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Welcome to South Valley Park

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.

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

on the South Valley Park proposal.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Sharon February 08, 2012 at 10:14 PM
There are no such amenities @ the forgotten end of the Village (closest to MidCounty & Village Ave) other than dock for toddlers to fall into Lake Whetstone, a dirt area used for adult volleyball & subsequently used as sandbox by kids who usually also have their hands in 'goose poop' and two metal, stationary 'nothings' (a turtle and a dolphin that 2 residents of Village @ SVHC meeting voiced as 'ample play equipment'). The only thing that so-called 'play equipment' is good for is giving our children an early case of 'darn hemorrhoids'. Hummm! Let those two residents play on those to their 'environmental heart's content! LOL! And mothers w/baby carriages & strollers w/infants along w/toddlers walking in tow should not be expected to cross Village Avenoe risking life or limb (couple miles down the road) to get to SV Park on opposite side of 'busy Avenue'. And with the hoopla over putting off building police station in the Village, we sure couldn't ask our already-strapped 6th District policemen to play 'crossing guards'!!!! So am I sick and tired of hearing about concession stands and 'TOILETS'? Yes! That money could have gone more constructively towards playground @ Lake Whetstone @ 1/3 the cost.
Sharon February 08, 2012 at 10:20 PM
And to take it a step further.... That money could be spent not only on a needed playground but a playground that would have included our children of the Village who have 'special emotional and physical needs' & the need & right to have access to places that make they as well feel a part of the community. What a greater way for them to socialize & for children who are not challenged to learn 'love and charity to cease' in welcoming the challenged into their fold...circle of friends!!!!!! If MVF also wants to spend $50,000 advertising the Village, then this 'good act' would make those Foundation representatives (particularly those who thrive on 'narcissistic adulation') quite well known & County admired for providing 'their Village facility' that indeed encompasses all their residents!
Don O'Neill February 08, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Art, I commend you for this outstanding, authoritative, and well written article on the largest unnecessary, unwanted, and unwise project facing the MVF BOD. I took particular note of the unmet reserve requirements for capital projects.
Bob Hydorn February 09, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Art, I will remind you as I keep reminding Mr. O'Neill, once again I must post my favorite quote from Daniel Patrick Moynihan "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."
Bryan February 09, 2012 at 02:32 PM
You know there is a fence behind my house that MVF owns that has a hole in it that the people from Ridgeline put there so they could make a short cut to the Watkins Mill High school. Its been there for a while. It would only cost a few hundred dollars to fix. And yet even after voiced complaints about it, there the hole stands.
Bob Hydorn February 09, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Bryan Please let me know where this hole is and I will have it checked as to who is responsible. Thanks Bob RobertHydorn@aol.com
B.D.Jack February 09, 2012 at 03:15 PM
It baffles me how people resist & rebuke change in any form it's presented. I've been associated with the Montgomery Village community for over 20 years and the issues are always the same. Someone makes an amendment to improve a certain structure or area and it runs into incessant roadblocks; C'MON PEOPLE!!!! Stop being crabs in a bushel; pulling someone down when they try to step up. The MVF & MVSA are working to improve South Valley Park in the best capacity. Being an affiliate of both & having children that are members of MVSA programs it baffles me how the concession/restroom is drawing so much criticism. I SEE FIRST HAND the results of NOT having a proper facility and how it can negatively affect a program. Pay attention to the surrounding Youth organizations; you will see that programs such as Germantown, Damascus, Clarksburg, Rockville, and just about any other organization looked to be well equipped OR modernized to accommodate the patrons & members of these organizations. This has led to a major decline in numbers in the past associated with MVSA, forcing youth to seek refuge elsewhere. With growth on a rise NOW, I wonder how long it can sustain with poor accommodations. The Lawn Theater's attendance would greatly increase if these facilities were available. Concession earnings could be used to maintain, instead of keeping McDonald's in business. South Valley is home to a GREAT outdoor theater & THE MARYLAND STATE CHAMPION MV CHIEFS...LET'S IMPROVE IT!!!
