City council considers ACAC-like rec center

During a City council session last night, Charlottesville Parks Director Mike Svetz presented three new development options for Charlottesville’s park system. ACAC....eat your heart out!
Option 1. Build a 100,000 sq. ft. multi-purpose facility in McIntire Park. This would include an indoor/outdoor pool and fitness and wellness rooms.
Option 2. Expand indoor facilities at Tonsler, Carver, and Washington and upgrade Smith, Crow, and Onesty (Meade Park) pools.
Option 3. Develop one major indoor/outdoor pool and expand Tonsler, Carver, and Washington to achieve a total of 50,000 sq. ft. of new space, i.e. gymnasium and wellness and fitness rooms.

At the end of the meeting, Council directed the Parks Department to have a consultant do a feasibility study of all three options. According to one source, council member Blake Caravati wants a decision made before he leaves office in April.

3 comments

I am very disappointed that the notion of cleaning streets, filling potholes, and educating the next generation has somehow morphed into providing health clubs. What next. A latte-house from this City Council?

This is an attempt to build the budget of the parks system. There is also talk of a new boys and girls club and a new YMCA. Governments make terrible providers of fitness services such as gyms. Because of public and tax policy they are decent at running parks. Give me a business where all the assets are paid for and aren't taxed, anyone can make that work.

They don't have to make money, they believe they can dicate to the market and lack flexiblilites. They can never afford the best people and the people they hire will act like civil servants that they are.

We have ACAC, the University provides facilites, and there are talks about building new facilites in the county.
They couldn't get the lights right at Pen Park and now we are going to let develop a entire non-competative fitness center empire. They haven't done a good job with the outdoor pavilion, how do you think they can do competing against ACAC?

I was at the work session where the three options were presented and lightly discussed. I was disappointed that they limited the possibilities to the three options presented by the parks
director.
I don't think there is much chance of option 1, the 100,000 sq. ft. fitness center being
approved. Then again they did leave it on the list for the feasability study so, who knows? Personally I think they should scrap that grandiose scheme now.
There was some concern about the budget. I am convinced that there is a strong probability that they will eliminate any pool at Meade Park and replace it with a spray area
for kids to jump around in during the summer. The money that they do spend will most likely
go to Tonsler, Carver, and Forest Hills. I think that Meade park and the pool there have
been neglected for many years and I worry about the fate of that park that I use with my family. The issue of management is one they definitely need to address. Meade pool has a
reputation for rowdy behaviorthat keeps people away. The behavior of some of the
attendants is not very helpful, though some of the instructors are very good.
City pools are used by many kids in the summer who have no other options and can't get to
or afford ACAC and other pools. The basic idea of neighborhood pools is sound but the city council needs to mandate improvements in staffing and limit the empire building impulses
of the bureaucracy. I wonder if there isn't a way that the city can build the pool and then
lease it to a private company. The city could subsidize poor kids and provide an attractive facility that others would be happy to pay to use.
Kevin Cox