More than a decade ago, a short-sighted Board of Supervisors approved removing about 30 acres of passive land use from Bles Park, a small, 124 acre park, to create four soccer fields with inadequate parking.

Because of its small size and the badly planned, active use encroachment that began more than a decade ago, the natural habitat of Bles Park is now further endangered by this Board of Supervisors.

For people who understand and value the natural, Bles Park provides the calming presence of being in harmony with nature. Its unique location which borders the Potomac and Broad Run Rivers on two sides, provides for shared family experiences in an irreplaceable, ecologically fragile sanctuary for wild flowers and birds.

According to Birds of Loudoun, more bird species have been seen in Bles Park than any other place in Loudoun County. Furthermore, according to a national database of bird sightings, 190 species of birds have been seen at Bles Park in recent years.

I attended the Board of Supervisors Public Hearing on December 15, and the decision to move ahead with a January vote seemed to hinge on concern about the safety of street parking--a bad parking solution that resulted from approval of soccer fields with inadequate parking. As a result, the plan now intends to add about 160 parking spaces.

The prior and proposed parking changes to Bles Park seem to amount to no more than the game of “foot in the door followed by entire body”. If more parking and other amenities are needed, stop the gamesmanship and replace a soccer field. Moreover, remove the proposed wetlands boardwalk; Bles Park is not the Everglades.

And how is increasing the impervious area within the floodplain from 10,000 SF to 304,025 SF consistent with the Loudoun County 2019 General Plan policies that call for the protection of natural, environmental and heritage resources? Spvr. Briskman should consider how absurdly out of balance a 10% decrease in 347,150 SF to 304,025 SF impervious floodplain area, which she approvingly commented on, is compared to a 30% increase in impervious floodplain area from 10,000 SF!

If the Supervisors don’t reverse course, Loudoun County and Virginia would never be able to recover the precious natural asset it has lost. You, the Supervisors, were elected to be responsible stewards of Bles Park.

Tmothy R. 

Ashburn

(1) comment

jke

The Board of Supervisors has posted Item 13 on Tuesday for Bles Park vote. There will be 2500 signatures collected from and by the grass roots saying the staff recommendation is a poor choice and this should be returned to the planning commission for further work. Instead of adding surfaces that produce runoff we should be removing impervious surfaces at Bles Park. The best and highest use of the park is for indigenous plants and animals.

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