County Denies Proposed Athletic Field

The Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Department’s public meeting to discuss the proposal to build an athletic field on the wooded floodplain located at the corner of High Ridge and Providence Road […]

The Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Department’s public meeting to discuss the proposal to build an athletic field on the wooded floodplain located at the corner of High Ridge and Providence Road was held on Monday December 13, 2010 at the Conference Center at William Davie Park.  The meeting room was filled to capacity with approximately 150 people in attendance.  There were also a large number of people that came to the meeting but were unable to get into the room.  There were some people in attendance that were associated with United Faith Christian Academy (UFCA), but they were greatly outnumbered by residents of Providence Plantation.  We estimate that at least 200 residents of Providence Plantation attended the meeting, or at least tried to.

The meeting opened with county representative Gwen Cook announcing that the Parks and Recreation Department had done an internal assessment since the meeting was announced and came to two conclusions.  First they concluded that there is a public need for more athletic fields in the area.  They also determined however that the wooded floodplain under consideration was not an appropriate place to put such a field.  Therefore, they denied the proposal.  Ms. Cook stated that they had just made that determination a few days earlier, so they did not attempt to publicize their decision or cancel the meeting.  She also advised that she called for the public meeting before doing the assessment because UFCA had requested to “fast track” the approval process so that they could begin construction by April 2011.

UFCA Headmaster, Dr. Joe Siragusa spoke at the meeting and acknowledged that he also had no prior notice of the county’s decision.  He seemed upset and spoke of how the students at UFCA don’t have even enough grass to play kickball at recess.  In response to a question he acknowledged that he may at some point come back to the county with a revised proposal.

During the question and answer period many residents asked questions and raised issues.  There were several questions relating to whether the county would be willing to sell the land in question to the Providence Plantation Homeowners Association.  Ms. Cook did not commit to anything but stated that the county normally does not sell land that it owns.  She did agree to discuss the issue further with her superiors and with Bob Hayes, President of the HOA.