Saturday, February 20, 2010

Speaking Out for Mason Neck

Mason Neck State Park is a real asset to the Mount Vernon community. Governor Bob McDonnell has proposed that we mothball the Park due to budget cuts.

Congressman Gerry Connolly and I have both sent letters to Governor McDonnell protesting this. Here is my letter. Here is Congressman Connolly's letter.

Here is the text of my letter:

Governor Robert F. McDonnell
Commonwealth of Virginia
P.O. Box 1472
Richmond, VA 23212

Re: Proposed Closure of Mason Neck Park

Dear Governor McDonnell:

Thank you for providing your list of proposed budget cuts. The Commonwealth’s fiscal situation is certainly dire and will require many difficult choices. I have concerns about many of your proposals, but there is one specific proposal that would significantly affect the business community in my area – your proposal to close the 1,800-acre Mason Neck State Park.

Given your roots in the Mount Vernon Community, I am sure you are familiar with the park. After two decades of development battles, it was opened when I was a freshman in high school in 1985. Many of my constituents use the park for its hiking, canoeing, and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Congressman Connolly cites statistics that 88,000 people use the park per year. Those statistics do not include cyclists. I personally cycle to the park on weekends along with Mt. Vernon’s “Over the Hill” cycling team – The Lardbutts – who have adopted the road leading into the park.

I have also reserved Mason Neck’s gazebos on numerous occasions for group events. Families also use the park for large gatherings. There are limited venues for these kinds of activities in the Mount Vernon community and closing this park only puts additional pressure on our overbooked county and regional parks. This is also the only state park that is easily accessible to Northern Virginia’s two million residents.

Being an area native, I am also sure that you are aware that the need for economic development is absolutely critical in the U.S. 1 Corridor. The business community on U.S. 1 consists mostly of retail establishments and hotels. Visitors to Mason Neck Park spend over $500,000 at local businesses sustaining jobs and creating tax revenue. The Commonwealth is receiving a $5 return on every dollar spent. Given your administration’s focus on creating jobs through tourism, I would have thought this was exactly the kind of decision your
Administration would not have made.

I wholeheartedly agree with Congressman Connolly that closing this park will not save the Commonwealth money on a net basis. It will only harm our community. Please reconsider your decision.

Sincerely Yours,
Delegate Scott A. Surovell
44th District

1 comment:

  1. Scott, thank you for your good work and for calling attention to this purported budget cut that saves no money and would hurt our community.
    Is there a friends of Mason Neck group?