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Friday, November 16, 2018

County Non-Suits Lawsuit to Close the Front Royal Golf Club

After hearing comments from the citizens of Warren County, Dan Whitten, County Attorney, has filed a motion to non-suit the lawsuit the County filed on April 6, 2018 to remove a public golf course from the list of required uses for the Carson property.

A nonsuit is a voluntary withdrawal or dismissal of a lawsuit by the party that filed it and allows the party to bring a second suit within six months on the same cause of action.

The Front Royal Golf Club property was given to the people of Front Royal and Warren County by William E. and Agnes H. Carson with the intention of developing the land, which was the site of the Battle of Guard Hill on August 16, 1864, into a park. The park was the inspiration of Mr. Carson, who was the first director of the Virginia Conservation and Development Commission, one of the key figures behind the Shenandoah National Park, and was instrumental in founding the system of state parks throughout Virginia. In the last years of the Great Depression, Mr. Carson saw a need for recreational facilities for the young people of Front Royal and Warren County and sought help through federal work programs. Mr. Carson, who was also the owner of the Riverton Lime and Stone Company, Inc., quarry adjoining the park to the south, was able to arrange for the Civilian Conservation Corps to build the Front Royal Recreational Park. On June 22, 1938, William E. and Agnes H. Carson transferred ownership of 63 acres of land, upon which construction of the park was well underway, to the Front Royal Recreational Center Corporation. The facility opened to the public on August 6, 1938 as the Front Royal Recreational Park Historic District before its name was changed in 1950 to the Front Royal Country Club. The site was added to the Virginia Landmarks Register in 1991 and to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

This 60-acre golf course is located on Country Club Road in the North River Magisterial District in Warren County. The facility includes a 9-hole golf course, clubhouse with banquet room, maintenance facility, boat launch area, and associated parking, roads, and walking trail paths. The park is bordered by the Shenandoah River.

The Warren County Parks and Recreation Department assumed responsibility for the operations of the Front Royal Golf Club on April 14, 2005. The Front Royal Golf Club Advisory Committee was established to provide oversight to the Director of Parks and Recreation and golf Superintendent. Its mission was to assist in the operation and maintenance of a public golf course which would improve the quality of life for residents of Warren County. It has been the goal of the Advisory Committee to make recommendations and provide guidance to the Warren County Board of Supervisors to enhance recreational value, increase the knowledge of the public in regards to the game of golf, and ensure the land remains available for the use and enjoyment of the public.

According to County Administrator Doug Stanley, the County is nonsuiting the case at this time to allow the County the opportunity to put out another RFP to solicit firms/individuals who may be interested in leasing and managing the Front Royal Golf Club. While it remains the desire of the County, and a current deed restriction, for the property to continue to be used as a golf course, the County is willing to consider other proposals which provide recreation opportunities to the citizens of Warren County and enhance its tax base.

Mr. Stanley noted the Board, which heard feedback from a number of people who play the course regularly at a public hearing on August 21, 2018 to reconsider closing the facility, realizes this pause in the process to remove the language from the deed allows those who support the Club the opportunity to show their support in the form of bringing additional play and revenue to the course.

Mr. Stanley also noted the additional time will allow the County to continue to track down any additional Carson heirs in order to get their input on the future of the course.

Tony Carter, Board Chairman and Golf Club Advisory Committee Chairman added he is interested in seeing how much support the Club will receive from the community this fall. Mr. Carter further commented, “Nonsuiting the case at this juncture makes the most sense since it would likely be the spring before the case would be heard. The Board of Supervisors is going to closely watch the revenue picture over the next several months to see if there is significant community support for keeping the course open. I would encourage those who want to see the course stay open as a golf facility to support it by coming out and playing. With drier weather, we pledge to continue to make improvements to the condition of the course to improve the golf experience.”         

For more information, please contact Doug Stanley, County Administrator, at (540) 636-4600 or dstanley@warrencountyva.net.

Contact

  info (@) warrencountyva.net
  540.636.4600
  540.636.6066
  220 N. Commerce Avenue
     Front Royal, VA 22630

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