Tom Perriello listens to an IUE-CWA Local 162 union member asking about automation.
Tom Perriello’s last stop in his listening tour through Roanoke was at the IUE-CWA Local 162 Roanoke headquarters where about 10 union rank and file members and union shop stewards from Verizon, ITT now the Harris Corporation, GE and Virginia Transformer peppered him with questions. Union members are not shy about asking questions.
Before Perriello arrived Jack Roland Chief Steward with Local 82162 at Harris Corporation said he wanted to know how Perriello views the future of the working class. Where does he see unions place in the future.
Jeff Moran, who works for Harris Corporation (again formerly ITT
It is a mystery to us/me the Countryside neighborhood just what and why all this excavation for the park is necessary. The excavation has been going on for 2 months now. The million dollar project is suppose to be a pavilion with a park and some kind of field, trails and wildflowers.
There is drainage issues that will be corrected but for the life of us we can’t figure out all this. We would have been happy with less. Actually we had become accustom to the field and hay bailing that occurred twice during the summer.
Being the closest home to this excavation has been aggravating to put it mildly. Work on trails has not started yet and really that is all we ever cared about. The cost of this is the same cost it would have been to replace the golf course irrigation system and kept it as a golf course. The estimated upkeep of the park is $45,000 yearly according to budget figures.
The cost to the city of mowing over the last three summers is probably the same. On top of that there was tree removal due to storms and constant break-ins to the tennis building and clubhouse that the police have had to monitor and the city had to repair.
The golf course would have taken care of all of this including free use of the pavilion for neighborhood activities. Countryside had no May neighborhood picnic since there is no place to have one anymore. The photos of our packed events is all we have for our memories.
Darlene Burcham, the former city manager was quoted as saying what a diverse upscale Northwest neighborhood it was and the development plan would make it even better. Making a successful neighborhood better just ruins it. “Oh, look at this successful neighborhood – lets make it better.” PHOOEY and we knew it and now we say “We told you so.”
Assessments have plummeted since the city got their hands on this property. Nothing has come to fruition and mark my words it will be ALL sports fields eventually and the Countryside Master Plan that the Planning Commission worked so diligently on with the neighborhood will be just a memory.
Nothing that was planned for the property has come to past and after adding up city expenses I lost count as it reached well over $5 million with nothing to show for it but a broken neighborhood and dilapidating structures where condoms and beer cans accumulate.
According to Chris Chittum, Planning Director there have been no inquiries for residential development. There was a proposal by ABEAR that provides training at the Gator Aquatic Center for a sports training center where the barn and silo sits. Chittum says that the city is accepting other offers for the property since ABEAR has not moved forward on the project.
The sports complex slated for the tennis building and adjoining property at Highland Farm Road has been in negotiations and legal paperwork for years and continues said Chittum. The agreement is between Northwest Recreation Center and the the Youth Soccer League. Fields for that will sit next to the park on the 12-acre Portland parcel once owned by Roanoke Regional Airport. The park was once the 12th fairway for Countryside Golf Club.
The 12-acre Portland parcel was first designated as agriculture in the Countryside Master Plan but objected to by Miller Court so then it was changed to recreation in the master plan. It was expected to be a catalyst for a town center and new library. That will never happen. Three soccer fields will be placed there for the sports complex.