Thursday, February 25, 2010

Concept Sketch for an Arena Downtown on the "walking mall"

This concept is of a building with a dimension of 180' x 287' with the "U" shape design.

There are (3) types of telescopic seating used in this diagram: portable bleachers (611), platform chairs (1308) and stadium chairs (801) for a total of 2720.  This does not include any loose seating in front of the bleachers or at the top of the second floor which would add a couple of hundred to that count.  So realistically with this design, we could be in the ballpark of 3,000 seats.

This is just one example.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

WHY build an Arena on the Downtown Walking mall?

How many people could be drawn downtown on the walking mall area IF an Arena was constructed on the Loudoun Street "walking mall"?

If the Arena is constructed to accommodate in the ballpark of 3500-5000 seats then the following breakdown could be very realistic.

An average of 3,000 individuals x (3) events per week x (4) weeks per month x (12) months = 432,000 on a average per year would be "walking" on the downtown Loudoun Street walking mall.

An average of 2,500 individuals x (3) events per week x (4) weeks per month x (12) months = 360,000 on a average per year would be "walking" on the downtown Loudoun Street walking mall.

Let's use an average per individual spending $10-$20 per visit on the walking mall just alone that would equate to a ballpark figure of $3.6-$8.64 million dollars being spent within our local downtown area and that is NOT even including the hotel stays.

When factoring in a economic multiplier of 1.5, the local economy financial impact could range from $5.4-$12.96 million dollars annually.

OK, some might say (3) events per week is not realistic, fair enough, lets shoot for an average of (2) events per week.

An average of 3,000 individuals x (2) events per week x (4) weeks per month x (12) months = 288,000 on a average per year would be "walking" on the downtown Loudoun Street walking mall.

An average of 2,500 individuals x (2) events per week x (4) weeks per month x (12) months = 240,000 on a average per year would be "walking" on the downtown Loudoun Street walking mall.

$10-$20 per visit per individual spent on the walking mall would equate to a ballpark figure of $2.4-$5.76 million dollars being spent within our local downtown area.  Hotel stays are NOT calculated in this figure.

When factoring in the economic multiplier of 1.5, the local economy financial impact would be a range of $3.6-$8.64 million annually.

What IF these donors only knew of WMC's profitability?

The Winchester Star just featured a story about the WMC Foundation honoring the major donors at the fourth annual Heart Ball Saturday night.

About 350 donors who contributed $1,000 or more attended the black-tie event at the Shenandoah Valley Golf Club. Some of them gave as much as $25,000 in the past year.
In the past year, 1,000 donors have raised $1.2 million. Since its beginning in 2004, the foundation has raised more than $8.6 million and funded nearly $4 million in grants to improve health care.
For more details on the article, visit

Nobody can dispute these donors generosity as it's their choice to donate to whomever they desire but what if they knew how profitable the Winchester Medical Center has been since 2001?

Folks, its just amazing of these (in excess of revenue) profit figures that just the Winchester Medical Center (not-for-profit) alone is producing since 2001 according to Quad State Business Journal was $11.8 million.

So ... here you go ...
  • 2001 - $11.8 million
  • 2005 - $54,346,679 (per IRS990)
  • 2006 - $57,422,678 (per IRS990)
  • 2007 = $66,617,961 (per IRS990)

Everyone has read where The Pub documented that from 2001-2005, that was a 383% increase, well my goodness, from 2001-2007 that has risen even more so up to 460%.

You tell us what in the world in going on?  These numbers are getting too big for The Pub to even comprehend for this "not-for-profit" organization.  Please keep in mind, this is just Winchester Medical Center alone, there are many other revenue generating services that have not been factored in yet.

To close, nobody can dispute the thoughtfulness of these donors BUT what if they only knew of the profits that the WMC just itself turned from 2001-2007?

No doubt about it, that leaves many local charities wondering if these donors would have given to their respective charities that are very much in need during these very difficult economic times.

It’s only fair that the public be more informed but Valley Health System does NOT do a very good job of be very transparent with their financial information in fear of opening up Pandora’s Box!

