A ribbon cutting Friday for a newly expanded parking lot at UMW’s Battlefield Athletic Complex illustrates a concerted effort by the University and the City of Fredericksburg to work collaboratively on community issues.
The project, which enlarged the lot between UMW’s Tennis Center and Physical Plant to eight times its original size, aims to ease cramped parking conditions on Hanover Street during University-hosted athletic events. It also is intended to bolster the athletic complex’s attractiveness for tournament use and support economic development opportunities.
“This lot is more than just parking,” said City Manager Tim Baroody. “It’s a partnership.”
Mary Washington President Troy Paino joined City Council member Tim Duffy, a Mary Washington graduate and College Heights resident, in cutting the symbolic ribbon tied between City and University vehicles. UMW Interim Athletic Director Patrick Catullo attended the event, along with University athletes and coaches, and Fredericksburg officials, including Baroody, Director of Economic Development and Tourism Bill Freehling, and Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw.
“We’re thrilled the city and the University have worked together on this project,” said College Heights Civic Association President Meredith Beckett. “It’s a win-win situation for everybody.”
UMW had been set to break ground on the lot in the spring, but construction, which included removal of a berm and trees, was stalled when four baby eastern bluebirds were discovered there. Construction, by JL Kent & Sons, began after the birds left the nest in July, and was completed late last month.
The size of the original 16-space lot, with a single handicap spot, was increased to accommodate 129 spaces, with five handicap spots. UMW spent approximately $930,000 on the project, which included a $315,000 contribution from the City.
The expanded lot, which is also open to the public, offers students and parents an alternative and convenient place to park along Hanover Street when athletic events are in progress.Baroody said his office also has crafted a draft agreement aimed at giving City residents more access to “our treasured hometown University and its indoor/outdoor athletic facilities.”
“The lot is a symbol of the growing partnership between the city and the University,” said Paino, who hopes the venture is the first of many of its type. “Together, we’re stronger. This project represents that kind of collaboration.”
For more information about the expanded Battlefield Athletic Complex parking lot, contact UMW Assistant Director of Capital Outlay Rob Johnston at email@example.com or 540-654-1299.