Prince George considers $1.5 million property purchase

PRINCE GEORGE, VA (WWBT) - Prince George County is looking at spending $1.5 million on a piece of property, near Scott Park, for youth recreation.

"We have a shortage of baseball fields, soccer fields, hockey fields and football fields. There's not enough time for practice. Our league schedules have to be shorten to accommodate all of those seasons," said County Administrator, Percy Ashcraft.

But some residents are wondering why the money isn't being spent on education. The school district is facing a big budget shortfall and teachers are at risk of layoffs.

We did some digging and discovered money to purchase the property would be borrowed from the utility enterprise fund --- those dollars can't be used for education improvements or public safety.

"The utility fund can only be used for utility projects. So it wouldn't have an impact on any other part of the budget," said Ashcraft.

There's another concern being raised by residents. The property is assessed at $550,000 dollars but the county offered the owners three times that amount $1.5 million.

"We already have utilities in this area. We know we're going to have to pay a little more for the purchase of the property -- but we'll having savings on the back end because the utilities are right there," said Ashcraft.

The county administrator says, the extra property wouldn't only better accommodate youth athletics but serve as a future  investment in sports tourism. The property would be developed into a sports complex.

"That can only be a benefit to our businesses and others in our area," he added.

The board of supervisors is expected to decide on whether to purchase the property within the next 60 to 90 days.

Residents can pick-up a survey at the county administration building or weigh-in on the issue at the board of supervisors meeting at 7:30 p.m. April 24th.

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