Finally, our local media outlets do an outstanding job of telling one side of the VHS’s greatness BUT search this blog for keywords of “Valley Health System” and “Winchester Medical Center” so that you as a concerned citizen are more informed to learn about another side of Valley Health System.

Monday, February 22, 2010

New Winchester Arena location added to be considered for the future

A new location, on the Gold's Gym property out on Berryville Avenue as been added to the list that was featured in the Winchester Star.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Big Idea ... give, turnover "ownership" of Bode Grim field to SU

Here is an an idea to consider that would eliminate a lot of scheduling issues plus give Shenandoah University an opportunity to get their own field so-to-speak. 

Big Idea ... Give, turnover "ownership" of Bodie Grim to SU with the understanding (MOU) that the 13yr-18yr old groups in Babe Ruth would be allowed to use it in the summer.  SU baseball basically runs from mid-January to mid-May if the advance to regional playoffs and September thru 2nd week of October.

- This would give SU an opportunity to have their own facility w/o scheduling conflicts and working around Handley HS's baseball team who has #1 priority of Bridgeforth as their is a MOU that was produced several years ago.  The MOU was in place when Bridgeforth Field was constructed in 1978 when both Handley and James Wood played with Handley 1st, James Wood 2nd and then SU started baseball back in mid-80's which made them 3rd on the list.

- SU can invest and make necessary upgrades to Bodie Grim (such as ... A-Turf infield or complete A-Turf baseball field, install press-box and bathrooms, concession stand, remodeling dugouts and provide a fence around the facility similar to Bridgeforth field)  This would give WPRD two premier full-size baseball diamonds that would allow SU to host major tournaments and even a possible USA-South Conference Tournament, the Mid-Atlantic Regional tournament as well as major HS tournaments including American Legion Baseball and The Winchester Royals.  The opportunities would be endless do to the fact that so many organizations would benefit from such a major upgrade to Bodie Grim field.

- This would be a huge step forward IF SU would be willing to make such an investment into WPRD's baseball facilities

- Bodie Grim is in need of some major upgrades since it's been constructed back in 1998-1999 timeframe.  A lot has to do with SU getting on there when there is snow on the ground, freeze/thawing affect as well as a lot of mud as a result of very soft ground during January and February as well as not proper detailed maintenance throughout the summers.

- SU would indeed have a baseball facility to truly call their own since it's an evident perception that there is no land available to build their own baseball/softball complex as there is no mention of such facility in the local media stories since Mr. Edwards was chosen as the new Athletic Director.

To close, it'll be a WIN/WIN for all and SU will be making a major contribution to our community as well as our Park and Rec department.

Cast your VOTE today at the following ...

[This post was originally posted on February 9, 2010 @ 8:26am]

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

SHEETZ has desires to purchase/lease the former Clarke Motors property?

The Pub has been informed that SHEETZ has much interest in pursuing the former Clarke Motors property and has plans on constructing a brand new much larger facility as the old facility would be torn down.

4708 Seating Capacity option for an Arena Downtown

Keep in mind that the 240' length of the building could be anywhere from 5-7 feet longer.  The length of the Arena would run from corner of Old Taylor Hotel down beside the Snow White Grill.

4708 Seating is "telescopic" to allow full use of floor space when needed.

This is just one option to get the idea of the seating capacity started for an Arena Downtown on the Loudoun Street "Walking Mall".

One could envision a 2nd floor balcony area that could house corporate box suits.

For the record, this is very premature and nothing has has been confirmed on the seating requirements.  The rough draft sketch has been sent to a company to make recommendations.

If anything, we are just "brain-storming" to stir the interests for the Arena to be constructed  downtown on the "walking mall".

Hopefully others reading this blog will see the benefit of having such an Arena on the downtown walking mall.  After reviewing the (4) parking garages locations and open parking lots, one would think that parking would not be an issue.

To close ... no doubt about it, IF an Arena is constructed on the downtown mall, there will be many folks "walking" on the Loudoun Street Walking Mall as the local merchants, The GW hotel and restaurants will benefit tremendously.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Rough Draft sketch of Downtown Arena on Walking Mall

Below is a rough-draft sketch of an idea for an Arena downtown on the walking mall.

Scale is One square block = 10' x 10'.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Why should an Arena be downtown?

