Foxhaven could be a nature haven
It was reported in your coverage of the sale of Foxhaven Farm to the UVA Foundation [November 8 cover story: "Cavalier developments? UVA buys 199-acre near-town farm"] that upon writing the Foundation to encourage fulfillment of the late Jane Heyward's wishes for a botanical garden or arboretum with walking trails, Heyward's friend Elena Day was informed that an "appropriate endowment" had not been provided to enable them to establish this wish. That response begs the truth.
A Bellair resident myself, I have had the privilege of recreating on Foxhaven Farm at least weekly for over a dozen years, interacting with Mrs. Heyward regularly, and doing tree work for her. On the occasion about seven years ago when I was pruning tulips in her yard, she shared her despair that her beloved botanical projects were going to go fallow when she passed because the Foundation had repeatedly rejected her pleas to maintain and further develop them as part of the bargain.
Thus no funds were allocated because the Foundation was unwilling to put the labor into the project. Upon being informed of this, I queried Foundation CEO Tim Rose and suggested that our community was full of qualified people who would surely volunteer time to work with them in order to not only preserve Jane's botanical wishes, but furthermore the many vintage structures on the estate including the barns, rental cottages, foreman's office, and corrals. I further suggested that these structures and other aspects of the estate had rich potential to be utilized for community arts. Rose expressed no interest.
This came as no surprise, as he had recently abruptly booted me off of their Faulconer estate after having allowed access for six years in order to do my artwork in a magnificent old cabin there (which I had done carpentry and masonry on to preserve). Alas, for good measure the Foundation also plowed under the cabin, the last of its kind in inner Albemarle County.
You quote Rose as stating there are "no short or long-term plans" for Foxhaven other than "to be good stewards." Indeed, good stewardship entails maintaining the quality of a property and its traditions. Mrs. Heyward was first and foremost devoted to sharing the gift of her estate with the community, from hippy hikers to redneck deer hunters. All have had access.
If the UVA Foundation is in fact going to be a good steward of Foxhaven, then it's their responsibility to start making some plans and involve those of us in the community who have long preceded them on that hallowed ground. With a budget surplus of nearly $100 million, a fine starting point would be to allocate funds from their own coffer on behalf of Foxhaven's botanical preservation and the public good.
The UVA Foundation is far and away the largest landowner in the region on account of the great gifts they have been given, and they are way overdue to begin assuming the attitude that they are indebted to give something back.