By Tarpley Ashworth

Monday, November 02, 2009

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Southern Development

is donating an acre and a half of land to increase the size of

Forest Hills Park

in Charlottesville. The land, which is appraised at $90,000, is located between Forest Ridge Road and Antoinette Avenue. The donation, if approved at tonight’s City Council meeting, will increase the park’s size by 20%.

The 1.5 acres is adjacent to a new condominium complex currently under construction off of Rock Creek Road. The land is not visible from Forest Ridge Road, but it is adjacent to a trail which connects the park to the Johnson Village neighborhood.

The City’s Environmental Administrator, Kristel Riddervold, has recommended accepting the donation. Since the land will remain forested, the City will increase the amount of protected forested areas and riparian buffers within its borders.

According to Brian Daly, Charlottesville’s Acting Parks and Recreation Director, discussions about the donation began between the two parties when Southern indicated it would develop its land off Forest Ridge Road. The developer initially proposed constructing a playground on the land, but the City had a better idea.

“From there, it evolved into a discussion of land donation,” said Daly. “We approached them with this idea and they agreed to it.”

The only condition Southern has placed on the donation is that the City pay 50% of the cost for a recordable plat showing the boundaries of the land. The City has already paid their share of $550 for the survey. The City Assessor has estimated that $1,707 will be lost annually in tax revenue from the land transferring from private to public hands.

Construction of the sprayground at Forest Hills Park (Source: City of Charlottesville)

Forest Hills Park is currently undergoing a $1.2 million renovation which will replace the existing wading pool with a new “sprayground,” update picnic facilities, repave sidewalks, and add a new pavilion to the green space.

“The project is right on schedule,” said Daly. “They’ve laid the foundation for the sprayground, poured the sidewalks, and picnic shelters are now standing. And we’re actually slightly under budget.”

The resolution which authorizes this land donation is part of the consent agenda at tonight’s meeting.


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