Woodbrook Field Dedicated

Carson Raymond Foundation President John Raymond dedicated the new field yesterday. “It’s done,” said Raymond.

Carson Raymond Foundation officials formally opened Woodbrook field before a hundred or so members of the general public yesterday. “It’s done!” exclaimed Foundation President John Raymond at the ceremony. Some Woodbrook residents disagreed, or they would have, had they been informed of the event.

Neither was there any mention of the role played by Woodbrook residents in the design of the field. Residents attended four meetings at the school between December 2009 and June 2010 where some neighbors voiced their concern about the effect of the structures on neighborhood crime. At one such meeting, held on April 24, 2010, the Foundation committed, in writing, to “[Keep] the lockable chain link swinging gates to prevent anyone from entering the dugout areas when the field is not being used for t-ball.” As of yesterday’s dedication, the dugouts were neither screened off nor locked.


On the left, a computer rendering of the north dugout as presented to neighbors in April 2010. On the right, as built. Notice the absence of screening designed to keep vandals out.

Absent too were the bleachers that Foundation officials billed as a place where Woodbrook residents could sit and enjoy the field while their children played.

But perhaps the biggest oversight was the failure of the Foundation to offer an invitation to Woodbrook residents to attend yesterday’s dedication. “To be able to provide something like this to the community feels pretty good” said Raymond in his opening remarks. “No, I did not get an invitation,” said Woodbrook Community Association President Susan Reed in an email message to this blog.


Trash found in the dugouts the morning after opening day events. From left to right clothing, cable ties and a vandal’s dream come true, a can of spray paint.

12 thoughts on “Woodbrook Field Dedicated

  1. After thinking it over, to be truthful, I am glad that they didn't fence in the dugouts. I had been worried that doing that might keep Woodbrook residents from being able to enjoy the field as we had in the past. After looking at them last week, I am glad that they are open to all. The bleachers would be nice, though. Is there a trash can right there?

  2. I am unfortunately not surprised, not by the trash, the lack of community notification, nor the lack of project completeness/adherence to agreed upon (nay, fought over!) plans. Yes, the redbuds were planted and look nice. Yes, the dugouts look OK with their "faced concrete" blocks. But that doesn't make up for the missing lockable gates, missing bleachers, and trash left behind. All things the Woodbrook Community Association worried about and worked to prevent. Things we were assured would be there, not happen, be prevented. Things we were actually taken to task about for being non-supportive of a community-betterment scheme. Hoped I wouldn't have to say it but, "I told you so".

  3. I, too, am glad the dugouts will remain unlocked. I'm looking forward to sitting there in the shade this summer reading a book.

  4. The computer rendering looks more like 4×8 decorative cinder bricks were used as apposed to the less attractive 8×16 blocks that appear in the actual photograph.

  5. I didn't mention it my story because I thought it fell outside the interest of Woodbrook residents, but both Woodbrook Elementary School and the Albemarle County School Board were also not mentioned during the "thank you" portion of the dedication.

    As Woodbrook residents will recall, former Woodbrook Elementary School principal Dr. William Sterrett worked very hard on behalf of the Foundation.

    The Albemarle County School Board, for their part, allowed the structures to be built on their property and has agreed to maintain them in perpetuity. Both deserved a mention.

  6. We have received a lengthy comment from Steve Raymond. Steve is Carson Raymond Foundation's president, John Raymond's brother and Carson Raymond's uncle. Unfortunately, we can't post Steve's comment here, as portions are inconsistent with our policy for reader comments.

    In essence though, Steve takes our story to task for looking at only the negative side of Saturday's event. He points out, rightly so, that Saturday's event was an uplifting recognition of Carson's life and legacy. We agree. Steve goes on to suggest that we should have reported on the singing of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and told how the kids got to "high five" members of the UVa baseball team.

    Our mandate is to report the news as it affects the good people who make Woodbrook their home. The mainstream media has adequately covered the many positive aspects of the day mentioned by Steve in his comment. But who speaks for Woodbrook? Only we do. A can of spray paint carelessly left behind is an invitation for vandals to deface the place where we live. To Woodbrook residents this is a real issue.

    Steve also feels that Woodbrook did not deserve any "thanks" as our contribution was only to throw up roadblocks to the development of the field. Not so. Many of the salient features of the dugout design evolved out of discussions between the Foundation and Woodbrook residents. Not everyone agreed on every issue. That's how adults resolve their differences, through discussion and compromise.

    We personally attended three of those four meetings, often on short notice. Others among our neighbors and friends attended all of them. Still others walked the streets of Woodbrook stuffing newspaper boxes with flyers so that every Woodbrook resident would have the opportunity to express their opinion on the project, whether for or against. For our part we diligently recorded then painfully transcribed each meeting, often taking time off work to do so. Even Foundation director Dr. William Sterrett publicly commended our efforts as thorough and fair. It is for these reasons that we believe the people of Woodbrook deserve some recognition.

