This past Tuesday, the Greene County Board of Supervisors, in a 3 to 2 vote, approved a $1,040,00.00 bond issue to purchase a piece of property on U.S. Route 29 in Ruckersville for the purpose of creating a new visitor’s center. This bond, which is scheduled to be paid back over 40 years, will cost the county close to $2 million of taxpayer revenue.
Despite attendees of the meeting speaking to the facts that brick-and-mortar locations are a thing of the past and that the majority of people who travel do their research online, the three Supervisors: [Bill] Martin, [Michelle] Flynn and [Dale] Herring chose to ignore the truth and vote for this White Elephant. It was apparent by their response that they had already decided to vote for this project long before this open meeting took place.
It has become all too obvious that this project was decided on months ago before the public became aware of what was happening. This property originally was being looked at for a Burger King location but because of a water supply issue the restaurant had to back out. It was around this time that Mr. Silke, the owner of the property, whom by pure coincidence is on the tourism board, was approached by Alan Yost about the possibility of the county purchasing the land and building. The original idea for the property was to have it set up as a business enterprise center. However, because the Transient Occupancy Tax dollars are required to be spent on tourism-related expenses the enterprise center idea was shelved and a new visitor center was proposed for the location. A visitor center, which up until this time and despite claims otherwise, had never been up for consideration until now.
Because of how this all came about people need to ask the question who is benefiting from this purchase? It apparently is not the citizens of Greene. As the saying goes, “follow the money.”