Despite ongoing concerns about costs, on Monday (March 13) the Front Royal Town Council authorized advertisement for bids on construction of a new town police headquarter based on Moseley Architects’ $9.3-million design.
Only Bébhinn Egger opposed the authorization, though Eugene Tewalt joined her in expressing concerns about the price tag a Council majority has allowed Moseley to develop its design on. Tewalt reminded his colleagues that the original cost estimate Council received from staff was $5.5 million.
“I will vote for it, but I think we could have gone with another design and beaten this price,” Tewalt said.
Egger has opposed the project from the outset, indicating a preference to continue the current $3,000 a month rental of the old Warren County Sheriff’s Office headquarters on Jackson Street. FRPD moved into the former Sheriff’s Office headquarters in September 2013.
That move increased the department’s square footage from 4.032 to 7,236. At the time of the move from its West Main headquarters in what was originally the town post office, FRPD had already been forced to move some operations to secondary locations. And department officials note they are already stretching against that increased Jackson Street space.
Moseley current 2-building design was initially forecast to accommodate Town Police needs for 25 years, though more recently a 40-year number has been cited. The approved design that bids will be received on totals 21,600 square feet; with 14,600 of that comprising the main headquarters building.
“I still think this is too much money for a community this size,” Egger said on March 13 in prefacing her vote against proceeding with the Moseley design.
John Connolly asked Acting Town Manager Joe Waltz about the level of contingency funding written into the project. Waltz confirmed that it was in the 10 to 15-percent range at about $800,000.
Tewalt also got confirmation that the cost of appointing a clerk of the works to oversee the project from the town side was not included in the cost estimate.
It was noted by former Town Manager Steve Burke prior to his departure to the City of Manassas Public Works Department, that the original cost estimate quoted to council did not include many peripheral expenses like site work, engineering, furnishing and contingencies.
In fact, responding to work session questions last October, Burke noted that Moseley’s $9.3-million project estimate included $7 million in total construction costs, with $2 million of that number in site work. So as for strict construction costs, that specific total remained in the $5-million ballpark.
Front Royal man arrested on three outstanding indictments, multiple drug charges
On Thursday, September 24, 2020, the Front Royal/Warren County team of the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force (NWVRDTF) arrested Dontreal Arrington on three outstanding indictments for violations of Virginia Code section §18.2-248 distribution of schedule I or II controlled substances. These indictments stemmed from previous drug distribution incidents that occurred within the Front Royal/Warren County area. Arrington, who is the subject of an ongoing investigation involving the distribution of cocaine and marijuana within the Town of Front Royal, was also found to be in possession of cocaine at the time of his arrest.
Following Arrington’s arrest, agents with NWVRDTF obtained a search warrant for his residence in conjunction with the ongoing investigation into his drug distribution activities. A search of the property, located at 19 East Prospect Street in Front Royal, led to the seizure of approximately four ounces of cocaine, which has an approximate street value of $4,400.00. Additionally, over $35,000.00 in cash was also seized from the residence in addition to firearms, ammunition, and paraphernalia associated with illicit drug sales and distribution.
Following the search warrant, additional charges were placed against Arrington in connection with the evidence seized during the execution of the search warrant. These charges include one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine (§18.2-248(A)) and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm while simultaneously possessing a controlled substance (§18.2-308.4(A)). Arrington was held without bond and is scheduled to appear in Warren County General District Court on September 29, 2020, at 10:00 am in relation to these offenses.
Report on EDA’s regular meeting of September 25
The EDA Board of Directors met for their regular monthly board meeting. Following a 1-hour Closed Meeting session the Board heard from Committee Chairs and Interim County Administrator Ed Daley.
Executive Committee Strategic Plan
Jeff Browne reminded the Board that the initial work on the EDA’s strategic plan will start October 9-10. Led by new EDA Board member, Jim Wolfe, community leaders are being asked to participate in the October 9th session and share their vision for our community. The session on October 10th will include a series of exercises to help Board members articulate goals and plans.
Finance Committee – Financial Audits
Bond payments are up to date: Royal Arms Housing bond fees are due every February. The payment for 2020 was paid. $20,500. Christendom College bond fees are due annually in September.
The 2019 fee was paid and the 2020 was just billed in the amount of $6,567.67. The calculation for payment is 1/8 of 1% of the loan balance.
Asset Management Committee:
Royal Lane Property/Workforce Housing Apartments
Committee Chair Greg Harold reported that there has been considerable interest from developers and investors in this property. Executive Director Doug Parsons has been fielding calls from interested parties as well. The RFDP is available in the EDA office. Please contact Doug at 540-635-2182.
Harold updated the Board with news that the purchasers, 2 East Main, LLC, will not be closing on a loan in September. It is anticipated that closing will now take place by December.
EDA Office Building 400 Kendrick Lane
The staff has undertaken a clean out of the West Basement area. Warren County General Services department is handling the cleanup. All working tools and maintenance equipment were donated to their department and remaining items will be disposed of. We will be clearing out the effects and disposing of them in the proper fashion.
Kendrick Lane CDL Lot
The EDA has partnered with LFCC to provide the parking lot across the street from the EDA Office Building for their CDL Training program. In return, LFCC designed signs will be displayed in the area. There were two sign mock-ups to review by board members for the Workforce Development CDL Lot.
Doug Parsons reported to the board that the new EDA website development is proceeding and a promotional video of the EDA-owned property at 426 Baugh Drive is now available at https://youtu.be/W1EbBQ4avNs.
Many thanks to Brian Kelly of Randolph Macon Academy for his work in the drone footage and producing the video.
