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Board Approves Park Authority Merger

If approved, the Park Authority would be absorbed into county government.

Update 4:47 p.m.:

The board unanimously approved a merger of the Parks Authority into the county government at its 2 p.m. meeting.

Members of the Prince William County Arts Council and the Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition spoke in the public hearing. Both groups were hopeful that the merge would in no way change the current relationship they have with the Parks Authority.  

Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition president Zoe Vitter said in the public hearing she hoped it would improve the visibility of trails in the county. 

"The decision to transform the Park Authority into a department of a county government was made in order to provide citizens a stronger voice in how parks and recreations needs are addressed," said Chairman Corey Stewart in a press release. "By placing Parks and Recreation under the direct purview of the County Executive our citizens will have more input into how tax dollars are spent in Prince William County." 

Original Post: 

Effective June 30, 2012 the Parks Authority will be dissolved. 

In its 2 p.m. meeting today, the Board of County Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the into county government. 

According to county documents, if the merger were approved, the Park Authority would be terminated no later than Dec. 31, 2012. 

A public hearing is required in order to formally end the separate corporate existence of the Park Authority, which was initially created in 1971.

As it stands, the Park Authority owns 67 properties totaling over 4,000 acres with 135 full-time employees and 1,907 part-time employees.

From its beginning, the Park Authority has grown from serving 100,000 county residents in the 1907s to 400,000 residents currently in the county.

If the board approves a merger Tuesday, the merger effective date would be July 1, meaning all Park Authority employees, property, contractual obligations, liabilities would be transferred to the Board.

The Park Authority board would be transformed into the parks and recreation advisory board by way of the merger.  

Once the board approves the merger, an amendment would need to be created for articles of incorporation to join the authority to county government. In documents, the board has determined the Park Authority would no longer remain a separate entity by Dec. 31, 2012. 

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