Letters to the editor – January 11th, 2017
Published 7:48 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Ask town to slow down
Editor, Smithfield Times
I was shocked to read about the development plans for Windsor Castle and the convoluted agreement with a newly created LLC to do the renovations. The plan includes an Event Center capable of hosting 500 people. This is for events in addition to the three annual events Smithfield Events does. Although I am not happy to have a large commercial enterprise next door to my home, the important issue for our community, is whether this is the vision we want for Windsor Castle Park. This venue represents a dramatic change at the core of the park that is not consistent with the parks mission statement.
After meeting with several Town Council members and others who worked on this plan, I do not doubt their good intentions. That said, I believe they were wrong not to share their plans with the public for almost two years. Most are displeased with The Smithfield Times for reporting the story. Possibly the reason is that the publishing of what has transpired does just not look good.
I encourage the Town Council to get in front of this process by taking the following immediate steps:
1. Stop all construction other than restoring outbuildings.
2. Hold Public Hearings. Allow the community to have the opportunity to endorse, reject or modify this plan.
3. Explain in detail how the various entities implementing the renovations work. Who are the LLC’s? What roll does each LLC and the Windsor Castle Park Foundation have? Who is on the various boards? How are the board members selected? How does the money flow? Who approves what?
This will delay things a few months, but it is well worth the price to get public support for whatever is ultimately decided.
Castle plan is great
Editor, Smithfield Times
We are delighted that the restoration of the Windsor Castle manor house and surrounding outbuildings is beginning. As the last of four generations of our family to own and love this farm, we reluctantly made the decision to sell it after our father died, but were determined that the property would be used to benefit the community in some way. To this end, we placed an historic easement on the heart of the property to ensure that its value was not compromised.
We were excited when the town of Smithfield bought the property and created the outstanding community park, but we began to despair that anything would ever happen to preserve and use this irreplaceable core that symbolizes the spirit of the early colonial entrepreneurs. We increasingly feared that these structures would fall into irreparable ruin, so it is with great enthusiasm that we embrace the ambitious project that will restore all the structural components and make new and profitable use of this “jewel in the crown.”
The current manor house was built in the early 1700s on the original 1450 acres granted to Englishman Arthur Smith in 1637. His great grandson carved out land for the Town of Smithfield in 1750. The surrounding barns, manager’s office, and other outbuildings were built at various times over the farm’s history and together form a rare composite of our country’s agricultural history from its earliest days to the present.
We heartily support the combined efforts of the town, the Historic Windsor Castle Restoration LLC, the Windsor Castle Park Foundation, and Smithfield VA Events. We encourage the whole community to follow the lead of Smithfield Foods in supporting this partnership to help make Windsor Castle a magnificent community asset.
Anne Betts Allen
Charles S. Betts, MD
If you are on active duty today, National Guard or Reserve, or have served during any eligible war era (see the AD in this week’s Smithfield Times), then you are a veteran and you’re eligible to become a Legionnaire.
Surely, you have heard of The American Legion. We are veterans just like you, who care about America, the serving military, veterans and their families and our nation’s youth. We are over 2 million strong. The Legion has for nearly 100 years served as a voice in Washington dedicated to preserving the rights we have all earned — and were promised — by our service to the nation. As veterans we continue to serve our communities, state and nation.
The American Legion is America’s largest veterans service organization. We’re fighting for reasonable active duty pay, future retired cost of living allowances, better military housing, improved VA hospitals and satisfactory medical care.
We work to not only protect and improve benefits for veterans, but more importantly, we are working to make our communities better through our many programs, including those that teach Americanism and good citizenship to our youth.
One great benefit is the satisfaction and opportunity for serving your community. The comradeship and value of continuing to work with fellow veterans cannot be underestimated.
We invite you to join us now. The American Legion needs to continue to be there for the nation and veteran families, to fulfill its slogan, “Still Serving America!”
Legion Post 49
Editor, Smithfield Times
The Smithfield Lions Club announces its annual James A. Bland Memorial Music Scholarship Contest to be held on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2 p.m. at Benn’s United Methodist Church (14571 Benn’s Church Blvd). This is the first rung of an escalating series of contests (local, regional, district and state) sponsored by the Lions Clubs of the State of Virginia culminating in scholarships for music study. For those advancing as far as the state finals, the Lions award scholarships of $2,500 for first place, $2,000 for second place, and $1,500 for third place, and cash awards of $1,000 for 4th, 5th, and 6th places to vocal and instrumental finalists.
The preliminary contest (local) is open to youth attending elementary, middle, junior or senior high school (or equivalent home-schooled level) that are residents of Virginia. Participants may only enter one local contest since winners advance to the next higher level. The state finals will be held in conjunction with the Virginia Lions State Convention, this year in Roanoke, VA, on May 26.
Interested instrumentalists and vocalists may obtain contest rules and applications from Lion Katie Lemon at Smithfield High School or by e-mailing her (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lion Tim Marinelli (email@example.com). Deadline for completed applications is Feb 3rd.
Finally, Bland competitions are free and open to the public—we invite everyone to come out to hear these gifted young musicians perform!