The Town of Front Royal Planning & Zoning Commission held a public hearing and then voted to approve the EDA to rezone two parcels in the Happy Creek Industrial Park to Industrial-2. The request will now be sent to the full Town Council for their approval.
The EDA Board of Directors will have their regular monthly board meeting via Zoom on Friday, October 23, 2020, at 8 a.m.
County responds to Town announcement of FRPD financing
Warren County released the following press release on Friday, September 25, 2020:
The press conference held on September 23, 2020, announcing that the Town of Front Royal has secured permanent financing for the Front Royal Police Department building is great news for the citizens of our community! It closes a chapter on one aspect of the lawsuit the Town of Front Royal filed against the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority (EDA) and ends months of dispute between the EDA, the Town, and the County. It should be viewed as a path forward to a working relationship between the Town of Front Royal, Warren County, and the EDA.
As Warren County citizens, we were brokenhearted by the EDA scandal. The breach by those who were entrusted with our tax dollars and economic development is one that will take years to restore. Efforts taken by the Warren County Board of Supervisors to restore faith and oversight of the new EDA Board of Directors are well documented. Both the Board of Supervisors and the EDA Board of Directors have worked diligently to clean up the mess and recover the stolen assets for taxpayers.
The portrayal by some Town leadership that the County was unwilling to work with the Town to resolve the EDA issues could not be farther from the truth. The County has had every incentive to work with the Town to resolve the Police Station debt owed by the Town and has repeatedly approached the Town to work together on economic development issues critical to the success of our community.
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Locally produced short film “The Killer of Grassy Ridge” winning festivals worldwide
A debut short film produced in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley is winning film festivals worldwide. “The Killer of Grassy Ridge” has won Best U.S. Short Film, Best Debut, Best Horror, Best Cinematography, and has been selected for nearly 40 film festivals across the world.
The nine-minute independent film was shot in November and December 2019 near Front Royal and Luray’s Lake Arrowhead in the Shenandoah Valley, with additional scenes filmed at a cabin in Rileyville and the mountains of Carter County, Tennessee.
First-time filmmaker Johnny K. of Alexandria wrote and shot the film purely as a personal challenge, giving himself just two months to create a finished product using only the limited gear and resources he had on-hand.
“Last year I became inspired by filmmakers who were out making movies using very little equipment. They were telling amazing stories while I was sitting on the couch complaining that my gear wasn’t good enough to make my first film. I’d been making excuses for long enough, so I wanted to prove myself wrong. Written, shot, and edited in 62 days, “The Killer of Grassy Ridge” is the result. My hope is that my movie will inspire other amateur filmmakers the same way I was inspired.”
With an entirely Virginia-based cast and crew, the film marks the debut of actors Michael Stumbo of Winchester and Arlington native Heather Stone. The movie showcases the natural beauty of the region and the isolated environment and scenic landscapes largely contribute to the tone of the film.
The film has now been selected for nearly 40 film festivals on six continents and shows no signs of slowing down.
“The Killer of Grassy Ridge” is now streaming on YouTube and will soon be available on Amazon Prime.
CLICK HERE to view the entire press kit with more images and details!
37th Anniversary of National Night Out to be held on October 6th
On Tuesday, October 6, 2020, citizens throughout Front Royal are invited to join forces with thousands of communities nationwide for the “37th Anniversary of National Night Out” (NNO) crime and drug prevention event. National Night Out, is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) and co-sponsored locally by the Front Royal Police Department and the Front Royal Police Foundation.
“We look forward to hosting this great event every year, but due to COVID-19 restrictions and safety concerns, we have had to cancel the “block party” style event that we usually hold on the Town Commons,” said Front Royal Chief of Police Kahle Magalis. “This year we are going to take National Night Out mobile and caravan to different locations throughout the town and meet up with our citizens in smaller groups in areas where we can practice social distancing.”
We will host neighborhood visits throughout the Town with police officers, foundation members, and our other law enforcement partners. The evening will begin at the Front Royal Police Department with opening remarks starting at 5:00pm and the start of the parade at 5:20pm. The route will continue through town and will utilize 5 stopping points along the route and conclude at the Town Gazebo at 8:00pm.
National Night Out showcases the vital importance of police-community partnerships and citizen involvement in our fight to build a safer nation. “Events like National Night Out are necessary to help strengthen the partnerships between the community and law enforcement,” said Brendan Murphy, Front Royal Police Foundation Vice Chair. This is the police department’s fourteenth year hosting NNO and without this partnership, law enforcement’s battle against crime would be limited.
Please watch for more information about times and locations on our numerous social media outlets.
Lastly, stop by the Front Royal Police Department and pick up blue lightbulbs and thin blue line flags, while supplies last, to help show your support during the parade!
Parade Route Stops
|5:00 – 5:20||Front Royal Police Department|
|5:30 – 5:50||Warren County Skate Park|
|6:00 – 6:20||Ressie Jeffries Elementary School|
|6:30 – 6:50||Warren County High School|
|7:15 – 7:35||Marlow Heights Baptist Church|
|7:45 – 8:15||Town Gazebo|
FRPD, R on Virginia Ave, L on 1st, R on Union, R on W. Main, SKATE PARK, R on Kerfoot to W. Criser to E. Criser, L into RESSIE JEFFRIES, R on Beeden, L on Hill, R on South St., L on Westminster to WCHS, L on Westminster, R on Walker, L on John Marshall, L on Leach Run, L on Oden, L on Ewell, R on Imboden, R on Happy Ridge, L on Goodview, L on Meadow Court, R on Lewis, L on Happy Creek, L on Manassas Ave to MARLOW HEIGHTS BAPTIST CHURCH, L on Happy Creek to Laura Virginia Hale into TOWN GAZEBO.