Support All Sports

Dear Fellow Citizens,

I received an insert, "Welcome to Prince William County," in my newspaper this weekend, as I'm sure many of you did. I was particularly interested in the section on parks. The opening paragraph read, "Whether you want to hike, golf, or tackle a water sport, the Prince William area has several areas where you can enjoy the outdoors."

I have a problem with this statement, and with the county's attitude toward the recent dirt bike controversy. "Enjoy the outdoors," but don't get on your dirt bike! That is what is really being said these days!

Why is my sport so unfairly judged, restricted and discriminated against? Why shouldn't I have the same rights my neighbors have? Why do all my tax dollars go to everybody else's recreational needs?

I have a question for all my fellow citizens: How would you feel if your kids had no soccer fields or baseball fields? I challenge you all to help me stand up about the unfairness in limiting my kids' sport. My tax dollars are helping your kids; how about helping mine?

JOHN REESE

Dale City

Don't Ruin Dumfries

The proposal for a racetrack for Dumfries leaves a lot to be desired. Another location in eastern Prince William County offers a much better location, both as to the site and for highway access.

Locating the track in the town provides Dumfries with additional revenue. With food sales taxes, real estate taxes and business license fees, the proposal offers the town substantial additional revenue. But at what cost?

What neighborhoods will the track destroy with its noise, filth and traffic? Grayson Village, for one. It is the nicest trailer park in the eastern county.

And what about the county? Apart from the real estate taxes, we don't get anything to cover the cost of improving the Interstate 95/Route 234 interchange, or for traffic lights, both of which will be necessary.

There is a better location, with excellent I-95 access. It's the Elrod tract, once the site of the proposed Hahn Mall, north of the eastern end of Dale Boulevard and south of Opitz, behind Ann Ludwig school. An entry and exit ramp could be built between Dale Boulevard and Opitz Boulevard in the northbound on/off ramp of Exit 156. Access could be arranged to the site from I-95 without a single vehicle ever having to enter a local road.

You've got to look through the smoke screen of a racetrack. What Colonial Downs really wants to do is run the only off-track betting parlor in Northern Virginia. It will make its money simulcasting races.

Steeplechase racing, while requiring more horsemanship than flat racing, has only a small following in the United States. There already is a track for this only 30 miles away, in The Plains, and it runs but a few weeks a year.

Don't let the smoke screen of a racetrack blind you to the real reason for the proposal, off-track betting. If the Great Meadows track in The Plains were running at capacity, I'd say that races were the reason, but it isn't. It's the betting action.

You've got harness racing at Rosecroft, right on the Capital Beltway. Within a two-hour drive, you've got flat racing at Laurel and Pimlico, as well as tracks in Charleston, W.Va., Wilmington and Dover in Delaware.

If we've got to have a racetrack, fine. Just don't ruin the nicer neighborhoods of Dumfries in the process.

WILLIAM E. YOUNG

Dumfries

A Price Too Dear

We love horses! We have family members who train, breed and board horses. We even like horse races.

But for the Equus Gaming Co. to build a racetrack near the intersection of Routes 28 and 605 is ridiculous. Why build an off-track betting establishment in a rural area between Manassas, Warrenton and Bealeton?

Obviously, they haven't considered the obstacles they could encounter. For us, it would change the face and character of Nokesville and other parts of Prince William and Fauquier counties, as well as all of Northern Virginia and of our state.

Route 28 has problems now that even widening the road may not solve. Route 605 is a two-lane winding road almost as bad, which could become horrendous with additional traffic. With tie-ups on Routes 28 and 29, it could be compared to similar ones at the Nissan Pavilion, making transportation unbearable.

Environmental concerns about water, pollution and safety are major concerns for farmers and homeowners now, but could be disastrous with a track and clubhouse on 230 acres. Fauquier citizens could be responsible for increased taxes to cover road improvements, police and rescue personnel. The claims of additional revenue for Prince William County would not benefit Fauquier. There are claims that some tracks are losing a great amount money in our state now.

What about the changes affecting local residents and the youth population?

Big business would want to accommodate fans of the 2,000-seat grandstand and clubhouse with motels, restaurants, bars and possibly other conveniences. This could be a detriment to surrounding communities.

To think that this "entertainment vehicle" would bring prosperity to the area is totally unrealistic and unacceptable. Changes in landscape, environment and morality could be the outcome and consequence of such a proposed faility.

Haymarket kept the Equus Co. from building. We must act before the expiring referendum for parimutuel betting on Nov. 30. We must be as firm and courageous as their citizens. Say no to the Nokesville racetrack!

MARY ANNE HANBACK

Nokesville

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