As Shore Gains Political Muscle, Old School Group Urges Protection for Public Property


January 14, 2014

With Onancock native Ralph Northam now lieutenant governor, and Nassawadox native Lynwood Lewis in line to be a state senator, the community group Old School Cape Charles wants them to know the story of how Cape Charles public park property was given to a private developer. The group is urging Virginia lawmakers to pass legislation to prevent what happened in Cape Charles from happening elsewhere.

Old School leaders will participate in a telephone conference with Delegate Lewis on Thursday, January 16.

“Since our historic old school was sold without our knowledge or consent for the ridiculous sum of $10, we want to keep that from happening to any other communities in Virginia. The loss of our historic school property in Central Park has left our town with no basketball court and no public meeting space,” said Old School spokesperson Deborah Bender.

Old School has asked Lewis (now a state delegate and expected to be a state senator) to “patron” two bills — one relating to preservation of historical sites, and the other banning state tax credits for any project that removes a public asset to benefit a private developer.  The second bill also provides that “no local or state park property may be sold to any developer for private gain.”


In December 2012, Cape Charles Town Council conveyed the former Cape Charles High School at Central Park, the Park basketball court, and playground parking lot to a private developer for the nominal cost of $10. The Town Council awarded the property to J. David McCormack without soliciting any bids, and after refusing to consider a $10,000 offer from Old School Cape Charles, which hoped to keep the building available to the public as was done in Onancock by Friends of Onancock School.

McCormack has admitted that he only wanted the building in order to obtain state and federal tax credits to convert the school into an apartment building. Ironically, the National Park Service administers the federal tax credit program – in this case rewarding a developer for converting town parkland to private use.

The draft bills may be read by clicking here.



3 Responses to “As Shore Gains Political Muscle, Old School Group Urges Protection for Public Property”

  1. Kearn Schemm on January 14th, 2014 9:23 am

    As I understand the “sale” of the old school, the town “sold” the school AND insurance proceeds of $40,000 for $10. That means that the “sale” price was in fact negative $39,990. This sale continues to be a mark of shame for the town fathers/mothers and proof of their not being up to the task of governing Cape Charles. Hopefully Northam will take some time to review the facts and he and Lewis will intervene, but I would not hold my breath.

  2. Kristie McClaren on January 15th, 2014 4:28 pm

    What are the bill numbers? I would like to go hear them when the assigned committee takes them up.

    A bill number will only be assigned if Delegate/Senator Lewis (or someone else) agrees to “patron” the draft legislation. — EDITOR

  3. Kristie McClaren on January 15th, 2014 6:31 pm

    Yes, of course. I checked Del. Lewis’ bills after I asked and saw they had not yet been introduced. Will keep an eye out for them and walk up to hear them if I can.