RVCC : BOS Public Hearing Moves Forward To Own Building : 9.9.09

©2009 www.nelsoncountylife.com : Sarah Jane Stewart, RVCC Board President, addresses the Nelson Board of Supervisors at Tuesday night's public hearing.
©2009 www.nelsoncountylife.com : Sarah Jane Stewart, RVCC Board President, addresses the Nelson Board of Supervisors at Tuesday night's public hearing.

Nelson County, Virginia

By Tommy Stafford

After roughly a 30-45 minute public hearing Tuesday night, the majority of the Nelson Board of Supervisors (BOS) spoke in favor of transferring ownership of the Rockfish Valley Community Center (RVCC) to the organization. For several years RVCC has been operating with a lease agreement to the county. Though the lease agreement has been amicable for both sides, RVCC’s ability to expand and improve has been limited by lack of ownership. In full disclosure, the writer of this web piece is a sitting member of the RVCC board. RVCC is the home of the old Rockfish Elementary School.

A group of concerned citizens presented the BOS with a petition containing 112 names of people they said oppose the transfer, mainly citing economic reasons. The group felt the county should outright sell the building at market value. The BOS has previously transferred the ownership of other community center buildings to their organizations. Centers such as Fleetwood in Massies Mill and Schuyler are owned by the local organizations after their transfer some years ago.

The organizations then assume the total operational costs of the centers, but hold the deed to the property which in turn gives them leverage in capital expansions, etc, Grants are more readily available when the buildings and properties are owned by the organizations.

A BOS vote for the transfer will follow in a future meeting.


  1. The organization that now owns Fleetwood in Massies Mill does not appear to have taken proper care of the building. When I drove by two-three weeks ago there were many broken windows and trash all around the building. There is no guarantee that this could not happen to RVCC should the organization take ownership of the building. Is the organization currently held accountable for the cleanliness and structural aspects of the building or is that the responsibility of the county? The RVCC has made many positive strides with the activities that have been held and are currently being held there. If the building is sold at market value it would benefit the county in these times of economic stress however if the Center continues to grow and add positive additions (Boys and Girls Club) it would also benefit the population of the county as well.

  2. County Citizen, since you are unwilling to put your name behind your opinion, let me proudly express mine, with name intact. I do not speak for the board here, but this is my personal view endorsed by many on the board and others in this community. You are not comparing apple to apples and your argument that monies derived from the sale of RVCC at market value will benefit the county, have no merit. The reality is this building is a liability to the county. It’s old, out of code, and requires hundreds of thousands of dollars in renovations to make it a future meeting place that will survive decades to come. The county transferred other community centers in previous years under a similar scenario. The county has been gracious enough to allow RVCC time to develop an aggressive renovation plan to address these matters. Design phases of this part of the plan are underway now.

    RVCC has shown the tremendous ability to be great stewards of this property. While we don’t personally know the situation at Fleetwood you mention, RVCC has always been quick to repair any issues on premise. RVCC’s ability to seek grants, endowments, and the like are hampered or simply don’t happen because of the lack of ownership. Many foundations simply will not commit the large dollars to an organization that does not hold the deed. Understandably.

    If you truly cared about what happens to this property, you’d endorse this plan and see this group is acting in the best interest of this community and are trying to provide more of the activities needed in this county. If RVCC does not take the ball here, would you prefer to see the building sit idle, leveled or some commercial developer buy it (at fair market value) and build condominiums there?

    Tommy Stafford

  3. RVCC is not trashy now and has not been in the past 9 years since they have leased the property from the county. So how would ownership transition the center into a trashy place? I really don’t think that would happen, there is too much pride at RVCC for that to happen. Also, selling the property would take away all the great things that RVCC now offers the community. Who knows who would buy it. If sold the community would lose valuable community services which the county has been unable to provide. Let’s move forward, join forces and make RVCC even more successful, build new programs like the Boy’s and Girl’s Club, add a pool and a walking trail, the potential is here! Let’s go with it!

  4. Well said, Tommy. You’re a pretty good fellow for being a “transplant”. Us natives appreciate your efforts. If northern Nelson/Rockfish valley is to survive as a community, RVCC will be fundamental to the effort. It’s been a hub for activities for many decades.

  5. The only concern that I have with the transfer of ownership is that with the growth of the county, especially the northern end of the county is that it is very possible withing the next 20 or 30 years the county will need another high school or middle school and the current Rockfish Community Center would be an ideal location for such expansion and when the time comes and it will eventually the county will have to pay an outrageous ammount for any land especially in the northern end. I wish the best for community center and its future but I think its in the best interest of the county and its future that the BOS hold on to the deed for future expansion.

  6. Mr. Stafford (and others)

    All good points raised in your comments.

    I agree that RVCC folks have made extraordinary efforts in regards to this property and continue with plans to make this a place of benefit to the area.

    The former Lovingston Elementary School (Nelson Center) provides great services to Lovingston (and surrounding) areas and I feel confident that the former Rockfish Valley School (RVCC) can/will do the same.

    In my original comment I don’t believe I said that I did not endorse RVCC taking ownership of the building. I merely stated my observations regarding the Fleetwood Center and the fact that there are no guarantees. There appears to have been an assumption that I did not endorse RVCC taking ownership of the building.

    I believe that people in the RVCC area need a place to attend/hold activities and the RVCC organization has the ability to make those positive changes.

    Sale of the building could give the county a monetary benefit, as I stated previously, but I also mentioned growth of the center would be a positive asset and the growth of the center would continue to be positive to the area, long after any money derived from a sale would be of benefit.

    Mr. Stafford, it is clear from your statements that the organization taking ownership of the building is something near and dear to your heart and I applaud the efforts being made. However, making assumptions that I do not endorse this or truly care about what happens to the property, at this point, are uncalled for.

  7. Point well made County Citizen. Generally I just don’t place much merit in folks who hide behind ghost names and don’t use their real name. If you are willing to say it, you should put your name to it. But you are correct and I stand corrected, and appreciate your positive comments. It is a matter near and dear to my heart as you say. For I know without this step forward the center may exist, but never soar or become what it needs to be. Tommy Stafford.


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