New Isle of Wight, Smithfield MOU in works

Published 12:27 pm Wednesday, July 26, 2017

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

The Smithfield Town Council Parks and Recreation Committee was scheduled to discuss July 25 a draft memorandum of understanding with Isle of Wight County concerning the new Joseph W. Luter Jr. sports complex.

Missing from the draft document is any reference to the Smithfield Recreation Association. In a prior draft, the SRA figured prominently in the document.

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Isle of Wight Assistant County Administrator Don Robertson said the county had removed the references to SRA because it is to be an agreement strictly between the town and county. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

“The other references (to SRA) are extraneous,” said Robertson, adding that the town is working out its agreement with SRA independent of the MOU with the county.

SRA President Chris Kennedy said his organization still plans to conduct tournaments at the complex, as well as do some maintenance as has been described in the past.

SRA is waiting until the MOU is completed between the town and county before the organization begins negotiating its lease agreement with the town, Kennedy said.

The draft MOU describes Isle of Wight County’s contribution — $250,000 — to the project, a payment schedule, use of the facility, access and maintenance.

The draft MOU allows for use by Isle of Wight County Parks and Recreation, Isle of Wight County schools, the Windsor Athletic Association, the town of Windsor and other non-profit recreational associations.

The draft MOU states that scheduling of the facility is the town’s responsibility and that use policies and procedures — following negotiations between the town and county — will be attached to the MOU.

Removed is reference to levels of use, such as casual and regular, which laid out fees and use requirements.

County officials had raised concerns in May about the different levels of use outlined in a prior draft of the MOU.

The draft MOU does call for the town of Smithfield to build a sidewalk or other means of pedestrian access from Westside Elementary School to the complex at its own expense.

While construction is ongoing at the complex, its actual opening may be delayed due to VDOT asking the town to build turn lanes off Route 258. The town had initially planned to open prior to building turn lanes, but VDOT stepped in and said those must be completed first.

The $4 million sports complex is financed in part by the town of Smithfield, donations from Smithfield Foods and Joseph W. Luter III, Farmers Bank and Isle of Wight County.

Kennedy said SRA doesn’t want to put its Beale Park property up for sale until the lease agreement with the town is worked out. The estimated proceeds from the sale of the Beale Park property are around $300,000. If and when the property is sold, SRA plans to donate those funds to the town for the sports complex.   {/mprestriction}