Maybe for obvious reason posted on Thursday, February 11th but consider this ...

- US Air Arena was located where? But where did they build the Verizon Center?

- RFK was located where?  But FedEx field was built where?  Now there is talk about building another stadium where?

- Where is Washington Nationals stadium located?

The perception is that Washington, DC has figured out that arena and stadiums need to be in the heart of the City to be most successful.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Big Idea ... Build an Arena downtown on the walking mall

Mr. Jimmy Dix (resident of Winchester) and I ventured out Wednesday afternoon to have lunch and Mr. Dix brought up an outstanding idea that I believe has a great opportunity to rejuvenate the downtown walking mall.  I said, Mr. Dix, you are onto something!  I'll get into the appraisal network so we can figure out the dimensions of those buildings.

The Old Taylor Hotel has the opportunity to become property of the City of Winchester through eminent domain.  The other buildings would have to be purchased outright from the individual owners.

This "Big Idea" would be to build the proposed arena on the walking mall that will draw citizens and out-of-town guests to our downtown.

Click on the following link to view the sideshow that was shared with the Planning Commission in a work session.

Downtown Winchester Arena Concept

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bridgeforth Field lighting issues has to take priority

City agency is working on new pitch for series

By Vic Bradshaw
The Winchester Star

Winchester — Brad Veach is working on a new pitch to bring a national youth baseball tournament to the city.

Veach, who directs the city Department of Parks and Recreation, is revamping his funding proposal for the 2011 Cal Ripken-Babe Ruth 10-Year-Old World Series.

His goal is to provide an acceptable alternative in case the department does not receive a $100,000 grant.

“Our goal is, we need to say we’re not going to need any new tax dollars,” Veach said Friday.

City Council President Jeff Buettner said Monday that he hopes the council can back the series.

But he said he cannot support spending much money on the event while other departments are facing spending cuts in the next budget.

“With the school budget we’re looking at, with [state funding] cuts to the police department, it’s not on my list of priorities,” Buettner said. “I don’t know how to fit it into this budget when we’ve got so many other pressing concerns .... If the number gets small enough, it’s something we should look at.”

Veach’s initial pitch at the council’s December work session called for the city government to spend up to $273,000 to attract the event — $158,000 for improvements to Yost Field, $75,000 for operating expenses, and $40,000 for the contract fee.

For the remaining part of the article, click on this link:

No matter how you look at it ... Tax dollars = Tax dollars!

“Our goal is, we need to say we’re not going to need any new tax dollars,” Veach said Friday.

To avoid asking for new tax dollars, he hopes to be able to use parks and recreation reserve funds — money the department didn’t use in previous years — to cover some expenses.

City records indicate that the department under-spent its budget by $430,000 during the last three years. In the past, Veach said, the money has been used to buy playground and mowing equipment and cover unexpected repairs.

However, Buettner views the reserve funds as money to be used for emergencies or one-time capital projects. “To me,” he said, “this is neither of those.”

If anything, Bridgeforth Field has many, many dark spots in that outfield.

Catchers in the bullpen are catching in the dark basically.  Again, another safety issue because of insufficient lighting on a 32yr old facility.  Why would the WPRD put up that light pointing into the 3rd base bullpen years ago if there were not lighting issues?

The majority of those lights have been there for 32yrs except for the one pole on the 1st base side that fell down in 1998-1999.

Did not the lights get replaced on Yost Field 14 yrs ago when their was a major improvement as $40,000 was given to WPRD as a result of Rouss Park baseball field/land sale to Shenandoah University.

Unfortunately, the park reserve funds could be a situation now, where if did not use it, you will lose it.  Wonder if certain improvement could have been made over the last 3yrs with those surplus fund?

There is a real safety issue with the lighting at Bridgeorth, no doubt about it.  Bridgeforth has to take priority since the majority of those lights have been there for nearly 32yrs.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Winchester’s Baseball ‘funnel effect’

Open Forum

WB’s ‘funnel effect’

What occurs when league is all-star-centered? Baseball dies

In response to Todd McNemar’s letter, “Setting record straight on WB” (Your Views, Jan, 22), I have to comment even further and in more detail this time.

