Longwood aspires to be an open campus where visitors and community residents frequently come to campus with families to explore, take in the performing arts, watch a game or take part in countless other activities. It also wants students to migrate easily and readily into Farmville and contribute to the vibrancy of a great college town. One of the main goals of the Master Plan is the creation of seams that join, rather than divide, Longwood and Farmville – to create spaces that facilitate their progress together.
From minor changes like providing clearer pathways into campus and streetscape improvements, to major projects like moving the baseball and softball stadiums along the High Bridge Trail in the heart of town, the plan envisions Longwood and Farmville working together to reach their shared potential as one of America’s truly great college towns.
Baseball & Softball Stadiums Proposed
The opening of Camden Yards in Baltimore in 1992 ushered in a new era of baseball stadiums – deeply authentic gathering spaces that bring families together to celebrate the traditions of America’s national pastime. Since the spectacular success of Camden Yards, most new ballparks have been integrated into town- and cityscapes rather than plopped down in suburban outskirts. From Major League cities like Pittsburgh and San Francisco, to minor league communities like Durham, urban ballparks have galvanized downtown revitalization and economic development, not to mention community identity.
The Master Plan envisions a baseball stadium downtown between Third Street and the Appomattox River, along the High Bridge Trail, and a smaller softball field nearby but also along the trail. This unique setting could be immensely appealing to a minor league baseball team, whose summer schedule would complement Longwood’s in the spring. Unlike other sports, baseball teams play as many as six or seven games per week, so the stadium would be in regular and consistent use, attracting visitors who would also shop and eat downtown.
“We can use the High Bridge Trail as a clothesline and hang the baseball and softball stadiums on it. That will draw the Longwood community into town, and all of that foot traffic leads to economic development. It creates a sense of momentum and a real happening place in Farmville. That in turn benefits Longwood.” -John Kirk, Cooper Robertson.
Tributary Streets to Downtown Proposed
In many great neighborhoods surrounding campuses, there is a feeling of place that emerges simply in walking the streets. Neighborhoods like Rivermont in Lynchburg and those surrounding U.Va. in Charlottesville feel almost like an extension of campus. There is opportunity to create that same feeling in Farmville.
The master plan calls for working with the town and local property owners collaboratively on streetscape improvements to the residential and commercial neighborhoods downtown. That includes, where possible, tree-lined streets with well-lit walkways that lead directly to campus. Creating that sense of place in town will further promote connectivity and integration. It also improves safety: streets that are not just well-lit but vital with pedestrian traffic are inherently safer.