County skate park opens to the public

Although rain probably prevented a crowd from showing up at the Saturday dedication of the C. Lacey Compton Park, an in-line skating park at the intersection of New Cherry Hill Road and River Ridge Boulevard, Prince William Park Authority officials said they expect the new park to be well used.

“If it stopped raining, we’d have a ton of people out here,” said authority board member Stewart Christiano after the dedication ceremony,

Board member Jim Johnson said the original idea of building a ball park was scrapped after a public survey showed the need for an in-line skating facility.

A smooth concrete rink, which appears to be perfect for in-line hockey games, is at the center of the park, which also has a volleyball court, tot lot and pavilion.

Paved pathways for skating circle the park’s perimeter.

“We don’t take a cookie-cutter approach to parks,” Johnson said of the park, which is the first of its kind in the county.

Most of the funding for the project came from a $530,000 donation by the Cockpit Point Corporation, a nonprofit corporation formed about 40 years ago by area businessmen and the late district court judge C. Lacey Compton.

The aim of the corporation was to encourage industrial development along the Potomac River, but the plans for commercial development never came together, said former Cockpit Point board member Werner Quasebarth.

The corporation attracted some development, but environmental regulations along with a more urgent need for housing prevented the kind of growth Cockpit Point expected.

In the end, they had money left over and donated it to the park authority to build a park somewhere on the Cherry Hill peninsula, according the bylaws of the corporation.

“I’m happy that this park has been built. I think the money we donated has gone to a good cause,” Quasebarth said of the park, which will serve Southbridge, River Oaks and the Cherry Hill communities.

But the completion of the park did not come easy and the original donation had to be supplemented with money from other park authority projects.

The park authority paid about $100,000 for land to build the park, which left about $430,000 for park development. Bids ranging from $685,370 to $764,445 left the park authority with no option but to have the job rebid on several times.

Compton Park ultimately cost $90,000 more than expected. The park authority diverted funds from the Beaver Creek project and used $19,000 from Christiano’s Woodbridge District funds to finish the park.

Similar Posts