Please set the record even more straight, Mr. McNemar, as several attempts have been made to get answers to the following questions below since October 2009 and, most recently, as of Jan. 23, but Winchester Baseball officials and/or reps still remain silent because the perception is they do not want to open up Pandora's Box.

Just for clarification, are not all of the WB board members Frederick County residents now?

Now, for my questions:

* How many kids are playing in Winchester Baseball, ages 8 through 12?
* How many kids are Winchester City residents?
* How many are Frederick County residents, Clarke County residents, Warren County residents, Shenandoah County residents, and Hardy and Hampshire County residents?
* Are there not all-star teams practicing in the Armory during December, January, and February? And how can this be fair and equal if these all-stars are pre-selected before the season even starts?
* Are any kids added to these all-star teams after the regular season is completed?

In response to your statement about fields being utilized by Shenandoah University, Handley High School, and Parks & Rec programs that I assume are conflicting with Winchester Baseball: Shenandoah University finishes up their seasons about the first week of May. Handley baseball is normally finishing up during mid-May. This is all the more reason to have “summer” baseball for 12-and-unders as opposed to the early spring when it is not ideal, weather-wise, to be practicing. Practices, may I add, that may run until 10 p.m. on school nights.

Mr. McNemar, the motive is to get all of the facts out on the table for City Council to review so they can make an informed decision about city taxpayer dollars. Should the City of Winchester spend money on this World Series during these epic budget constraints we are facing? How can saying this be viewed as stirring the pot?

The tax base of Winchester has taken serious hits in recent years due to the fact that many new shopping centers located in Frederick County have opened up — in other words, not within the city limits.

So, yes, it would be nice for Frederick County to share the expenses for this 2011 World Series. Especially if the majority of the kids are from Frederick County.

Furthermore, the structure of WB is casting ill effects on Handley baseball, which only had 25 players come out last year, eight of them eighth-graders. Handley baseball is in serious jeopardy, but why? I have an opinion. The board, coaches, and parents of WB are recruiting the best players around to come play in attempts to assemble the best all-star team possible. Now, how are kids who reside in Winchester supposed to get better when WB is trying to pull the best kids from all the surrounding counties?

I agree 100 percent. WB should be very successful when pulling kids from a population area of more than 180,000 (and up to nearly 230,000 if Shenandoah County is in the equation).

Again, you are correct: I will question the operation of WB. Is this in the best interests of the masses, especially the kids who reside in the City of Winchester? The perception is that WB is basically an AAU baseball program hidden under the umbrella of Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth League Baseball.

But look at Frederick County Little League, split into North and South boundaries serving a total population of 73,898. Maybe this is why WB does not want to be part of Little League baseball, which has restrictive boundaries.

Basically, everyone needs to realize little Johnny is most likely not going to be the next major leaguer. With everyone starting out now in T-ball starting at age 4 and then having all those age-group all-star teams, I believe this system is burning kids out. Why are kids from 13 to 15 years old dropping out at a tremendous rate? Back in 1953, Winchester had four teams for the 13-14 age division with much less population. How many teams are in the 13-15 league now with a much larger area and population?

To close, this is like a funnel effect! Everyone is on top starting at age 4 and 5 and as each age is reached, the funnel begins to narrow and gets tighter until only a few make it through the system. The young kids realize they have not had an opportunity to be a kid and enjoy other things because this league is structured and geared for all-stars.

Maybe since this program is basically serving the county residents, should we not hurry up with the consolidation of Parks & Rec services, so we are in compliance?

Jeff Milburn is a resident of Winchester.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Did Frederick County School Board members allow this to happen???

Based on research and impeccable sources, the perception is that the FCPS admin's allowed this to happen as this current issue could of been prevented when Millbrook HS opened up. 

FCPS school board members tried to send the "Stonebrook area" to JW when they opened Millbrook.

If they had not been intimidated by the parents who raised a stink, this would not be an issue at this time.

The amount of kids that live in the Stonebrook area is the same as the Mountain Falls rea.

When the fourth HS is built the Stonebrook kids are supposed to go to the new High School. We will see.

Should Frederick County shift about 60 students from Sherando to JW?

