Category Archives: Parks and Recreation

Charlottesville receives funding to buy land along Moores Creek

The Virginia Land Conservation Foundation has awarded nearly $15 million in grants across the Commonwealth to help preserve land from development. That includes $175,000 for Charlottesville to purchase 8.6 acres of land in Albemarle County along Moores Creek. That falls under the “Open Spaces and Parks” category of the program. 

The money can be used to purchase property, acquire conservation easements, or some other method of preserving land. In this case, Charlottesville will use the funding to buy land currently used by the International Rescue Committee for an urban farming project. That use would continue.

“This property is a priority for developing the Moores Creek Greenway as it allows a shared use path and the [Rivanna Trail] to stay on the same side of Moores Creek as the trail upstream and means we don’t absolutely have to build a bridge, which could cost as much or more than the land itself,” said parks planner Chris Gensic in response to a question. 

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Fall 2023 date current target for roadway entrance to Biscuit Run Park

It has been nearly 12 years since the Commonwealth of Virginia purchased nearly 800 acres in Albemarle County’s growth area for the purposes of creating a state park. The land had been slated for the Biscuit Run mixed-use development, but the previous developer found a buyer in then-Governor Tim Kaine. 

It has been nearly five years since the Commonwealth of Virginia entered into a ground lease with Albemarle for the county to program the 1,200 acre park, an agreement signed by then Governor Terry McAuliffe in January 2018

McAuliffe had requested a $42 million bond package during the 2016 General Assembly but that did not make it through to passage. That would have paid for at least some of a master plan to program the park. 

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City crews preparing to remove some Downtown Mall trees

Later this week, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department will hold an information meeting on removing some of the trees on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. Riann Anthony is the deputy director of the department. 

“We are very lucky that the Downtown Mall trees have been in existence for this long,” Anthony said. “Some of them are healthy and others are not healthy but per our urban forester is that all of the trees are stressed from a number of factors.”

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Botanical Garden of the Piedmont seeks firm to design future buildings

A nonprofit organization that seeks to build a botanical garden on the eastern side of Charlottesville’s McIntire Park has issued a request for proposals for architectural firms to design future buildings. 

The Botanical Garden of the Piedmont has a ground lease with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to operate on 14.74 acres. 

“The design of the major architectural components of the Garden is a major next step in bringing our award-winning Schematic Plan to life,” said Jill Trischman-Marks, the Botanical Garden of the Piedmont’s executive director. 

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An update on what’s new and upcoming in Albemarle County Parks

The summer is coming to an end, which means the closure of public beaches in Albemarle. But the work of the county’s parks and recreation department never really stops. Earlier this month, the assistant director provided an update to the Places29-Hydraulic Community Advisory Committee

“We have twelve parks that are open,” said Amy Smith, the assistant director of the parks department. 

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Fundraising goal met to light up McIntire Skate Park

A public-private partnership to relocate a skate park removed for road construction resulted in a new facility in McIntire Park opening in 2019. But until now, there have been no lights due to budget cuts to the project made to get it completed. 

This morning the city announced a fundraising goal has been met and lights will be installed by mid-September. When in place, the park will stay open until 10 p.m. 

“The lights are LED fixtures from MUSCO Lighting, chosen for their low-light pollution, energy use, heat emission, and longevity,” reads a press release

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Lifeguards still sought for summer season

Memorial Day Weekend is less than three weeks away, marking the beginning of the summer outdoor swimming season. Both Albemarle and Charlottesville are preparing to open lakes and pools and need more lifeguards to ensure services can be offered to the public. 

The Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Department will hold a job fair at Carver Recreation Center on Wednesday May 18 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. that will cover more than just lifeguards.

“A sample of positions that are currently open include: camp counselors and directors, lifeguards (includes signing bonus), aquatic fitness and program instructors, instructor-American Red Cross, athletic officials, landscapers, custodial maintenance, aquatic maintenance, adaptive camp staff, customer service attendants, and more,” reads the website announcing the job fair

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Albemarle Board adopts $586.3 million budget

Stalemate continues on synthetic turf fields 

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors took eight actions yesterday to complete the process of development and adopting a budget for FY23. They began with the tax rates. (view the presentation)

“We have the real estate, mobile homes and public service tax rate of 85.4 cents (per $100 of assessed value) that is the calendar year 2022 rate,” said Andy Bowman, chief of the Office of Management and Budget in Albemarle. “For personal property rate, which also applies to machinery and tool taxes, the current rate is currently $4.28 cents per $100 and it is proposed to be reduced to $3.22 per $100 of assessed value.” 

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City to remove dead trees

The biological war between the Emerald Ash Borer and ash trees is still being waged, but it’s very much in the favor of the invasive species. That’s been confirmed by the city’s new urban forester, Steve Gaines.

“The beetle larvae tunnel under the bark, and damage nutrient and water flow throughout the tree – basically girdling the tree,” Gaines said in email Friday afternoon. “Once infested, the trees usually die within 2-5 years after initial infection.”

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Charlottesville Parks and Recreation still seeking lifeguards; no date yet for Smith reopening

This week, Charlottesville’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board got an update on preparations underway to get the city’s pools and spraygrounds ready. 

“We are currently still developing our operational hours and what that’s going to look like at our outdoor facilities,” said Gator Batton is the interim manager of aquatics for the department. “The goal is to open Washington Park, Onesty, and Smith.” 

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