The Supreme Court of Virginia has dismissed the lawsuits against the Young Men’s Christian Association’s planned fitness center in McIntire Park, Sean Tubbs reports for Charlottesville Tomorrow. ACAC and Gold’s Gym sued Charlottesville and Albemarle County after the governments struck a deal with the YMCA to put a gym in the park, but didn’t open the process to a competitive bidding process that would have allowed either of those businesses to have a shot, as is standard in the procurement process.
The 39-page opinion makes for an interesting read. Although § 15.2-953 of the Virginia Code allows localities to provide money or property to non-profit organizations in exchange for those organizations providing services to citizens, the plaintiffs argued that the defendants’ actions here really should be governed by procurement law, and not by § 15.2-953. The court disagreed, citing a 2007 case to say that the gyms are “attempt[ing] a third-party challenge to a governmental action when such a challenge is not otherwise authorized by statute.” “ACAC alleges that it pays taxes in Albemarle County, it is not seeking to protect the interests of the taxpayers of Albemarle County and thus does not allege a justiciable controversy.” Also, the plaintiffs didn’t name the YMCA as a defendant, making it impossible for the court to compel them to do anything in this matter. The court considers a string of similar claims, and comes to the same conclusion in every case—there’s nothing that the court can do about them.
It was in December of 2007 that City Council voted to lease parkland to the YMCA—just over five years ago—and May of 2010 that the lawsuits were filed. This legal dispute was said to be the only thing standing in the way of starting construction, so presumably that’s the next step.
As Biscuit Run State Park starts to take shape south of town, one of the uses that some county residents would like to see is the provision of athletic fields. Unfortunately, the state doesn’t provide such things—it’s the job of localities, which aren’t allowed to build them in state parks. A proposed land swap might solve the problem, Brian Wheeler reports for Charlottesville Tomorrow, thanks to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville. The non-profit owns the 100-acre Southwood Mobile Home Park, directly adjacent to Biscuit Run, and they figure they can donate thirteen acres to Biscuit Run in exchange for being given thirteen back. Then they’d take seven of those and provide them as a proffer to the county in exchange for permission to increase the density of housing in Southwood. All of this requires sign-off from the county, the General Assembly, and the Department of Conservation and Recreation, but there’s nothing extraordinary about the request, so it’s well within the realm of the possible.
Some Albemarle high school coaches are getting free athletic gear after inking deals with sporting goods vendors, Sharon Fitzgerald writes in The Daily Progress. The athletic departments at AHS, WAHS, and MHS all signed contracts with vendors without first vetting the agreements with the school system. AHS’s
coach athletic director signed up with Adidas, agreeing to buy $30,000 worth of their products each year for the next three years, and agreeing that the teams would wear that gear “when possible.” WAHS’s coach athletic director signed with Russell Athletic, in a contract with no end date, for a 35% discount. And MHS coach athletic director Fitzgerald Barnes signed the most unusual agreement: for two years, they’d buy only Under Armour products—for which they get a 40% discount—and agree to exclusively use Under Armor products, with the coach personally getting $10,000 in free products each year, and other coaches getting a combined $5,000 in free products.
It’s one thing for
coaches athletic directors to be entering into unauthorized agreements, but it’s quite another for them to be personally enriched by those agreements. That’s precisely why such agreements are to be approved by the school system—such a kickback would never have been permitted.
04/18 Update: The proper job title for the individuals in question is “athletic director.” Although they might be coaches, there are coaches at each school who are not also athletic directors.
After coaching UVA’s women’s basketball team for longer than I’ve been alive, Debbie Ryan is retiring at the end of the season, Jerry Ratcliffe reports for the Progress. Ryan took over as head coach in 1977, and in the intervening years she established a career record of winning 69% of games. The university is launching a nationwide search to find a replacement for her.
In this week’s Hook, Courteney Stuart explains how 29-year-old businessman Mark Brown came to acquire the Ice Park. He bought it last week for $3M, and intends to keep it closed it for the summer while he has some modifications made to the facility. Brown is taking the financial leap that the prior owners could never justify: installing a removable rink floor, so that it can be closed and rented out each summer as a general-use large venue. (The rink alone is three times larger than The Omni’s ballroom.) It’s slated to re-open on September 15.