Town Donating Field Of Dreams To PEFYA

Published 4:22 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2013

FARMVILLE – Town Council voted Friday during a special called meeting to donate the Field of Dreams athletic complex to the Prince Edward-Farmville Youth Association (PEFYA).

The deed, being drawn up by Town Attorney Donald C. Blessing, will have a reversion clause that would kick the property back to Town ownership only if PEFYA ceased to operate the property as a recreation facility.

The Town had purchased the property from STEPS for $770,854,20 in 2010 to ensure PEFYA continued to call the Field of Dreams home and last fall paid for a master plan to provide expansion and development options for fields, concessions and parking.

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Choosing development options and fundraising for them will now be up to PEFYA, apparently, rather than the Town and its budget.

There had been no public discussion of donating the property to PEFYA but Town Manager Gerald Spates said the possibility has always been in the back of the Town's mind.

Spates said that donating the property now was largely his idea and explained doing so is fairest to PEFYA.

“With the money they've invested in it-the intention, initially, was to give it to them but we held on to it till we could see how everything was going and we just think it would be better to let them control their own destiny, more or less,” he told The Herald.

“Going back and looking at the original minutes,” he continued, “the intention was to give them the (property). I think over the years some of them had suggested that, (but) not coming out publicly and suggesting it.

As for the master plan by Hurt & Proffitt, there are three options in the 60-plus page document for the development and expansion of playing fields and parking, with the choice of a new or renovated concession facility.

The estimated cost of undertaking the most ambitious of the options was set at $5.36 million.

“We did the master plan for the simple fact of being able to determine what the potential is for that facility and I would think this would not affect the master plan. It would be up to them to develop it,” Spates said. “We'll be glad to help any way. As far as them doing the master plan it's up to them what portions of it they want to do.”

Fundraising will also be up to PEFYA.

“Yeah. Right. And they can do that through donations. They're a whole lot more likely to get donations than we would for something like that,” Spates said.

“I think it's a good deal for them. They can do pretty much what they want to, without having to check with somebody,” the town manager explained. “If somebody else owns a piece of property…they were doing all these improvements on somebody else's property that they didn't own.”

No more.

PEFYA will own the property and control its destiny.

“I think it's a win-win for everybody and they can control their own destiny,” Spates reiterated.

As for the reversion clause, Spates said, “They can't sell it or do anything like that. It will always remain a recreation facility…

“If they ever stop operating and stop using it for a recreation facility,” he said, “it would come back to us.”