Foundation to Address Neighborhood Concerns Tuesday

Members of the Carson Raymond Foundation, along with school officials, will address Woodbrook resident’s concerns arising from its plans to develop the school’s baseball field at a public meeting Tuesday. The Foundation has, in the view of some Woodbrook residents, big plans for Woodbrook Field. We spoke with John Raymond, the foundation’s president, by telephone Friday about its plans for the field.

Listen to our interview with Foundation President Raymond (13m)

Construction on the field began on November 20th. “The first part of the plan is to tear down the existing back stop which we did two weeks ago. It was old and not really useful for a Little League field,” said Raymond during the interview. Raymond hopes to have the construction completed by spring 2010.

Some residents have expressed concern that, once completed, the new field will be used for a variety of sports other than t-ball. “The only other sport that it really would be designed for is Little League baseball,” said Raymond. With regard to game-day traffic Raymond said, “I don’t imagine there would be any more traffic than there is currently for soccer games,” he said. “There’s typically about 10 – 12 kids on a team, so your talking, when a game is being played, maybe 20 – 40 cars coming into the neighborhood.” John went on to say that currently there is sufficient parking in the school’s three lots and circle to handle game parking. “I can’t imagine there would be any need to park on the street for people coming to the games,” he said.

Nor will there be the need for a public address system on the field. “It’s going to be a relatively simple field,” he said.

Responsibility for field maintenance has yet to be determined. However, Mr. Raymond doesn’t see this as a problem. “The members of the foundation have a vested interest in making sure this field is a fitting tribute… that is what we set out for it to be, a beautiful place for kids to go play,” he said. “We have plenty of volunteers who have already signed up saying whatever you need as far a field maintenance goes, I’m happy to do it.”

Much concern has been raised by residents over the installation of the two 8′ x 20′ dugouts, and in particular who will keep them locked, clean and free of graffiti. “If [the field] is used by the Little League, they would be responsible for maintaining the structure, and, if they determine not to use [the field] the foundation will be responsible for maintaining the structure,” John said.

In addressing concerns about the scale of the project Mr. Raymond said, “I think that [residents] maybe overestimating the project. It’s going to be a relatively simple field.” “There is going to be a lot of landscaping done to ensure that the view from [resident’s homes] is actually improved as opposed to diminished — I think you will find that it will actually be a plus for the neighborhood, an asset.”

Several residents have raised concerns over the potential use of the dugouts for drug trafficking or other criminal behavior. John doesn’t see this as being an outcome of the project. “The only time the dugouts will be [unlocked] is when teams are playing on the field for practices or games,” he said.

In closing John said, “I do understand the concerns [of the community], certainly anything new in the neighborhood – you want to make sure it’s done right.” Raymond added, “I honestly believe that this field, once it’s built, will be a tremendous asset for Woodbrook and will be a source of pride for the community, and I’m honored to be able to put it there.”

The meeting will take place in the Woodbrook Elementary School library at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday December 8, 2009. All Woodbrook residents are encouraged to attend. You can learn more about the foundation’s plans for Woodbrook field here.

2 thoughts on “Foundation to Address Neighborhood Concerns Tuesday

  1. Here's hoping those in the Woodbrook community who support this will show up at this meeting as well.
    Improvements being made to a school should be encouraged, especially to memoralize a child who loved baseball.
    A schoolyard should be a place where the community gathers to play, exercise and have fun. There are so many other things in this world to complain/protest about than dugouts and bleachers. Let the children have fun 🙂
    Melissa Moran

  2. The children can still have fun, whether or not this field gets built. I have to question whether dugouts are really necessary at the t-ball level. And how does this new field and increased playing time affect soccer?

    But all of that aside, the bigger concern is who does the field belong to? Woodbrook Elementary? Albemarle County? Little League? The Foundation? Some entity has to be accountable, and so far it is not clear who is going to assume responsibility for the upkeep/maintenance of the new field and its corresponding structures.

    Hopefully we will get some answers at the meeting on Tuesday.

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