Friday, December 18, 2015

Development of Town of Abingdon Sports Complex



On December 28, 2015 at 8:00 a.m. the Abingdon Town Council will hold a public hearing to consider the purchase of approximately 40 + acres of land from CEMA Corporation.  Members of the Town Council are pleased to announce that the purchase of this property is being made possible through a gift from K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc., parent company for Food City.  K-VA-T’s President/CEO, Steve Smith provided the town with a letter of intent which sets forth his objective to donate $2,289,750 to use in the purchase from CEMA Corporation 40 + acres of land, for the development of a sports complex. It is the desire of the Town Council that the existing dwelling, commonly referred to as The Meadows, be preserved and incorporated into the ultimate build out of the sports facility. This project is a shining example of how public/private partnerships can benefit a community in ways that will provide much needed road safety improvements, increased revenues, further historic preservation, and promote health through youth sports and recreation.  

Town Manager Greg Kelly has been working to acquire the appropriate land to develop a sports complex since he became the Town Manager over nine years ago.  The need for such a facility has existed and been considered for several years prior to his tenure.  While he undertook discussions with CEMA Corporation a few years ago about the acquisition of the Meadows, it was not until March 2015 that Marathon Realty, a subsidiary of K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc. approached the town with a desire to assist in its efforts to acquire the property.  Several months of negotiations between CEMA and Marathon Realty followed, until they could reach an accord relative to the land transaction. Once Marathon acquired the option on the property, the Town Manager initiated negotiations for a public/private partnership with Marathon.

This public/private partnership will result in four major accomplishments for the Town.  First, the Town will be able to realign Green Spring Road and Cook Street which will improve traffic conditions.  Second, it will allow for a commercial development that will generate the necessary revenues to make the realignment possible and generate significant revenues for years to come.  Third, it will provide the necessary land, in a prime recreational location, to develop a much needed multi-use sports complex for the community’s youth.  Finally, it will give the Town control over the historic Meadows home, allowing the Town to find a suitable use.

“This is an excellent example how you can preserve and honor the past while progressively planning, and moving in to the future,” said Town Manager Greg Kelly.  “The Town should celebrate this public/private partnership.”

The Town Planning Commission process will ensure that both developments are aesthetically appealing and blend with the historic and recreational charm of the Town. The Town’s expenditures will be placed into the road realignment, road access and infrastructure to the Town’s 40 + acres, the build out of the sports complex, and the preservation of the Meadow’s home. 

With respect to the commercial development component of the partnership, the developer commissioned an archaeological study that revealed nothing of historic or archaeological significance on the commercial site and confirmed that there are no burial sites on the property.  The archaeological study’s map and conclusions/recommendations can be found on the Town’s blog at http://townofabingdonva.blogspot.com/2015/12/historic-and-archaeological-resources.html

If the Town accepts the gift and acquires the property, it will hire a consultant to develop a conceptual plan for the sports complex and the preservation of the home.  A major part of this process will afford the public the opportunity to offer comments and suggestions in public design forums.  Site plans for both the commercial development and the sports complex will go through the review and approval processes of the Abingdon Planning Commission. 

The Town Manager, the Town staff and the Town Council are very excited to see this public/private partnership come together.  It demonstrates how local government and local businesses can work together for the greater good of the community to improve the infrastructure and the quality of life.


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