Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor of the Daily Press, December 11, 2017

Save Local Parks, Too

The editorial on the danger to our national parks and monuments was very timely. There’s a danger that we may lose some of our municipal park land as well.

In 1991 the Riverview Farm Park Master Plan was adopted by City Council after a long citizen involved process. That process needs to be respected. The 58 acres of riverfront land that served as the last part of the City Farm housing prisoners was included in the park. All of the land was zoned park and to this day remains zoned that way. The land was never subdivided. The prisoners have been gone since 2015, and we citizens continue to wait to enjoy the use of the most valuable part of our park.

Those of us waiting for access to our park realize how important the James River has been to the history and economic growth of our city. Another generation has grown up in the meantime without a sense of our river that can only come from frequent contact with it.

Between Hilton and Lucas Creek, there is one publicly owned piece of riverfront land that citizens can now walk on, a 39-foot strip of land at the end of Blount Point Road. The City Farm is part of our heritage that we can’t afford to lose. SaveRiverviewFarmPark.com means all of the park, including our most precious riverfront.

Adrian Whitcomb
President, Citizens for Riverview Farm Park
Newport News


Letter to the Editor of the Daily Press, August 7, 2017

Historic opportunities

It is important to preserve the history of Warwick Town, which was the original county seat of Warwick county, and is located on the City Farm site. The Historic Services Division of the Newport News Department of Parks and Recreation & Tourism pointed out in its June 2010 publication that Warwick Town was, “Warwick County’s first urban center, but it was also the scene of considerable commercial activity. A wharf, shipbuilding facilities, and a boat yard were located in the vicinity and a ferry plied the James River from Warwick Town … Several houses were there built, together with a brick court house and a prison, … and a tobacco ware house, and was still in use in 1750.”

Just think, the first shipyard on the Peninsula was in old Warwick Town!

Such history needs to be preserved. We could reconstruct elements of Old Warwick Town, including the shipyard. But why stop there? Why not build replicas of the old ships and reconstruct the old courthouse and jail. It could become a tourist attraction.

I urge the City Council to develop a plan to restore such elements of Old Warwick Town and potentially reap the benefits of its history, as a tourist attraction.

Look at Jamestown. It was abandoned for many years, and people said the old fort was gone, but archeologist Bill Kelso found it!

Don’t sell Old Warwick Town short. Let’s do the archeology project, and go from there.

Norman Crabill
Newport News


Letter to the Editor of the Daily Press, July 24, 2017

Get involved in your city

There is a wonderful opportunity for all Newport News citizens to offer their opinions concerning the comprehensive plan that has been developed for the city. Public meetings are being held at which comment cards can be submitted.

The last two meetings are:
•6-8 p.m. Tuesday at Denbigh Community Center.
•6-8 p.m. Thursday at Brittingham-Midtown Community Center.

Please take those opportunities to inform the planning commission that you want City Farm to be shown as a park on the Future Land Use Map. City Farm is zoned as a park now, and we want to see it opened up to the public soon.

As a park, it will relieve crowding at Huntington Park and provide the access to the James and Warwick rivers we have been seeking for 49 years.

Rena Crabill
Newport News


Letter to the Editor of the Daily Press, June 24, 2017

Resource is Important to All

It’s hard for students to care about a river that isn’t theirs. How can they see it as theirs without access to it? A teacher spoke to City Council about her classes having to travel outside Newport News for access to our waterways (see SaveRiverviewFarmPark.com).

There is no public park along the approximately nine-mile shoreline between Hilton and Lucas Creek. Opening up the City Farm as a park will boost property values, creating an increased tax base, spread out over tens of thousands of homes, without sacrificing the last chance of public waterfront access in this area. Residential real estate is generally a net loss as far as taxes are concerned because of the services that must be provided. Even if half of the property taxes (very unlikely) from the proposed 205 luxury homes could be applied to lower the taxes of the existing 76,900 housing units in this city, it would yield a tax savings per taxpayer in the single digits.

Most of our park acreage is Newport News Park, which is limited in use. You can’t swim in the reservoir or put a motorboat into the water. It is not on a river that leads to the bay. It is located at the extreme end of our city. The City Farm is near the center of our city’s population.

The City Farm has great value as a waterfront park, whether or not it includes a swimming beach, which would not need to be located near the Deep Creek channel. Let’s keep the City Farm and access to the James and Warwick Rivers for all of us, especially for our students

Adrian Whitcomb
President, Citizens for Riverview Farm Park
Newport News



April 2, 2017 Letters: City Farm

Process priorities

Re: Riverview Farm Park and the new Newport News city manager

Congratulations to our new city manager! The irony of Ms. Cindy Rohlf’s appointment is that apparently our City Council does not feel the need for a adhering to “process” when selecting the person responsible for running the Newport News city government, while they appear steadfast in their desire for a drawn-out “process” to decide whether or not to make the City Farm property an official part of Riverview Farm Park.

Citizen after taxpaying citizen has come before the City Council asking that the property be made part of the park. I can only recall one person coming before council and asking for another use of the property. He was a developer!

There is no need for process to make the City Farm property part of the park. The hardworking taxpayers of Newport News deserve access to the waterfront.

How to best ensure that this property will be used for the public’s benefit will take time — and a process. How to fund this public benefit will take time — and a process.

But making sure that this property is held in trust for this and future generations does not require a process. It requires that the Newport News City Council simply makes the City Farm property a part of Riverview Farm Park.

George Harrison
Newport News

LETTERS TO THE EDITORMarch 5, 2017 – The Daily Press

City Farm dialogue
It’s encouraging that more of the Newport News City Council members are talking publicly about the City Farm’s future. Still, when citizens get only 3 minutes to speak to council, but no dialogue, no answers to questions, it says something about what is lacking in how we are going about this process. To reduce the confusion among some people in this city about the issues, we need to lower the barriers between the public and the council. We need to establish a dialogue, a real conversation, not a talking past each other.
The Town Hall Meeting on Monday at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Newport News, 12716 Warwick Blvd. (next to the Peninsula Memorial Park Cemetery) will be a good beginning. Council members Bert Bateman and Pat Woodbury will participate. This meeting and more meetings like this involving other council members are needed.
Our website, SaveRiverviewFarmPark.com, will continue to provide a calendar of meetings and events, access to relevant documents, and links to videos and other sources of information.

Adrian Whitcomb
President, Citizens for Riverview Farm Park
Newport News