Green acres: City grows park system for just $10,000

news-citylandmapNew parkland (shown dark green) will be kept wild to buffer Meadow Creek.

The County's 1,200-acre Biscuit Run has been getting all the attention lately, after its would-be developers sold it to the state for $9.8 million plus an undisclosed number of tax credits. But Albemarle is not the only place where private land is turning public. The City of Charlottesville has announced the recent acquisition of 27 acres of parkland adjacent to Meadow Creek.

"This land is not going to be playgrounds," says Chris Gensic, parks and trails planner for the city, explaining that the heavily-wooded tracts, much of the terrain in floodplain, will instead protect the creek and help get the city-wide trail system together.

Eighteen of the recently acquired acres lie behind the Seminole Square Shopping Center, donated by Ja-Zan LLC, the real estate corporation owned by siblings Jay Jessup and Suzanne Jessup Brooks, who also operate the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Central Virginia.

The remaining land is about eight acres near Holmes Avenue. The city purchased 2.3 of those acres for $10,300, and the remaining six were donated by Locust Meadows Land Trust, an entity controlled by former Charlottesville Mayor Frank Buck who developed the nearby Locust Meadows townhouse subdivision on the opposite side of the creek from the donated land.

"We basically got 30 acres for $10,000," says Gensic, the parks and trails planner for the city.

Gensic says the city assessed the value of the land at $130,000. Such land donation is beneficial to the city, but also to donors, who are entitled to a federal tax write-off for an amount determined by a confidential private appraisal. The state could also issue tax credits, which can be applied to a donor's own tax return or sold to another individual or entity for approximately 80 cents on the dollar.

Neither the Jessups nor Buck returned the Hook's call by posting time.


That should be an eye-opener in regard to the Biscuit Run appraised value. When will the taxpayers of Virginia finally get to know how much we are all paying for this park that one could argue is in a inappropriate spot?

ââ?¬Å?We basically got 30 acres for $10,000,” says Gensic, the parks and trails planner for the city.</ And don't forget the $1235 per year at the current real estate tax rate of $.95/$100. Not too bad a price to pay in order to have some control of possible polution sources, though.