Chancellorsville - overloading a shaky deal

While looking through an old Mullins Farm article I found a couple of points that tie things together.

You may have seen in this blog last week that Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors Chairman Bob Hagan (who helped push the Chancellorsville easement deal among Tricord, Civil War Preservation Trust, and landowner Mullins) was on a junket to Pamplin Park, near Petersburg. He pronounced himself well satisfied with that privately owned Civil War tourism magnet. I was wondering what the point of his trip was.

In this article from Sept. 16, Hagan told Fredericksburg's paper that he would like to see a museum on the Tricord property. CWPT seems to have no comment on Hagan's wishes, suggesting instead that it "wants to develop educational signs and walking trails that cater to both tourists and residents of the planned Tricord community." They even suggest re-enactments might be possible - that cannonades and musketry could surround a nursing home.

Broadcasting uncoordinated ideas suggests that the use of the easement on Tricord's property was not defined in the current agreement and that there is a variance of opinion here.

It would seem that the sequence of events flowed this way: reach a vague, verbal understanding among the parties; negotiate a deal with Tricord, including some ill-defined easement piece; plan to negotiate easement clause interpretations with Tricord after the fact .

Hagan's vision is quite specific:

Hagan would model such a facility [museum and center] on the privately owned Pamplin Park near Petersburg, which features costumed interpreters and interactive exhibits on the lives of actual Civil War soldiers.

How this would co-exist with a nursing home, on land owned by the nursing home, is baffling, as is the question of what private entity would build and then run this expensive facility.

Now this museum idea became prominent after Tricord signed the deal. A surprise?

Even with its more modest idea of "educational signs and walking trails" (not to mention re-enactments), CWPT probably far overreached land use possibilities acceptable to Tricord.

Did Tricord simply think it was getting cash from CWPT in order to preserve greenspace?

The idea of attracting thousands of tourists to tramp around private property that shelters feeble and disabled seniors, the idea of violating their quiet, privacy, and safety would be a very strange agreement for Tricord to make. And if such provisions have not already been built into the Tricord/CWPT deal, why talk about them hypothetically?

Conclusion: CWPT is mobilizing public opinion to soften up Tricord for negotiating such arrangements. So is Hagan.

Hagan has the last word on zoning and he has the most complex idea; CWPT has a simple idea that is a non-starter; the trial balloons are being floated in public rather than discussed privately with Tricord.

These are the ingredients for busting a deal.