Pardon me: Softball-busting Norris to save McIntire
The man whose government green-lighted a controversial master plan and YMCA ground lease last May, an act which sentenced two softball fields to death by bulldozer, now plans to unveil a secret plan to save the two historic fields. Mayor Dave Norris says in a press release, "It's time for us to end the divisiveness which has pitted various recreational users against each other and instead commit to addressing the recreational needs of all our citizens."
"It's a headfake, basically," says Bob Fenwick, a softball player who spearheaded the Save McIntire campaign. Citing the Y's initial arguments against involvement in the master plan, Fenwick finds it "odd that they're downsizing so the fields can be saved."
After news of the master plan–- which included replacing the softball diamonds with a single, multi-use, artificial turf rectangular field–- reached the softball players in May, many cried foul with accusations of being kept in the dark.
"There was no effort from the city bureaucracy to reach organized groups or representatives of the softball community," softball player Charlie Hubbard said in a Hook cover story. "For a community that likes to put emphasis on transparent public policies, I don't feel that this was done at all with the softball community."
After months of public hearings, protests from various softball advocates, and criticism from Albemarle County supervisor Ken Boyd that the City acted "unilaterally," the city and the Y began to revisit the initial footprint of the building–- a factor that would influence the amount of space left for McIntire's fields.
While Norris did not immediately return phone calls, Fenwick says that Norris' plan includes the creation of a task force between the city, county, and UVA to study the region's recreational needs.
Norris will announce specifics of his plan on Saturday, March 14, at the McIntire Park concessions building at noon.