School Board Approves Dugouts

Dugout Rendering
A computer rendering of the approved design. An alternate design presented by neighbors was not considered.

Despite overwhelming opposition by Woodbrook residents, the Albermarle County School board last evening voted 4-1 to approve the construction of concrete block dugouts at Woodbrook Elementary School. Only Rio District board member Pamela Moynihan opposed the move. Board member Brian Wheeler was absent.

Of the 15 Woodbrook residents who spoke at the meeting, all but four opposed the construction. According to Woodbrook Community Association President Susan Reed, of the 19 residents who emailed school officials earlier this week, 17 were opposed.

Ms. Moynihan challenged Carson Raymond officials to return to the community to work out a solution that would be acceptable to both the Foundation and residents. Ms. Moynihan also expressed her concern that the project proceed without the good will of the neighbors. Board members did not ask the Foundation to provide costs for the ongoing maintenance of the structures or graffiti removal.

School Board Chairman Ron Price had to interrupt the meeting on more than one occasion to call for quiet among Foundation supporters. Earlier this week, the Foundation invited over 500 of its followers on Facebook to attend the meeting.

We hope to post the full audio from the meeting shortly.

6 thoughts on “School Board Approves Dugouts

  1. Dear Neighbors:

    I love Woodbrook, and didn't care much about the dugout issue. I believed that a couple of benches would have been an adequate response to the sitting needs of young ball players. On the other hand, I did not agree with most of my neighbors about the foot path, which I think might have been nice for all of us.

    This is my hypothesis about our recent responses to these proposals: I think we may all be spooked by falling house values. We are scared and feeling we must do something to halt the seeming financial crisis. Our first instinct may be to try to forestall change. Our second response may be limit access to the neighborhood. While I would not like to see a through road built into Woodbrook without also building sidewalks, I don't think resistance to change and new visitors is the way to go. Visitors and new residents and neighbors bring life to Woodbrook, I believe.

    The way we can improve house prices, I am pretty sure, is by improving our own properties and improving the general aspect of the neighborhood. A modest proposal: dog owners, please clean up after your pets and always leash them. (My dogs sometimes escape, and I want to apologize for our own failures in regard to our pets.) Cat owners: please try to keep cats inside more. Second proposal: Times are tough, money is an issue, but there are low-cost ways to make the neighborhood look pretty without losing Woodbrook's lived-in look.

    Best to you all.

  2. The "overwhelming opposition" ?? There were clearly more there in support of the Foundation. And yes, they do have 500 followers on facebook… clearly more supporters than you realized. It passed, it's done, don't be a sore loser, move on.

  3. I am shocked by the tone of this post. It is extremely biased and inaccurate. I realize the WCA may not feel it needs it adhere to journalistic standards, but there were many Woodbrook voices both for and against (including mine) the dugout design.

    Last night I spoke against the design, but if I had had the opportunity to see Foundation's presentation prior to making my comments, I would have given a different opinion. It is clear the Foundation significantly modified the design since its original plan and I think it provided the best possible compromise.

    I went out to the field this morning and I have no doubt the right design was selected. Given the remote location of the dugouts in relation to the school and parking lot I think it is essential that the dugouts be locked to prevent delinquent activities. When I was young troublemaker I certainly did not carry wire cutters in my pocket and would not break into a dugout to hang out, but I most certainly would have used open dugouts located in such a "safe" location away from potential police cars and surrounded by escape routes. Maybe the open design would have worked if they were situated in the SE corner by the playground, but they need to be locked where they'll be located. We'll never know for sure, but I think the design will create less crime and litter than the open design would have.

    I also want to say that the comment last night that it is a "fact" that the name Carson Raymond would forever elicit negative emotions in Woodbrook residents was extremely disrespectful and flat out not true. The field will be a great memorial to Carson and anyone who holds a grudge against the Foundation or the Raymond family over these dugouts should be embarrassed. I think the speaker of that comment owes the Raymond family an apology.

    Now that the school board (and many Woodbrook residents) has spoken I hope the WCA can get behind the project. I for one hope to be able to volunteer with any construction or landscaping needs and going forward will do my part as a neighbor to monitor any problems with the facility. That will be an issue for the police.

    Ryan Burdge

  4. We take great care in our stories to separate fact from opinion. That isn't always easy as we too live in Woodbrook, but we do our best. I don't see any opinion in this story. Am I missing something?

    Speaking of journalist integrity, the story in today's Daily Progress includes a link to the Foundation Web site. There is no mention of this blog.

    We make no apologies for taking a Woodbrook perspective in our stories. After all, that's why we are here.

  5. I for one will volunteer, bucket in hand, to scrub away any graffiti. No one stepped forward on this last night.I agree with the previous poster that we should all volunteer to help with the planting of bushes, picking up trash, etc. The Daily Progress really goofed when they printed that the neighborhood is half free/reduced lunch eligible. It was stated that the school was, not the neighborhood. I agree also with the poster that said let's clean up our neighborhood and show the community our "Woodbrook Pride".

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