Welcome to South Valley Park
Act I The Proposal
Proposed restroom/concession facility for South Valley Park The MVF Five-year Capital Improvement Plan recommends the construction of a structure to include a concession stand, toilet facilities and a storage area for use by visiting sports teams and patrons of the Lawn Theater.
At the presentation of the MVF 2012 Budget on Aug. 11, 2011 at a joint meeting of the MVF Board of Directors and Audit Committee, Greg Snellings explained the concession stand trailer and port-a-potties are in need of replacement. Visitors to South Valley Parks, including sports teams and patrons of the lawn theater do not gain a favorable impression of the outmoded facilities." Snellings stated the Foundation would form a partnership with the Montgomery Village Sports Association, with MVSA running the concession stand.
MVSA Partnership When youth sports teams use public facilities owned and operated by county recreation departments and/or the public school system, youth sport’s league family member volunteers to staff concession stands and trailers. Proceeds go to the teams and/or leagues to offset ballfield-use fees. According to Scott Gole, MVF Assistant Recreation & Parks Director, a previous MVF Board had approved the facility in 1999 but never built because the MVSA was unable to come up with funding to build the facility.
Funding The $250,000 estimate cost will be funded from an estimated $740,000 accumulated Undesignated Operating Surplus generated during the MVF 2011 and 2012 fiscal years, a Maryland state grant of $125,000 and proceeds from a Capital Contribution Fee on the sale and transfer residential property effective Jan. 1, 2012.
Cost The concession stand, toilet and storage facility will cost between $230,000 and $250,000, $150,000 for construction and between $80,000 to $100,000 for sewer and water and electrical connections and building permits.
Act II The Montgomery Village Foundation – Powers & Duties
Background The Montgomery Village Foundation (MVF) was created to own and operate all facilities which everyone in the Village would use, such as the large parks, the Lawn Theater, the lakes and other facilities of common benefit. The foundation would also own and operate facilities for restricted use of certain design communities, including swimming pools, tennis courts and community centers. (Page 7l and 72, Montgomery Village, A New Town, W.N. Hurley, Jr. 40th Anniversary Edition.)
The foundation, through its elected board of directors, has a fiduciary duty and responsibility to operate, maintain and preserve these common and restricted use facilities at reasonable and acceptable standards. The governing documents of the foundation requires the board of directors to budget, set aside and assess funds for major repairs and replacements in a capital reserve fund that will ensure each property element would be maintained and restored to a like new condition and function at the end of their useful life.
The foundation can from time to time establish rules; regulations and guidelines for use of common and restricted use facilities and in the case of the use of the ball fields charge a reasonable ball field use fee.
Act III – Current Conditions
Bob Hydorn gauges Montgomery Villages public image by his daily commute past the manicured median strip and the ever-changing floral images along Montgomery Village Avenue. What Bob fails to recognize beyond his windshield is the substandard conditions of the twin jewels of Village, South Valley Park and Lake Whetstone Park and lake. The maintenance, care and upkeep of their grounds, turf, trees and particularly the ballfields have been neglected and have been allow to deteriorate.
On a personal note, I have several grandchildren who are and have been involved in youth sports, including football, soccer, baseball, softball, lacrosse and field hockey, played on fields maintained by the Columbia Association, Howard County, Fairfax, Arlington and Fairfax counties and the City of Vienna. We can do much better, and with the new landscaping contractor in place in 2012, hopefully the turf on the ballfields will be manicured as the median strip along Montgomery Village Avenue.
Act IV Capital Projects
Reserve Study Advanced Reserve Solutions (ARS) of Dover New Hampshire in the spring of 2007 conducted a field inspection, condition analysis and established an inventory of Montgomery Village Foundation’s Common Property by six Major Reserve Component classifications: streets and parking Areas, grounds, bridges, interior buildings, buildings and equipment. In July 2007, ARS completed and presented its MVF Reserve Study Report to the staff.
The report explained, "An accurate reserve analysis and a 'healthy' reserve fund are essential to protect and maintain the Association’s common areas and property values of individual unit owners. A comprehensive reserve analysis is one of the most significant elements of any association’s long-range plan and provides the critical link between sound business judgment and good fiscal planning. The analysis provides a 'financial blueprint' for the future of an Association."
The MVF Replacement Reserve Schedule for South Valley Park
The replacement cost of all South Valley components when the ARS reserve study was completed in July 2007 was $703,000 and $933,500 at the scheduled replacement date.
The schedule identifies $406,000 replacements from 2008 through the end of the five-year plan in 2016 including: tot-lot swing set (2008) $30,000; chain link fence (1991, 2010) $16,700; Walkers Choice bridge replacement (2010) $10,630; South Valley parking lot and asphalt walkway (2013) $59,500; Ballfield lighting (2013) $243,300; score board (2014) $13,200.
The Lawn Theater foof was to be replaced in 2016 for $8,550 and its stage in 2019 for $26,700 for a Lawn Theater budget of $46,600. However, the complete Lawn Theater was replaced in 2009 at a cost of $204,000 with a state bond of $80,000 -- a net of $124,000.
Two components not included in the ARS SVP reserve schedule are included as reserve expenditures in 2012, the restroom-concession stand $250,000 and theater pond fountains $25,000 for a total of $275,000 unfunded reserve expenditures.
Act V Is it desirable or necessary to have public rest rooms at MVF parks and recreation areas such as South Valley Park and Lake Whetstone Park?
The sewer and water connection charges and fees cost is estimated to be $100,000 or 40 percent of the total cost.
If water and sewer service was a good idea for the Village’s public parks and recreation areas such as South Village Park and Lake Whetstone Park, then it should have been included when the Village was developed or during the recent renovation of the Lawn Theater in South Valley Park in 2009 and/or the replacement of the Whetstone Dock facility in 2010.
It is standard practice use portable toilets for youth outdoor sporting events, community holiday celebrations such as Fourth of July, parades and concerts.
Act VI It is desirable and necessary to construct a building 20’ x 60’ building that services the Lawn Theater patrons at the east end of South Valley Park and the MVSA sports activity at the west end?
No. This is insane. The only conceivable reason this project was proposed is that the foundation staff believed that by mobilizing a coalition of youth sports parents and elderly Lawn Theater patrons who have a fear or phobia for using public or portable toilets -- known as "lutropublicaphobia" -- the foundation would be more likely to qualify for a $125,000 Maryland State Bond grant to pay for half of the cost.
The Last Act
The foundation did not generate an operating surplus in 2011 nor will it in 2012. The Maintenance Activity Fund lost several hundred thousand dollars in 2011 and the 2012 budget outlines substantial staffing, overhead and new programs costs.
The limited use of South Valley Park by visiting sports teams and Lawn Theater patrons does not warrant the expenditure of a quarter of a million dollar for South Valley Park Restrooms and a concession stand trailer. This is especially true when the foundation is with faced millions of dollars capital infrastructure cost to rebuild Lake Whetstone’s shoreline; repair and replace asphalt and concrete street, parking lot, bike trial and paths; upgrade pools and pool facilities; reforest mature dead and dying trees and bring life to the Village’s park and recreation landscaping.
Click here to photo album: Welcome to South Valley Park
Click here for the Patch poll on the South Valley Park proposal.