Fredericksburg City Beat

This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.

Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

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More on the Ripken field site

Today’s story about the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation looking at sites in Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania for its baseball field complex referenced the memorandum of understanding that the foundation signed with the city in March.

You can get that document here. Councilwoman Debby Girvan said that it stipulates that the fields are to be in the city. It does talk about building or upgrading city fields, but the agreement doesn’t appear to be legally binding.

The language on the fields is as follows:

“For the purposes of ensuring the long term viability and success of the community partnership between the City and City Youth Groups and community support groups, the second phase of our understanding will include a capital improvement program to construct a new baseball field or fields and/or renovate existing fields within the City … The field or fields will provide an excellent forum and location to implement ‘The Ripken Way’ programs and provide the City a long term asset in which to provide needed assistance and developmental programs for city youth.”

However, a later paragraph states:

“The provisions provided above in this MOU do not create or constitute any legally binding obligations upon the parties and is not intended to constitute a binding contract. No agreement or contract will exist unless and until the parties have negotiated, mutually agreed to and executed a separate, subsequent and formal lease agreement, which incorporates the terms of this MOU. It is understood and agreed that parties have not attempted to set forth all essential terms of this proposed transaction, and the parties further acknowledge and agree that such terms are subject to further negotiations.”

One thing to note is that this agreement calls for the city to maintain the fields once they are built. The foundation’s deputy executive director, Chuck Brady, said yesterday that a locality’s ability to provide that support will factor into the feasibility study the foundation will conduct of the sites under consideration. In addition, the foundation will also look at what location is best positioned to serve disadvantaged youth in the area.

While the foundation will make the final decision on location, Brady said a local leadership group that has been working on the Ripken project, as well as the donors that will be needed to finance the field, will have a say.

Ripken officials will be in Fredericksburg Aug. 30 to inspect the city’s chosen site, which is the land Fredericksburg bought from the Silver Cos. four years ago to deposit silt removed from behind the Embrey Dam before it was breached. City leaders like this site because it would give Fredericksburg a riverfront park and it would replace the Snowden baseball fields that will be lost when Fall Hill Avenue is widened and Mahone Drive is extended to connect with that road.

Next month, the foundation will put on a kickoff event in the city the weekend of Sept. 22. That will include a Saturday baseball festival at James Monroe High School. The day will start off with a coaches’ clinic taught by Bill Ripken from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m., and then from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., there will be baseball-oriented games and other activities on the school grounds. Participants will need to pick up tickets at local parks and recreation departments, but they will be free. Look for more information on this in the coming weeks.