Editor: 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 Dec. 15 public hearing 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 square feet to 304,025 square feet consistent with the Loudoun County 2019 General Plan policies that call for the protection of natural, environmental and heritage resources? Supervisor Briskman should consider how absurdly out of balance a 10% decrease in the floodplain impervious area (347,150 to 304,025 square feet), which she approvingly commented on, is compared to a 30% increase (10,000 to 304,025 square feet) in the floodplain impervious area.
If the supervisors don’t reverse course, Loudoun County and Virginia would never be able to recover the precious natural asset it has lost. The supervisors were elected to be responsible stewards of Bles Park.
Timothy R. Kroboth, Ashburn