EXCLUSIVE: Stewart Plans to Propose a Multi-Use Youth Sports Field in Gainesville

| November 28, 2013 | 0 Comments | News

Youth lacrosse athletes improve upon their skills indoors at House of Speed in Manassas.

Lacrosse and other youth sports teams may be getting new fields to play on in Gainesville, according to Chairman Corey Stewart-R.

Stewart told Bristow Beat Wednesday that he plans to propose to spend $3-4 million from carryover capital improvement (CIP) funds from fiscal year (FY) 2013 to fund new multi-use rectangular fields on the west and east sides of the county. He said he will propose the motion at a Dec. 10 Board of Supervisors meeting, but has not told the rest of the board yet.

The Chairman would like to see artificial turf fields at Gainesville Middle School and Saunders Middle School, which would then be open to county leagues. Additionally, he would like to add more lights to existing fields.

Stewart said the rectangular fields he is proposing will serve as playing fields for a number of youth sports from football to lacrosse, as well as soccer and rugby. If approved, designs for the fields could be implemented right away, and the fields could be opened for use within one year.

Stewart said there is “a real need” to provide youth lacrosse with fields as lacrosse “fastest growing sport in the country” and the “fastest growing sport in the county.”

At public meeting to discuss field space, Stewart heard from parents and coaches of youth athletes. Lacrosse parents were especially concerned about the poor conditions of their makeshift fields.

Prince William Lacrosse Club players in mid-county complained of playing at Independent Hill School, at a site too close to the county garbage dump, where savenger birds would fly over and dump chicken bones.

Meanwhile, parents of west side players, members of the Youth Brigade Lacrosse League, complained that they have had to turn away new players to Fauquier County leagues. Parents have also spent their own money to rent fields in open churchyards that were more like meadows than game fields as they did not have markers, spectators stands, lights or restrooms.

Along with funding new fields, the Board of County Supervisors is also negotiating with the schools to try to open up high school field space.

However, Stewart may run into opposition from Supervisor Candland who said he would weigh all county necessities against the ability to decrease class sizes in the county.

Stewart, however, said that creating fields is for the most part a “one time cost.”

“The money that we have available at the end of the year for capital improvement- you can’t use to finance class size reduction since it’s not on-going” Stewart said.

Although there are some maintenance fees for fields, he said they are relatively low in comparison to initial costs, unless class size reductions which become annual costs.

© 2013, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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