A political issue that led a Manassas Park commission to resign en masse four years ago is alive again.

The strongly independent city park and recreation commission wants to pull out from under council control and become an administrative commission rather than an advisory one.

"We don't want to keep having to run to the council like little children asking if we can go outside and play," said Alma Dunn, who chairs the commission. "We don't want to have to run to the council every time we want to do something or say something."

Four years ago all five commission members resigned after repeated clashes with the City Council. Dunn, who was a member of that commission, recalled that the panel was "fed up with trying to get things done because the only place anything went was in file 13. We gave up."

Last September the commission was reactivated by a new council that had promised to improve parks and recreation in the city. But the new commission also wants to be an independent, authoritative liaison between city residents and the council.

Manassas Park people can speak out on the proposal to make the park and recreation commission an administrative body at a public hearing, set for 8 p.m. March 31 in Costello Park Community Center. The council is to vote on the issue April 6.

"Citizen demands for recreational programs and use of facilities have changed since 1976, when the commission was started," Dunn said. "We want to consolidate and centralize the approach. We would have our own budget and act as a department, formulating policies. We just plain want more latitude."