    In the end we did not fully agree, parties with significant differences rarely do. But the process is important. It is the very basis of democracy itself.

    Steve goes on to say "With regard to the dugouts being open; that decision was made to allow access and availability for all, so that everyone could enjoy them rather than just for games, practices and school use." While this may be true (and in fact some Woodbrook residents may agree with Steve) it's not what we, and the Foundation, agreed upon. What purpose does negotiation serve if one party later chooses to ignore its outcome?

    And lastly, we welcome all comments, including those from members of the Foundation, providing they meet our guidelines as shown below.

  7. The Carson Raymond Foundation is extremely thankful to all who helped make the field a reality for children in our community. Saturday was an exciting and emotional day for many of us so pardon our slip of not publicly mentioning every important individual or group. However, we specifically thank the Woodbrook Community, Woodbrook School (principals Bill Sterrett and Lisa Molinaro), Superintendent Dr. Pam Moran, Albemarle County School Board, Albemarle County Building Services and Rio Supervisor Rodney Thomas. We also want to thank Snow’s Lawn and Garden, Wilson Ready Mix, Boy Scout Troop 119 and the UVA baseball team.

    In regards to the dugouts we have not locked the gates or finished covering the open dugout areas yet. Many families have requested access and recreational use of the field outside of official t-ball games. These requests increased when individuals and families viewed the field for the first time. Therefore, it seemed appropriate to hold off on restricting access and discuss this possible change with the Woodbrook association. I will contact Ms. Reed today and we will move forward with the best interests of the community in mind.

    Saturday’s opening day event was well attended and we did our best to publicly advertise to the entire Charlottesville community. It truly was a wonderful experience for the kids. We do think that merits mention as something that positively impacts the Woodbrook community. The “spray paint” left behind was only marking paint for the field which is not real paint. It easily washes away with water. Nevertheless, we’re sorry anything was accidently left behind. For those who are interested the Charlottesville Newsplex covered the event and has video on their web site (www.newsplex.com). Thanks again to everyone in the Woodbrook community for your input and support.

  8. I just want to say Thanks to the the Carson Foundation for all of their hard work! I do not feel the need for any gratuitous thank you for attending the meetings. Nor do I feel the need to make it my responsibility to make sure others were thanked because I wouldn't have any idea if they were already thanked in private gestures. I think it is plain to see in the pictures that it was not "Trash" but items mistakingly forgotten. That being the case, I would be sure to take them and try to find the owners, like any other items found and reported by the numerous community emails our president sends.

  9. The neighborhood ought to be ashamed of themselves. The Foundation was not even required to notify or ask their opinion during the development of the ballpark. It was done out of courtesy and an act of adult cooperation. Once again, no good deed goes unpunished.

    How could the neighborhood take such a great positive improvement and community asset and constantly only point out the smallest of negative points? The field not only looks great but blends in perfectly with the school and neighborhood. Some of the houses surrounding the field should take a look at the outside maintenance of their homes and junk laying around in the yards. THAT is what lowers property values.

    Anyone outside the neighborhood visiting the field, while attending a game or while quiet, I think will agree what a great improvement it is and will certainly think twice about ever moving into the neighborhood after reading the the community associations' posts! I have never seen in my life something so great and positive be attacked so viciously this past year. Again, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

  10. I don't think anyone in Woodbrook is arguing the merits of the good work being done by the Foundation, but good deeds to not exempt any organization from their civic responsibilities. For example, what if a Woodbrook school child found the empty spray paint can then got some of it in his eyes, or worse yet ingested some of it. Or what if a child climbed up on the dugout roof then fell breaking an arm? Would the child's parents be comforted knowing that their child was hospitalized "for a good cause"?

    The Foundation benefits from a good relationship with the community. We are their "eyes on the ground", so to speak. If one day the dugouts are vandalized, it will the Woodbrook residents that will be the most help in solving the crime.

  11. I'm writing as a Northside T-ball parent. I think Saturday was a great day! Thanks to the Foundation for providing a great place for children to play. At some point, didn't the Woodbrook residents want an open dugout?

  12. I took a walk around the track earlier this week and thought the dugouts looked fine. I certainly didn't think they looked any worse than the trailers and dumpster and sheds in the area! They are probably a bit of overkill for t-ballers but they provide excellent shelter in case of inclement weather and are accessible to the residents of the community. I love the redbud trees and sod.
    I find that generally speaking, families viewing their children's sporting activities are not really littering up the joint as it is implied in some posts. Maybe we could get a trash can down at that end of the field if trash becomes an issue? Just a suggestion.

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