The golden apple of discord was rolling up and down 11 charette tables at Charlottesville High School last night as competing interests sought to divvy up the remaining acreage of east McIntire Park.
At present the 65 acres are largely inaccessible to any citizen without a golf-bag. Programming ideas abound for the acreage in the land-bank. There were proposals for more asphalt, skate park asphalt, parking lot asphalt and perhaps asphalt transecting the park, parallel to the Meadowcreek Parkway, to connect the new northern and southern Parking lots.
Whatever the outcome, after the stakeholders get the baby divided there will be more public access.
The rectangular field, botanical garden and golf ball interests played nice with each other. Voices were not raised. Indeed, “everyone was heard”. But, I’m hoping before the Recreation Department and the City Council approve a final design they will visit Central Park in NYC for some ideas.
McIntire park was originally larger than its current size. The construction of the bypass ran through the park, with one section becoming what is now Greenleaf Park. Another section, at the southeast end of McIntire Road near the rescue squad, initially became tennis courts and more recently has been converted into a skateboard park. Of the original 150 acres, approximately 130 lie north of the 250 bypass with 55 acres on the west side of the railroad tracks, and 75 acres on the east side.– Parks and Recreation
7 thoughts on “McPark”
Dear Parks and Rec staff,
Thank you all for the efforts you put towards McIntire Park. If you really do manage to compromise the many interests that continue to be voiced at meetings this will be a grassroots park, the way parks are supposed to be. I’d like to hear more about the process at Azalea Park. Was this series of interactive meetings used elsewhere?
I’m afraid I have my doubts about the meeting last night. Out of my group of 8, 5 were golf advocates. It is true that there were a few other voices to help modify their stance, but without getting into a knock down fight, I did not see how to register my opinions. 2 large, pushy men put their acreage papers on the map. I kept bending them back so a trail circling the park would have more room. They taped their paper down. It was tempting to tear the paper. What was I supposed to say? Perhaps I should have stood and said this last night. I’m sorry I didn’t. I hope you will find ways to truly blend the different opinions for this park’s best use. We are not experienced at navigating the topography. I wonder when you get a real designer to look, if all our efforts will be set aside anyway.
So I just formally want to tell you that there were 2 of us at table 2 who did not want any golf course at all. Your exercise looked like it was successful at compromising our multitude of differences. I wonder how many attending felt the same way I did. 20, or in our case, 23 acres is more than they need. I hope this park will truly benefit the largest amount of public, as this town grows.
Since it is clear there will be a golf course after last night, I hope you hear the multitude requesting days, every week, when it is closed to golf and open to the public. I hope you will plant it with more trees. If golf balls are hit near a road, they can crack a car window.
A botanical garden is ok if they plant numerous trees and native plants that can endure a multi-use environment. Fragile plants require a lot of maintenance, long term. I hope they won’t end up needing to charge admission.
One thing our group agreed on which was not mentioned, and I don’t know if the notes are clear, is that access to town is paramount. Pedestrian/bike access underneath 250 and also other roads will be so important. I hope a bus route will have a stop there.
Recreation’s description of east McIntire Park was written before the park was reduced again by the construction of a road. The new “Meadowcreek Parkway/McIntire Road Extended” project will absorb another 13 acres +/- of the park…
The proposal that I feel does the best job of opening the park up to the most people is the Botanical Garden idea. Unfortunately many poeple around here are familiar with Lewis Ginter and think that’s waht is being talked about, when in reality, it would be use mainly native plants and have an educational and conservation mission. If you look at the maps they put forward it also includes huge areas of unplanned space for picnics or whatever.
What I really disagree with though are that golf should continue to be a use at that site. Last weekend was beautiful, and in the middle of the day there were THREE cars parked on the East side. That’s not an effective use for 65 acres of public space. Indeed it’s not really a cost effective use of even one acre once you price the land itself into the equation. Also, if they are going to keep golf at McIntire then they need to retire all or part of the golf course at Penn Park (which was built specifically to mitigate the loss of the McIntire course) then give that land back to the County.
I agree with the sentiments of Robin Hanes as written (above) except that I am
supportive of the Botanic Garden and other receptive (your expression
“passive”) uses being the focus of the Eastern part of the Park. The whole
western side is for athletic users; the eastern side should be for those of
us who want to walk, sit, enjoy nature, bird, in other words be in the park
in individual or informal groups.
Continuing the golf course relegates the rest of us to the periphery (as in
Pen Park trail around the golf course). We have Pen Park for golfing
(change the rates to accommodate more youth or persons playing 9 holes) and
western McIntire for many other sports — add the skate park here. There is
a substantial dog park in nearby Towe and swimming pools at Meade and
Washington Park dominate those parks.
Please recognize those of us who do not play sports (the majority) but who
need a space like this to remain as natural as possible, adding only plants
and trees in given spots as expressed by the Botanic Garden group. A master
planner is needed; citizens are merely expressing what they want. Not all
these uses are compatible with one another.
Otherwise, it is like dividing the baby in quarters, which as the proverb
goes, kills the baby. The same could be said for McIntire Park.
Please get a master planner to help us plan for the best possible uses of
McIntire for the ENTIRE Cville population not just the interest groups
Dear Parks and Recreation-
It is my hope that in the course of the east McIntire master planning process you will find your inner Frederick Law Olmstead.
With this planning consciousness, you will look around, see all the bricks and mortar and recreational/sports paraphernalia you maintain, see all the classes and programming you oversee, and say:
“We need a park.”
It is one of the great purposes of the Park to supply to the hundreds of thousands of tired workers, who have no opportunity to spend their summers in the country, a specimen of God’s handiwork that shall be to them, inexpensively, what a month or two in the White Mountains or the Adirondacks is, at great cost, to those in easier circumstances (Papers, 3:196)
“It is under similar conditions to these that we find in nature that class of scenery…which is termed pastoral. It consists of combinations of trees, standing singly or in groups, and casting their shadows over broad stretches of turf, or repeating their beauty by reflection upon the calm surface of pools, and the predominant associations are in the highest degree tranquilizing and grateful, as expressed by the Hebrew poet: ‘He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.’”-Report on design for Prospect Park, 1866.
The Park should be “passive” with no programming no control by outside groups, and no admission fee. The plantings should be updated to reflect modern consciousness about what nitrogen and phosphorus do to the waters of Virginia. Some central lawn, surrounded by meadow (cut this once per year). Finally, plant and maintain trees and build trails.
Think Ivy Creek Natural Area or Ragged Mountain Natural area, in town and accessible.
Any architecture should be absolutely minimal, blending into the site.
“Development is an emotional thing, we know that,” he said. “But you can’t stop progress.”–Steve Jones, Fried Companies President on an zoning request in Greene County so his company can build 1180 housing units
Jones said that the increased development would spur economic growth in the county. He said Greene County cannot get the restaurants and retailers that many residents want without the “rooftops” to support them.
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