TO: Board of Supervisors
CC: Parks and Recreation Board
FROM: Larry W. Miller, Director
DATE: August 29, 2005
SYNOPSIS: Situational report on operations at Lake Brittle
In response to a request from the Finance Committee, Parks and Recreation staff has compiled information concerning the current status of the operation at Lake Brittle and suggestions for future operations, should the Board decide to continue its relationship with Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
In 2002 the Board entered into a Concession Contract with VDGIF to operate concessions and conduct basic maintenance. At that time VDGIF contemplated constructing a new concession building and docks within a short time with the County’s commitment to contribute $32,000 towards the improvements. Unfortunately, the bids for the structure were higher than expected and a scaled down version of the building with no docks has now been designed. Due to the delays with this project the $32,000 has not been carried forward and needs to be re-appropriated by the Board. It is this re-appropriation that has brought this subject back before the Board.
During discussions with the Finance Committee concerns were expressed about after-hours activity at the facility and the resulting trash that has been discarded along Shepherdstown and Lake Brittle Roads. The Committee has begun to address this situation on two fronts:
1. Requested VDGIF to allow the property to be gated like other County parks. The response is attached but basically indicates that signage could be installed that limits use of the property from ½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise but gating would not be allowed.
2. Asked the Department to develop some recommendations for improved security and maintenance of the site. That information follows:
a. Upgrade existing temporary seasonal management staff to permanent position that would work during the off-season at Vint Hill Village Green Community Center November – February. This facility needs someone fully committed to its operation and finding qualified management candidates for 9 months has, thus far, proven to be extremely difficult. The ideal situation would be to have a year-round employee at the facility who could do site improvements during the winter, e.g. trail repair, boardwalk construction, clearing, shore restoration, etc. but the 9 month proposal is offered in the interest of cost economy.
b. Install gate and initiate opening and closing – installation of gates but only one side would be closed at night. This would permit access to the site but would instill a message of a change in operations that and that a greater commitment is begin made to control unwanted activities.
c. Initiate random security checks – use of part-time random checks above and beyond law enforcement to stop unwanted activities.
d. Install limited surveillance system – installation of cameras to record information about visitors, exact details in process.
e. Request additional patrols and assistance from VDGIF and County Sheriff’s Office – see below.
Comments from VDGIF: John Odenkirk noted that it is their general policy not to restrict access because they do not want to penalize law abiding fishermen; stepped-up patrols by VDGIF and Sheriff are needed but VDGIF law enforcement division has been short-staffed for 8-12 months, willing to put up more signs to consider trespassing all non-fishing activities after hours; thinks that undercover activities will get undesirable elements away from the lake, have not had staff to pursue like they did a couple of years ago when they were doing undercover and had many more convictions. Captain of this area was to call with more information but has not as of this date. Phil Parrish, local Game Warden, willing to throw extra resources (overtime) at problem; they get 75% of reports from Sheriff Office but would like to know of all issues involving the facility, especially specific dates/times/circumstances.
Comments from Sheriff: Dave Flohr indicated their willingness, and recent efforts, to address any problems at the facility; he requested that additional regulations signs, especially relating to alcoholic beverages, be posted; supports camera even if fake; consider time limit on parking and motion activated lighting.
f. Clarify applicability of Parks Ordinance in relation to operations at Lake Brittle - may need to revise to mesh with VDGIF regulations, e.g. hours, life preservers, loitering?, etc. Increase signage to assist law enforcement and increase public awareness of rules.
Total net additional cost is approximately $55,000 (approx. $32,500 are one-time costs, e.g. gate, surveillance equipment).
Current budget for this operation is $43,000.