City approves master plan for east side of McIntire Park

A detail from a McIntire Park East planning diagram circulated earlier this year. Photo: City of Charlottesville A detail from a McIntire Park East planning diagram circulated earlier this year. Photo: City of Charlottesville

It’s been over a year in the making, and City Council finally voted on it: the master plan for the eastern side of McIntire Park. Citizens have shown up for meeting after meeting to express concerns about golf, gardens, soccer fields, and skate parks, and after several presentations and revisions, Tuesday night Council adopted a plan that was recommended for approval by both the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the Planning Commission.

The plan includes a family activity center complete with playgrounds, an aquatic feature, shelters, restrooms, educational space, and an open play area. In response to requests from city and county residents, the advisory board also incorporated a botanical garden area, which will include a lake or pond and integrate with passive park land.

Relocating of the skate park and parking expansions were also discussed Wednesday, but the most controversial aspect of the master plan was what to do about the golf course.

The original plan suggested phasing golf out of the park by 2020, but in response to requests from Council, the advisory board recommended that golf be eliminated entirely by the end of year 2016, giving First Tee four years to find a new, permanent home.

Phillip Seay, director of First Tee, the youth golf program that inhabits McIntire Park, was present at the meeting but did not speak for or against the plan.

Councilor Dede Smith, who cast the only vote against the plan, suggested phasing golf out of the park gradually, eliminating one hole each year so as not to burden future councilors with yet another decision regarding golf in the park.

“I just don’t think a decision to take the golf course out in four years is a decision to take the golf course out,” Smith said.

Her fellow councilors disagreed, saying it would be unfair to tell golfers they must begin leaving gradually starting now, even though they already have a deadline to leave for good.

“I really feel like we’ve asked a lot of the golfers,” said Councilor Kristin Szakos. She said the First Tee members may not like the outcome, but they stuck it out and she wants to ensure that the program finds “a long-time home, maybe even better than McIntire Park.”

Posted In:     News

Tags:     ,

Previous Post

Yoga U: Is the Contemplative Sciences Center the answer to UVA’s ‘reputation gap,’ or an expensive New Age sideshow?

Next Post

New Wintergreen owner to invest $12 million in upgrades

Our comments system is designed to foster a lively debate of ideas, offer a forum for the exchange of ad hoc information, and solicit honest, respectful feedback about the work we do. We’re glad you’re participating. Here are a few simple rules to follow, which should be relatively straightforward.

1) Don’t call people names or accuse them of things you cannot support.
2) Don’t direct foul language, racial slurs, or offensive terms at other commenters or our staff.
3) Don’t use the discussion on our site for commercial (or shameless personal) promotion.

We reserve the right to remove posts and ban commenters who violate any of the rules listed above, or the spirit of the discussion. We’re trying to create a safe space for a wide range of people to express themselves, and we believe that goal can only be achieved through thoughtful, sensitive editorial control.

If you have questions or comments about our policies or about a specific post, please send an e-mail to

Leave a Reply

0 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
0 Comment authors
Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of