B.D.Jack February 09, 2012 at 03:44 PM
FURTHERMORE, I've seen many attempts to derail this project which leads me to believe some people just don't understand how fiscal budgets actually work & how you can make them work to build your community. If you block THIS, then they block THAT...and NOTHING GETS DONE! MEANWHILE, the money just sits there, being assigned to those who don't give resistance leading to the budget being misappropriated, which leads to further complaints. Montgomery Village can't sustain if it never evolves. During the building process of South Valley this structure should have been drawn up with the plans. So, since this has been identified & is looked to be ratified you now want to block it, really? I agree with a lot of the proposed projects for MV but I strongly agree with this one because it's a major inconvenience to not have public facilities in this place. Think about it this way: You're on the field during a game and your kids have to go potty. You now have to possibly walk 200+ yards to your parked vehicle just to go 2-3 blocks to use a restroom that's NOT a public restroom really. Afterwards, you now have to attempt to find a new parking space because your spot has now been taken; causing you to be further away & inconvenienced. Let's just say all of the establishments cut off use of restrooms unless you're a customer...NOW WHAT?
B.D.Jack February 09, 2012 at 04:06 PM
I agree with some of what you said, but where does the dock come into play with this? There are numerous things that should and need to be addressed, but this concession/restroom proposal is one that needs to happen. I take it you have children from reading your post. I invite you to scroll down & read my comment about being on the field with kids. Listen, I'm all for improvement. I've worked in Fairfax County in construction for over 10 years and they do not have these issues; at least not to this degree. It's understood that they want everything done, and with that everything was supported. In the end, just about everything got done. This town wasn't made perfect, so to see the amendments being made now is a good sign of growth for the community. Imagine 250+ kids at a football game + the opposing teams numbers which should be fairly close + all the parents, siblings, friends, as well as coaches & officials in attendance; quite an astonishing number to be handled by 3 porta-johns!! LOL...actually, that's NOT funny... just practice alone gets about 500 people & football runs from April-December. MV has THE BEST football program in the county, let alone the state, but the worst facilities. There are teams in SE DC that have better facilities than SVP & they were put there to better facilitate the community. Why can't we in Upper Montgomery County have these same amenities?
B.D.Jack February 09, 2012 at 07:54 PM
As the saying goes.... "IT TAKES A VILLAGE....."
Michael Brown February 11, 2012 at 07:04 PM
The recommendation and comments regarding the proposed public restrooms and concession stand are interesting but not persuasive. If we are supporting organized sports for our children in the village then it seems we need to provide restrooms for them. Are the present porta-potties inadequate? There's been no discussion of that. Can we afford building a facility that will receive little use but may require a lot of maintenance? We are told that we have ample money - if new revenue collection from new home purchases is passed. Sounds like revenue/expenses is an issue then. Is the "surplus" based on current revenue or projected? Having a surplus is not a justification to spend more. And, while it is great to get a grant from the state, I still don't hear whether the need is sufficient to warrant a $250,000 facility. We still have to maintain it. I've seen our facilities age and maintenance not kept up. I've seen our overhead costs grow and not reflect the results - there is more trash in the public areas, enforcement of covenants is lacking, parking is more problematic, and fewer residents feel like they are members of the community. Yes everybody has an opinion, and they express that opinion by letting themselves be heard. This is how we understand whether the concerns we hear are from the few or the many. But even if it is only the few that have a concern, it doesn't lessen in any way whether the concern is warranted or not. What we are not hearing is more facts.
Derek Hale February 12, 2012 at 05:11 AM
First of all, I am not pro or against this project. So Michael your post is well taken. But I would like a breakdown of what the port-a-poties cost per event. I assume they are rented. And how much more would cost vs. this bathroom / concession stand. And I don't know the cost breakdown of the concession stand breakdown with the trailer. Peggy Mark at the MVF would hopefully be able to answer this question. OK now off on a slight tangent here. I work in not the greatest of government buildings, it is old. Yes, we have a lady that cleans the bathrooms, every afternoon. Between morning and the end of the day, you take your chances for the cleanliness. Most times things are ok. But there are some times that there is no soap to wash your hands, no towels for your hands, and no liners for the seat covers. I'm not asking for a bathroom attendant. So some kind of compromise?