As a voice for my immediate family of whom are all Frederick County residents as well as most residents would like to know the following:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 8:23 AM
Subject: Re: Last 24hrs, the WincStar Poll on moving 60 students to keep Sherando AA
To: Steve Edwards, John Lamanna, Patricia Taylor

Dear Mr .Edwards,

Just the last 24hrs, thought this was interesting ...

What is the extra financial cost for playing AAA?

Should Frederick County shift about 60 students from Sherando to James Wood to get Sherando's enrollment under the limit to keep it in Group AA for athletics?

    Feb. 3rd:
    9:41am :  86 YES, 178 NO
    1:10pm :  99 YES, 205 NO
    9:38pm : 110 YES, 230 NO

    Feb. 4th
    8:25am : 121 YES, 241 NO

Go here to cast your "unique" vote here and to to view the comments ...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Why not a Bi-State Valley League? Is this old news???

This editorial directly below was in print in the Winchester Star February 1, 2010 but look at the article that appeared in The Journal over Martinsburg, WV back on Februrary 15, 2009.  The perception is that this new league has been in the works for over a year?
Why not a Bi-State Valley League?
To squeeze this all into football parlance, former state Sen. (and Star sports editor) Russ Potts took the snap and, during an informal conversation over the weekend, local gridiron coaching legend Walter Barr ran with it.

The subject(s): renewal of a long-gone cross-border rivalry (Mr. Potts), and the extension of that and similar rivalries into something resembling a league (Mr. Barr).

On at least two occasions this past month, or ever since Sherando High’s efforts to remain a Group AA school attained critical mass in the public eye, Mr. Potts said it may be time, in these days of economic hardship and pinched travel budgets, to revive the old Handley-Martinsburg rivalry. In days of yore, these two schools would regularly meet on Thanksgiving Day. It was a huge, as in HUGE, game.

So what does this have to do with Sherando’s plight? Well, nothing and, yet, everything.

If Sherando were to be forced into AAA status, it would not only translate to extended travel times for district games, but also could signal the end of the wholesome local competition symbolized by the Star-sponsored Barr-Lindon Crimson Apple trophy.

The travel component inherent in all this got Mr. Potts to thinking: Why shouldn’t two historic foes separated by less than 25 miles — i.e., Handley and Martinsburg — not consider playing again? A good question.

During that other recent conversation, Mr. Barr and The Star almost simultaneously came to a similar conclusion about Northern Valley and Eastern Panhandle schools in general. Our wishful proposal: Keep the current Northwestern District alignment — Handley, James Wood, Millbrook, Skyline, and Sherando (hopefully) — intact. Then, mainly for football purposes but for other sports as well, have these schools schedule all five Eastern Panhandle bellwethers — Martinsburg, Musselman, Hedgesville, Jefferson, and newcomer Washington. As it is, some of these schools cross the border to play each other now.

For football, that would be nine games already built-in. The Virginia schools could round out their schedules with traditional foe Warren County, now in the Evergreen District. The West Virginia entries could maintain their rivalries with Hampshire.

A name for this so-old-it’s-new inspired set-up: the Bi-State Valley League. Or maybe the Pan-Valley Conference.

By any name, the idea has merit — and promise — if only for this reason: The longest trip on anyone’s itinerary would be Hedgesville-Skyline, roughly an hour in length.    

New league in works
Jus' Bekoz/By Rick Kozlowski
THE JOURNAL - Martinsburg, WV
POSTED: February 15, 2009

There's been a Tri-State, a Bi-State, a CVAL - all dead.

All that's ever been needed to keep any of those leagues of a past life alive was an MD.

But when all of the Maryland schools decided eventually to stay on their side of the Potomac River as far as league affiliations go, be it 30 years ago, 20 years ago or just a couple of years ago, those leagues went away.

Most of those schools, once hooked up in different associations with schools from the Eastern Panhandle, are pretty much aligned now in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League, schools like Frederick, Thomas Johnson, North Hagerstown, South Hagerstown and Williamsport, among others. Those schools were in any of the previously mentioned "State" leagues and the Hagerstown schools in both the Tri-State and Cumberland Valley Athletic League, which lasted until Fort Hill joined two-time departee Allegany in dropping out a couple of years ago.

