Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Countryside: Let them eat hamburger!

Many of the area neighbors including myself have attended all the meetings with Planning Department Staff over the last several weeks. Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. at William Fleming is the last community input meeting. What to do with Countryside Golf Course is the topic.

Monday evening’s meeting at the Miller Court neighborhood (Dan Hale President) was jaw dropping for those who attended from Countryside neighborhood. Miller Court was fed up with unkept promises – duplicating much of what was said in the other three meetings. They however said it best. Perhaps it is because they have been here the longest and endured lack of the most basic services like a sewer line. They endured the expansion of the airport and noise it brought. Hale had fought all these years for federal funding for noise abatement for his neighborhood. The airport authority was not his ally. He watched as low flying jets set fire to trees in his neighborhood.

Statistically we are the most diverse neighborhood in the city. What was abundantly clear is that we are “one neighborhood” living in harmony. We were sticking together for what is right for our community – no black or white here. I’ve never been so proud to live anywhere in my 63 years on this earth. We have little or no crime in our area and all wanted it to stay that way.

The three council members got an earful. One council member was openly criticised for visiting neighborhoods when campaigning but promises were not kept.

Charles Price had much to say as a Northwest resident, developer and husband of council member Anita Price who was there as well. He (as I) wondered why the money left over from the market building was not available for the golf course. In his nuanced way Charles said what others have been saying – the city finds the money when they want to … they make excuses when the don’t.

The city “paved” the way for downtown apartments and even threw in some money to help them. “Roadblocks” are what a project gets if it differs from the city’s plans. Nobody and I mean nobody is fooled in this community.

Council members Court Rosen and Ray Ferris also attended. The Miller Court neighbors had the floor and excuses as to why the golf course and pride of the community was shutdown did not wash with them. They questioned why all the money (capital improvements) goes to downtown and to the south. Chris Chittum, Planning Administrator repeated as he did in other meetings that city council shutdown the course and charged them with getting input on what else it could be besides a golf course.

Someone asked (as in other meetings) for everyone wanting it to remain a golf course to raise their hand. Unanimous was the vote of course.

What do you say when what you want you already have but has been “pooped on” by the city?

READ: February 19, 2008 commentary in The Roanoke Times.

At a restaurant when you ask for “prime rib” only to be told all we have to offer you is “hamburger.” Really, what do you say – oh thank you sir I’m so happy you are letting me have a hamburger?

We will attend the Homebuilders meeting Tuesday – Planning Commission meeting on the 19th – Realtor meeting – Parks and Recreation, etc. All the input will be combined and presented to the entire community on Aug. 26 or 31. Council will be briefed in September or October at a regular televised council meeting.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Community, Politics, Roanoke City Politics

Tags: , , ,

Comments (2)


August 5th, 2010 at 12:14 AM    

The City of Roanoke needs to partner with Roanoke City Schools/William Fleming to open Countryside as a golf course/ swimming pool/tennis club to complement the new Fleming sports facility and market this sports complex much as Salem has done with the Salem stadium. Done correctly, Countryside complex could be self-sustaining. City students and citizens could benefit from playing golf/tennis and swimming, perhaps to the point of pupils earning scholarships to college for skills developed at this complex. Council’s blinders to the community’s opinions seem to indicate that Council (AKA certain influential city residents) has already made a closed room deal for the Countryside property.


August 5th, 2010 at 6:17 PM    

That sums it up well. It has become clear that development is their only consideration. Lea asked if we’d be satisfied with a 9-hole course. It can’t be in the RPZ (clear zone) so exactly where it would be is a mistery.

The WF golf coach sees it as you do. He is very upset that his team can’t practice at Countryside. Northside golf team came here too.

The management group who ran the course made money – they sure didn’t do it for charity.

I reminded Lea he is doing to us what was done with him regarding Victory Stadium.

He has dropped Northwest like a hot potato on this one. Since he plans to run for Mayor he wants the big wigs support.

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