PEFYA Is Given The Fields

Published 5:09 pm Thursday, March 28, 2013

FARMVILLE – Town Council followed through on its donation of the Field of Dreams to the Prince Edward-Farmville Youth Association during a continued meeting Tuesday.

A March 1 vote to donate the property wasn't legal because a public hearing had not been held. That hearing was held moments prior to council's encore this week.

The vote to donate the property to PEFYA was unanimous.

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The only citizen who signed up to speak during the public hearing, which was attended by representatives of PEFYA's board of directors, was Mark Jozwicki, who asked Town Council to delay a decision and consider alternatives that would also help youth soccer.

Jozwicki, a parent who had worked within PEFYA on its soccer program before stepping down, said, “My efforts have always been 'Let's bring the community together on this conflict of youth soccer versus youth baseball.' And it's unfortunate that it exists there. Nobody wants to talk about it.”

Asked by council member Jamie Davis about its youth soccer programs, PEFYA board member Bruce Davis, answered, “We've got a spring and fall program, along with winter basketball, wrestling, volleyball” in addition to baseball and softball.

Jozwicki doesn't believe the same degree of infrastructure support exists for youth soccer as it does for youth baseball, relying instead, as he put it in a March 19 email to Town Manager Gerald Spates, on “one crazy committed parent” to devote time to soccer.

Jozwicki did not blame any one organization for what he regards as an imbalance of support between baseball and soccer. “It's all of our fault,” he said.

Spates had nothing but praise for PEFYA during the public hearing, pointing out the hard work and fundraising the organization had done to create and maintain the fields.

“All the fencing, the building, the lighting and the equipment were purchased by PEFYA for that facility,” Spates said. “The only drawback they did when they built the facility was they built it on leased property…In order to protect this property and the investment put in there both by us and by PEFYA, we felt the best answer was to buy the property.”

There is a reversion clause, he noted. “If it ever ceases to be operated as a recreation facility it would revert back to the Town,” he said.

The Town, meanwhile, will develop a community-wide recreation program for older youths and adults at the Firemen's Sports Arena property recently donated to the Town, Spates said, age groups outside PEFYA's circle of focus.

“I just can't see any real reason for the Town not to give this property to PEFYA as we originally agreed. I think PEFYA's done a wonderful job raising the money, running the program and worked very closely with (the Town's recreation program),” Spates said.

Town Council agreed, unanimously.