Darden Towe Softball Lights Scrapped

Charlottesville has joined Albemarle in abandoning plans to light the softball fields at Darden Towe Park, Stephanie Garcia reports for The Hook. Given the impending budget crunch, the political will just doesn’t exist to spend $500-$700k on floodlights for a sports field right now. The plan to eliminate the McIntire fields is going full steam ahead, leaving softball players in the lurch, at least after dusk.

12 thoughts on “Darden Towe Softball Lights Scrapped”

  1. McIntire Park needs to be left as it is. The YMCA needs to move to the county, i.e. PVCC or some other suitable location. McIntire Park is the crown jewel of the city park system and needs to be preserved as such. Putting a building in the park and destroying the shelters is not what was originally envisioned for this land.

  2. Jogger, while I agree, I went to the initial meetings about this, and there was a lack of anyone from the community that seemed to be there voicing opposition. In fact, I was probably one of the first to submit concerns about the project (on grounds of seperation of church and state, YMCA being a religious organization). I was also concerned that it would destroy a historic site (The WPA women’s wildflower garden).

    In the past, when local government has provided oppotunity for public comment and the magority at the meetings support the project, it becomes really hard after the fact for anyone to then oppose those projects later. The general response is “if you opposed it, then why didn’t you make a public comment before we voted?” In addition, going against this project basically put you against every soccer mom and swim team parent in the county. Those are tough groups to fight.

  3. Lonnie, I was at the very first public meeting at the downtown recreation building when all of this started. There was no opportunity for public input at that meeting and the joint was packed with folks who opposed the YMCA being put at McIntire Park.
    I never heard about a public comment session on the YMCA after this and I think I am pretty informed on projects which I oppose. A lack of communication was a major reason there were not more people speaking out about this project.
    As far as soccer moms and swim team moms go I think that soccer moms are in the minority and swimm team members from CHS can always meet their needs at the Crow facility. The soccer moms can be accomodated at the Towe fields along with their little wimpy soccer kids.
    I also, know that the softball players were not informed of the public meetings because if they had they would have been out in force.
    The destruction of McIntire park is not wanted by the majority of folks in the city and county and I see no reason to spend a $100K in taxpayer money to continue with the design of the rectangular fiels at McIntire Park or for that matter to continue with this project.
    City council needs to start listening to the citizens.

  4. “City council needs to start listening to the citizens.” No, they don’t because nothing’s going to happen but a lot of complaining that truly goes ignmored. People also think that council pays attention to the many emails sent to them through Jeanne Cox. What would be interesting to see, probably through FoIA, the emails and let the citizens count the pros and cons. Has anyone noticed that council never announces these numbers? That way, nobody knows and council can always say that the majority of input (private) is in favor of whatever it is they want to do. Ignore correspondence and have the DP announce the meeting the day of the meeting is very effective in saying that council is open to public input. Why do you think the millions of dollars that are appropriated each year is voted upon with one vote for the Consent Agenda? Those items rarely get discussed in public and if they do, it’s usually less than a five-minute comment or question.
    Ambassador Norris and David Slutzky have succeeded in getting Richmond to consider a regional transit authority funded by sales taxes without a public hearing. They’ll hold that once all of the decisions have been made. It’s possible that there won’t even be a referendum, just a few people standing at the podium on a ONE TIME occassion only to be ignored.

  5. Destroying the playing fields and much of the park for parking lots is an action beneath contempt.

  6. Not putting lights at Darden Towe is a real injustice to the county and city. I’m sure they will rubber stamp another development in the neighborhood. At least they will be able to play on the lighted tennis courts. I guess a couple of tennis players have more clout than the Youth/Adult softball players in the area.

    Pretty clever tactic on the behalf of the folks that moved the focus back to McIntire. It is easier to blame the city than deal with the real issues.

  7. Where do these people think the hundreds of thousands of dollars to light Towe will come from?Maybe the softball players should offer to pay for the new lighting, the tax payers paid for the ones in McIntire. Money doesn’t grow on trees.
    I’m glad the ball has been shifted back to McIntire where it belongs.
    Is it considered “green” to tear down perfectly good lights and install brand new ones or to continue using the ones that you have? Are “greenies” hypocrits?

  8. Come to think of it, the McIntire Park re-designers have never used the word green in reference to this project, so they are not being hypocritical when it comes to the park, just when they call Cville a “green” city. Of course, there’s nothing “green” about the current water supply proposal.

  9. I’m glad the ball has been shifted back to McIntire where it belongs.

    That’s assuming the YMCA doesn’t come in and knock out those fields.

    Cost to play city softball: $600 a team
    Teams per season: 150-200
    Income taken in: $90,000 – $120,000

    If the new lighting needs to be paid for by softball players, take it out of what they are already paying to play softball in the first place. Even if you bumped up fees by $5 a person or whatever to get lights at Towe, I don’t think there’d be a huge uproar.

    The shortsightedness of this is if those fields go away, city softball gets cut in half, at *least*. Goodbye to that revenue.

    Having a strong parks & rec department and sports being offered benefits everyone in the community, from kids who actually get outside and play, to the local businesses that benefit — t-shirt/uniform makers, such as Blue Ridge Graphics, High Peak Sportswear and post-game hangouts such as McGrady’s and Wild Wing Cafe. All of which ends up bringing in more tax revenue to the city, and a good chunk of softballers drive in from neighboring counties to play and spend their money here.

    As for the “green” issue, it’s not as simple as moving over lightposts from McIntire to Towe or anything like that. If lighting was to happen at Towe, it needs to happen with new lighting technology to reduce the amount of light that spills out and disrupts the night sky. If anything, that is green, as the goal of the lighting is to cut down on light pollution.

    This decision is shameful. We can spend millions rebricking the mall which could be done far cheaper with a pair of masons fixing bricks, but can’t spend half that to invest in our local parks.

  10. “This decision is shameful. We can spend millions rebricking the mall which could be done far cheaper with a pair of masons fixing bricks, but can’t spend half that to invest in our local parks.” Hundreds of thousands of dollars have already been “invested” for lighting in McIntire Park. (I’m really tired of people using “invest” for “spend”). The shameful decision was to get rid of the ball parks in McIntire in the first place.

Comments are closed.