – Even aside from an explosive discussion over the town buying fireworks, the Town Council had a packed agenda Tuesday evening.

The meeting kicked off with Grant Bogle, a junior at James Madison University, asking the council — and the general New Market community — for a space for volunteers from Young Life, an international Christian youth group, to meet with high school students in town.

“We have no permanent place to hold Young Life club. We’ve asked students and parents alike, and have so far come up empty-handed,” Bogle said. “We’re looking for a facility, really just an empty room somewhere.”

Bogle, who was a Young Life leader at Stonewall Jackson High School, said it hasn’t been easy for members of Young Life in New Market to meet — the fire department opens its doors for a few meetings, but the group is looking for a more reliable meeting spot.

“Our goal for Young Life club is to create a safe, high-energy, welcome and accepting environment so that kids can come, laugh, have fun, and be kids once a week at a place that they know that they’re loved and cared for,” he said. “And at the end of the night, one of us leaders will get up and we’ll talk for a couple minutes with them just about life and about a God who loves them.”

Bogle asks anyone with space for Young Life to meet in New Market to contact him at 703-431-0391.

“OK folks, let’s get all heads together,” said Mayor Douglas Bradley, calling Young Life a “terrific group.”

Also on Tuesday, the council voted 6-0 to approve an open market on the first Saturday each month this year from May to December. The town will waive merchant’s fees for vendors at the market, and it will be a New Market Area Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event.

The council also approved 6-0 an ordinance granting the town greater abilities to enforce the removal of nuisances, tall grass, and weeds. Town Manager Todd Walters said the goal wasn’t to unleash a flurry of citations overnight, but to “give us a little more teeth” over the existing, weaker nuisance removal ordinance.

New Market Police Chief Chris Rinker presented his annual report to the council, detailing community engagement efforts and noteworthy police actions.

Over the course of 2017, Rinker’s 11-man staff, of which five are full-time, responded to 5,460 calls for service. He said that number is a 1.6 percent increase over the previous year.

The final vote of the evening concerned a 19-acre land donation from Windy Hill II, LLC. Walters said the landowner determined the area’s steep topography was more money than it was worth to develop and wanted to simply give it away to the town.

After determining that New Market would pay nothing in the transaction, other than the cost of legal documents and possibly getting insurance on the land, the council unanimously voted to accept the gift.