By Randy Arrington
STANLEY, Oct. 14 — After coming out of closed session at Wednesday night’s meeting, the Stanley Council voted unanimously to purchase the Quarles building behind town hall for $125,000. The town plans to move its police department into the new quarters and potentially use some of the “open space” for council meetings.
Town Manager Terry Pettit said on Thursday morning that the one-story building will provide “more room for [police] officers to have their own offices”, as well as space for an investigation room and storage. For the last 20 years (or more), the Town of Stanley has leased the current cramped space adjacent to town hall for police headquarters from Pioneer Bank — currently at a nominal rate of $400 per month.
The town plans to use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to purchase the property from the energy company, which includes the adjacent parking lot and a small stone building on about a half-acre.
“We basically got the stone building for free,” Pettit said. “We plan to use that for a museum for the town.”
The museum would include such items as memorabilia from the Sandlot Baseball Teams who donated a 1950s scorebook to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. several years ago and items donated to the town after the February shooting of Officer “Nick” Winum.
During his report at Wednesday night’s council meeting, Chief Ryan “Beaver” Dean noted that his department was “back at full staff for the first time since February.” Now, with additional space to improve conditions for officers and make operations more efficient, things are looking up for the department.
“It was a rough time we went through…but we’ve needed [more space] for a long time,” Chief Dean said. “It’s pretty close quarters [where we are now]…it’s gonna be nice to have room to maneuver around.”
Currently the Stanley Police Department has five people in a small office space with desks stacked back-to-back, with the School Resource Office “in a separate office next door because we didn’t have enough room,” according to Chief Dean.
Pettit said council meetings may be moved to the new site within the next year, but “we have to get the police department in there first.” The town manager noted that the new police headquarters is in “good condition”, but the small stone building “needs a little work.” The buildings have been vacant for several years since Quarles consolidated those offices with its main branch in Fredericksburg.
In other news from its Wednesday, Oct. 13 meeting, the Stanley Council took the following actions:
• Authorized the town manager to advertise a proposed ordinance for short-term rentals for public hearing at 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 10. Under the proposed ordinance, owners would be required to apply for a special use permit and a business license, and submit a property management plan including points of contact for complaints. The ordinance also defines short term rentals and provides parking guidelines.
• Heard a report from the town manager that Turner Construction has started sidewalk repair on Aylor Grubbs Avenue, and once completed there, they will move on to other projects in town. The total time for all projects is two weeks.
• Heard a report from the town manager that Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative is still on schedule to start replacing 196 streetlights around the first week in November. The crew averages about 10 light replacements per day and should take about five weeks to complete the project.
• Heard a report from the town manager on continued efforts to work with Virginia Green on the installation of an electric vehicle charging station at Ed Good Memorial Park. The project should be completed by the end of the year.
• Heard a report from Pettit on the success of the Hawksbill Pool during the recent summer season. The pool entertained 9,134 swimmers, including visitors from 20 different states and two foreign countries. The venue hosted 56 pool parties, five night swims, four movie nights and the first season of the Stanley Stingrays swim team.
• Heard a report from Pettit on upcoming plans for the town’s Halloween Block Party planned for 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30 on East Main Street in downtown Stanley from Honeyville Avenue to the railroad tracks. Trick-or-Treating is planned for ages up to 12 years old, as well as barrel train rides, cotton candy, a raffle and Dancing with the ’50s. In case of rain, the event will be held Sunday, Oct. 31, when the town is allowing regular trick-or-treating with a 9 p.m. curfew being enforced that evening.