2011-08-31 / Opinions

There are better uses for Bob Olsen’s time

letters to the editor

I am writing in response to your recent [Aug. 3] article, “These are signs of the times.” It seems that Mr. Bob Olsen is engaged in a colossal waste of the resources in Chesterfield County. Filing “five to 10” complaints per day is unfathomable. Mr. Olsen has obviously never owned nor worked for a small business.

Small businesses are the backbone of America. In these dire economic times, citizens should be looking for every possible way to support them, not impede the measures that they take to promote sales and growth.

Since it appears that Mr. Olsen has a great deal of idle time on his hands, I would suggest that he spend it a bit more wisely. Perhaps he could take the time to stop into one of the small businesses and get to know the owner, to get a feel for the challenges they face, to try to understand why the banner signs are critical to their businesses. With a greater understanding of how a small business runs, Mr. Olsen may even decide that his time would be better spent strapping on an old-fashioned “sandwich board” sign and making an attempt to help generate revenue instead of wasting the resources of the county and hurting the businesses that are vital to the county.

David T. Kees


Olsen works for a small business in Glen Allen. Editor

Federal government can’t afford Hull Street grant

Now let me get this straight: The federal government is giving local governments $400,000 to improve [the] Hull Street [corridor]? This is the same federal government that is going broke. This money is to do projects that local and state governments, which are in much better shape, have not done because of lack of priority.

All the money these governments have comes from the same place – American taxpayers. Local and state governments do not do projects because they have more direct accountability to the taxpayers. The federal government seems to have no accountability at all.

This “gift” from Washington is like getting an extravagant gift from a friend who is awash in debt, and then wants a loan to solve his problems. I’m sorry, but the whole process makes no sense to me.

John Grohusky

North Chesterfield

Private boathouse at Robious Landing is a county asset

Lately, the validity of Virginia Boat Club’s boathouse at Robious Landing Park has come into question [Aug. 10 letters to the editor]. Some have questioned why a privately-owned group is able to build such a boathouse in a public park. As a dedicated rower, my bias is obvious, but I hope to create more understanding on the subject.

The boathouse was built on a partnership that mandated that at least 50 percent of the members of the boathouse be Chesterfield residents. The boathouse has gained a reputation in the rowing community and has accumulated a great amount of members. Apart from these members are rowers from James River High School. Over 70 students dedicate their time on JRHS’ varsity rowing team, which stores boats inside of the boathouse.

The boathouse draws in a huge crowd of rowers every day. If you are willing to wake up early, you may catch the huge rush around 5-6 a.m. Nearly all of these rowers are county residents, and the boathouse helps them better utilize their public park.

The boathouse is built because being able to carry 60-foot-long boats to and from practice every day is impractical. The boats are extremely fragile due to the fact they are made to be as light as possible. The boathouse guarantees that damage to the boats from weather, transportation and day-to-day use is kept to a minimum as the boats can be worth well over $20,000.

Some may say that the boathouse is padlocked, which means it is not open to the public in a public park. The truth is, the boathouse is padlocked because the equipment inside of the boathouse is a tremendous value. To leave boat engines, fuel and racing boats to stand unprotected would be asking for something to go wrong.

The boathouse is maintained by Virginia Boat Club, but any addition is given considerable foresight by the county. An example would be when Virginia Boat Club installed a closet outside of the boathouse to hold the fuel for the three motorboats. The county asked the boat club to move the closet out of sight and to repaint it. Of course, the boat club agreed.

In all, the boathouse lets Chesterfield residents use their public parks even more. From the biannual regattas (boat races) that draw in hundreds of people to the daily spectators, the boathouse gives back to the community by giving it a beautiful venue for competitive and recreational rowing.

Sean W. Savage


I would like to respond to the recent letter to the editor titled “private club use of James River park use is questioned.” I feel it is important to paint an accurate picture of Robious Landing Park and the boat club. I would also encourage readers to go to the park and see for themselves before forming an opinion. Saturday mornings are best, but on almost any morning there will be members of the community enjoying the river in these boats. The next time you cross the [Route] 288 bridge, look toward the Chesterfield side of the river. Almost every morning you will see lots of long rowing boats in the river.

I am not a member of the boat club. I am a resident of Tarrington (a neighborhood by the park), and I often walk to the park with my kids. The boat storage facility is set back pretty far from the river – at least 100 yards. There are some picnic pavilions that are just as close to the river. There is a road, and part of the park parking lot is actually closer to the river. So I’m not sure how this facility destroys or dominates the waterfront view. The club is also open to anyone to join. The only criticism I have about the facility is that it could better shield some of the boats from view with a fence or an evergreen screen.

I feel the activity generated by this club is a great asset to the park. Park visitors are often seen talking with the boaters or watching them launch their boats on the floating dock the club built. The club actually provides some boats to their members, so it is more than just a storage facility.

From what I have seen, a lot of the members of this club are seniors who are looking for a fun activity. They often arrive in teams and help each other carry the boats from the storage facility to the river. When out-of-town guests have taken walks with us to the park, they often marvel at how great it is to have this facility in the local park.

Since the county only provided the land, I think it is far from a “boondoggle.” As noted, it also provides a way for James River High School to have a rowing team and a floating dock for people to fish on or enjoy the river views.

I feel this letter to the editor created a negative inaccurate picture of what is really going on at Robious Landing Park. It really is a great partnership. The county should be proud that the park has this facility and that taxpayers have been spared the cost. We all know that it would not exist if it had to be supported by taxpayers. If the facility was opened to all (not padlocked), there would soon be a story about someone stealing the boats, vandalizing them or a greater chance of someone taking them on the river without the proper training. So before we try to be a killjoy, we need to look at these situations from every angle.

Richard Papcun


Letters to the editor can be emailed to let, mailed to P.O. Box 1616, Midlothian, VA 23113, or faxed to 744-3269. Letters should include the writer’s phone number and home address, but neither will be printed. All letters should be limited to less than 500 words and may be edited for clarity or space. For complete guidelines, visit www.chesterfieldobserver. com and click onletters policy.”

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