And playing for league championships for Eastern Panhandle schools pretty much evaporated as far anyone really cares, even though there are such associations like the Apple Valley League and the Potomac Valley Conference.

Beside day-long league championship competitions, like swimming, wrestling or track, for example, let's face it, who really ever mentions anything about the leagues?

Oh, sure, Woody Higginbotham, the legend from Tygarts Valley, keeps track of the PVC statistics and e-mails them weekly. But really, little to nothing is ever said about that "huge PVC or AVL game."

OK, so up in the Potomac Highlands, the Single-A schools treat the PVC like life and death in its class division.

Around here no one ever mentions first place being on the line in the league. Talk basketball, and the coaches say "we have an important sectional game this week." The teams in the top-schools division of the PVC make up Class AAA, Region II, Section 2 anyway, except for Hampshire.

The section - the sectional tournament, actually - is what matters, which is essentially the league, too. In a strange twist, though, what happens in the regular season may not actually matter as far as actual wins and losses because the coaches get to seed the teams in this section and the section in the middle of the state that's part of the region. It's all about perception, how the teams are ranked on each ballot (which will be compiled before the regular-season ends, incidentally) all added up will determine positions for the sectional tournament.

League talk could be back in vogue.

No, the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission isn't going to position the postseason pairings based on regular-season, head-to-head meetings. That would make too much sense.

Rather, I-81 will have meaning in sports.

A league formed this week, unformed and could be reforming again in the future.

"It's a slow process," Hedgesville athletic director Ron Allen said.

The process is trying to put together an all-sports league between the five schools in Jefferson and Berkeley counties and four schools in Frederick County, Va., and one in Warren County, Va.

Allen said a couple of schools from the quintet of Handley, James Wood, Sherando, Millbrook and Skyline backed out just before the ink dried on the signatures.

The association - the I-81 Conference maybe? - would be for all sports, should it come to pass.

"We're just trying to get something together and recognize the kids," Allen said, then later adding that part of the formula is to help reduce travel costs and increase gate receipts between more familiar teams.

In these tough economic times, it's hard to argue with any of that reasoning.

At face value, a 10-team league among the Virginia schools and Hedgesville, Jefferson, Martinsburg, Musselman and Washington would be terrific.

The competition in the Border Classic for basketball and the cheers from the fans really getting into the game showed us the interest is there. (The Border Classic, by the way, won't be played this year. Call the Winchester Star.)

And schedules for athletic directors would be a piece of cake, particularly in football for the West Virginia schools.

The Eastern Panhandle teams struggle to fill out their schedules and sometimes are sent off on distant trips to play games. In a 10-team league, there would be nine guaranteed games each season, meaning each school would have to find just one more opponent.

The alignment also means 18 required meetings in sports like basketball and baseball if the schools are playing a home-and-home series, typical of a league.

That would limit the number of "non-league" games teams could play given the state-issued ceilings on how many may be played.

Eastern Panhandle boys basketball coaches have said they don't like it, how it would even make having tournaments very difficult.

Maybe trying a unbalanced scheduling system might alleviate that, giving coaches the leeway they've often enjoyed. Let's say, for instance, all the West Virginia schools play each other twice during a season, the Virginia schools do the same with their brethren in the Old Dominion, and then each state plays the other one just once. The Big East plays 18 games in its basketball leagues, with teams playing 15 one time and playing three twice. If that's not unbalanced...

"We'll see what we can do," Allen said.

What Allen and his colleagues can do is add excitement.

Those old enough will never forget the boys basketball battles between Thomas Johnson and Martinsburg in the Tri-State League.

Always close and sometimes lasting past the final regulation buzzer, the Patriots and the Bulldogs simply captivated. The coaches, Dave Rogers at Martinsburg and Tom Dickman at Thomas Johnson, were college teammates at Shepherd, which was a story unto itself. Then you throw in the fact each team was usually battling for first place, the displays were incredible.

Over time, the I-81 Conference - a good name - could provide some of that same excitement and meaning.

It's worth a shot.

- Rick Kozlowski can be reached at (304) 263-3381, ext. 116 or