Don O'Neill December 15, 2012 at 09:20 PM
The last act of the South Valley Restroom and Concession Stand will play out next week when the Board of Public Works (BPW) will take up the issue of the $125,000 bond bill grant for the South Valley Restroom and Concession Stand at 10:00AM on December 19, 2012 in the Governor’s Reception Room in the Sate House. On the agenda, I will be there urging the BPW composed of Governor Martin O’Malley, Comptroller Peter Franchot, and Treasurer Nancy Kopp to disapprove the South Valley Park bond bill project involving the Montgomery Village Sports Association and the Montgomery Village Foundation. My testimony in opposition to this project can be heard on YouTube at “Board of Public Works Testimony in Opposition to the South Valley Park Project” http://youtu.be/1qumvqqkjDU
Don O'Neill July 09, 2013 at 05:06 PM
It is time to receive an authoritative report on the status of Senator Nancy King's sports toilet. What are the issues associated with growing cost pressure stemming from sewer/water and electrical connections and permit costs along with a plat requirement for a natural resource inventory and forest conservation plan? Also is there pressure on MVF timely performance of the project milestones needed to actually receive the $125,000 state grant?
Art Hiban July 10, 2013 at 11:59 PM
Good polnt Don. The last we heard Hydorn rolled the dice on $60,000 more engineering and planning cost hoping the NCPPC will give its blessing on the half a million dollar seldom used and not needed snack bar and toilet for an organization that has no standing in Montgomery Village. The silence is deafening as this project and Montgomery Village die a slow death because the Foundation's neglect and missteps at every turn along Montgomery Village Avenue.
Don O'Neill July 11, 2013 at 10:01 AM
Currently in a state of moribund decline, the Montgomery Village Foundation is in dire need of rejuvenation. Senator Nancy King's sports toilet and the attempt to exchange the MVF small park for some to be specified concession on the Golf Course project are just the latest indicators. Beyond that, we need only to look closely at the MVF financial management practices and the Vision 2030 with it's a concept not a plan dodge.
Sharon January 23, 2014 at 09:56 PM
Since this blog is addressing SV concession stands & toilets, this is as good a blog as any to enter my comment. This evening I was re-reading history of the Village on MVF web site. And this is what I came away with...the flowery description promoting MVF's Flourishing campaign as opposed to what has been the experienced reality of one frustrated homeowner. http://www.montgomeryvillage.com/Page/11912~137722/Village-History#who "The Walker Farm was the largest of all the properties the Kettlers bought. It was 412 acres and now is Walkers Choice, Cider Mill, Horizon Run, Christopher Court, Dockside, Nathan's Hill, Millrace, the library, the day care center, Montgomery Village Plaza, Breckenridge, the Verandahs, Grover's Forge, Lake Whetstone, South Valley Park and part of Lakeforest Mall." COMMENT: Walker Farm first parcel ( the first piece of land to become part of Montgomery Village) to be purchased by Kettler Brothers 'who had a vision'. It was also the last to be developed and ironically the first to be 'abandoned' and basically ostracized when Village was turned over to the hands of newly-formed MVF Corporation. The focal point, after MVF took the reigns and built office on Apple Ridge, became all the homes in that vicinity and eastward. How does a corporation basically rationalize wiping 412 acres 'off their radar'. Rhetorical! Most of communities mentioned above were, as already stated, the last to be developed; yet from lack of oversight appear 'older' and most deteriorating than all other communities in entire Village and at frightening rate. And the only real attention South Village is receiving at present is the incessant squabbling over concession stands and toilets. No mention of surrounding, disturbing depreciation of South Village neighborhoods. Don't think toilets would have been the Kettler Brothers priority over dire conditions of communities and residents suffering market value declines, rise in crime, etc., really! Don't believe the Kettler Brothers 'envisioned' Montgomery Village 'slithering into' the 21st century by still practicing a form of 'segregation' which is exactly how those living in the initially purchased 412 acres have felt for years. If it was a way for MVF to distance themselves (just like the seeming need to apply for separate zip code to be special and 'separate' for City of Gaithersburg), the most it has done is separate itself from vast majority of Village residents and upset Village members who have felt that 'segregated' alienation. Only negative outcome and general frustration (and distrust of MVF) could have (and has) ever evolved from the alienation. Kettler Brothers did not intend for any of its residents to feel as though they were deliberately treated as 'outcasts on the wrong side of the tracks'!!

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