Manassas Plans 3 School Projects

At a joint meeting of the Manassas School Board and the City Council last week, officials agreed to fund a new middle school at a cost of $15.5 million, convert the current middle school into an elementary school for $3.8 million and rehabilitate Baldwin Elementary School for $1.5 million. The improvements at Baldwin will include air conditioning and new lighting, ceilings, doors and windows, City Manager John Cartwright said. School officials hope to begin the three projects by June 1988.

In its regular meeting last week, the Manassas City Council tied 3 to 3 on whether to reject all three bids it received on two acres of city-owned land and dispose of it in a private sale instead. Two of the bids, both from churches, were for $45,000 and $47,000. The third bid, for $80,000, was from a developer who plans to build single-family houses on the site. Cartwright said he recommended that all bids be rejected and the city begin negotiating with one of the two churches because a church, he said, would not require as many city services as private houses would. Mayor Edgar Rohr is expected to break the tie before the council's Aug. 31 meeting.

The council also heard a report from county health director Dr. Jared Florance that one of the proposed golf courses that is part of the Robert Trent Jones 802-acre development may be too close to Lake Manassas, which supplies water to the city and to some western Prince William County residents, and could affect water quality.

The council last week granted easements to the developer to build greens, fairways and cart paths for the golf course. The development will include a resort conference center, office, parks and two more golf courses. All the courses will be designed by Jones, a golf course architect, who promised the county last year that he would pay for monitoring Lake Manassas water quality before, during and after construction. Cartwright said the council asked Florance and assistant city manager Clyde Wimmer to discuss the issues of retention ponds and erosion control and report to the council on Aug. 31.

Occoquan to Open Visitors Center Occoquan officials announced that the town has signed a five-year, $1-a-year lease with county officials for the visitors center to be in Occoquan. According to town officials, an occupancy date of Dec. 2 has been set for the opening of the renovated storage shed that will be used to provide information for tourists. While some residents cited concerns, the Town Council has said that the 60,000 visitors expected at the center, spread over one year, should not create traffic tie-ups. "But if each one spends a few minutes in Occoquan, that would be great," a spokesman said. The new center and the year-round Occoquan Museum will entitle the town to a large brown and white sign on I-66 directing tourists to Occoquan, "something we've wanted for a long, long time," the spokesman said.

Quantico Honors Parade Worker The Quantico Town Council last week presented resident Ray Woolfenden with two plaques commending him for his work on the town's annual Christmas parade. Woolfenden, who has served as Christmas parade chairman for 10 of the 30 years the town has presented the event, owns radio station WPWC in Dumfries, Quantico Treasurer Georgia Raftelis said.

Hot Line for Lorton Neighbors The D.C. Department of Corrections has installed a telephone hot line for residents near the Lorton prison complex so they can get information during emergency conditions, Prince William County spokeswoman Susan Mack said. The number is 690-7722.

According to District officials, callers will hear a recorded message on the status of serious disturbances or escapes at the prison. The hot line number will have multiple lines so callers won't receive a busy signal, Mack said. Last July, Occoquan Mayor Chuck Pugh asked County Executive Robert Noe to call town officials if problems occur at Lorton Reformatory, which is across the Occoquan River from the town. Pugh said that although Lorton escapees usually head for Washington, some residents fear that some will cross the Rte. 123 bridge into Occoquan.

Prince William Tourism Rises Visitors to Prince William County spent more than $63 million last year, up about $14 million from 1985, county tourism director Bernadette Plunkett said. The number of county jobs generated by travelers increased from 1,400 to 1,700 as state tax receipts collected in Prince William increased from $1.8 million to $2.6 million. About $250,000 of the $951,000 collected in local tax receipts from travel-related expenditures came from the county's 2 percent lodging tax, Plunkett said. She noted these figures, released recently by the United States Travel Data Center, do not include trips by people who traveled 100 miles or less.

According to LaVerne Carson, president of the Occoquan Merchants' Association, about 50 percent of the half-million people who visited the town last year traveled less than 100 miles.Also, figures recently released by the Travel Data Center indicate that tourists in the City of Manassas spent $3.7 million last year, up about 14 percent from 1985. Manassas museum curator Doug Harvey said more than half the 14,000 people who visited the museum last year live within a 100-mile radius of the city.

Manassas Park, Virginia's smallest incorporated city, also saw more spending on tourist-related services, including food, lodging and miscellaneous retail goods. According to travel center figures, visitors spent $44,000 in the city in 1986, about $7,000 more than they spent in 1985. There were, however, no local tax receipts and no travel-generated jobs in Manassas Park, the report said.

Recycling Trailer Moves to Westgate The Reynolds aluminum recycling trailer has moved to the Westgate Shopping Center on Rte. 234 in Manassas, according to Prince William Litter Control Council coordinator Janet Ellis.

The trailer is open Tuesday through Saturday between 1 and 4:30 p.m. The company pays 28 cents a pound for aluminum loads between one and 50 pounds. For information on larger loads, call 800-228-2525. A second recycling center will open at the county landfill on Dumfries Road as soon as an operator is hired, Ellis said. Persons interested in a part-time job paying $5.50 an hour can pick up an application at the Westgate operation.