Gainesville Supervisor Candland Works to Improve Youth Sports Leagues

| December 8, 2012 | 0 Comments | Sports

Supervisor Pete Candland talks with parents of youth sports players after the town hall meeting on Nov. 28. Photo provided by Candland's staff.

Gainesville Magisterial District Supervisor Pete Candland held  a town hall meeting last week to discuss residents’ concerns and  improving resources for sports leagues in Prince William County.

“I’ve been hearing a lot of different concerns from the sports leagues about the fields. I wanted to have all the major stakeholders get together in a room to have a discussion,” Candland said.

Stakeholders included representatives from the county Department of Parks and Recreation as well as leaders of sports leagues in the county. By and large they listened to the concerns of the over the 80 citizens, who attended on behalf of their children who play youth sports in the county.

Much of the discussion focused on the allocation of county and school-owned fields and gymnasiums for use by the sports leagues and improving the communication between leagues and county officials. As the population continues to grow and more children participate in athletics, Candland believes it is critical the county finds ways to improve the accessibility of its youth sports programs.

“As a former high school basketball referee and father of children active in local sports, I know firsthand the value of athletics for our youth,” Candland said to the citizens at the town hall. “Our sports leagues in the county are growing every year, and it’s important that we keep up with the demands. Unfortunately, there are instances where leagues must turn away children because there isn’t enough capacity.”

While new fields are in the pipeline, Candland told Bristow Beat he is also working with the Board of County Supervisors to look into opening up school fields for use by county recreational sports leagues.

“We’ve instructed county staff to investigate opening up school fields. We already have some school fields that we can open up to the league,” Candland said.

While he acknowledged those fields primarily exist to serve school populations, he said he would like to see them be utilized by county youth leagues when they are not being used by student athletes. However, beyond scheduling concerns, funding to maintain those fields is also an issue. Candland said the leagues would likely be asked to share in the financial burden of maintaining the fields, should their athletes be granted access to them.

Candland said that while the issue of opening school fields was not discussed in great detail at the town hall meeting, he wanted  parents to know that their concerns were being heard by the Parks and Recreation Department and their elected officials.

“Most people understood that we were doing what we could on the actual field space to bring as many fields on-line as possible. Their main concern was working with the Parks and Rec. Department,” Candland said.

While Candland did not serve on the Board of County Supervisors when they voted to disband the Parks Authority and replace it with a Department of Parks and Recreation, he said he nonetheless supports that decision, believing it will lead to more accountability and responsiveness to the public.

“Before the Parks Authority was a separate organization, and they had a high level of autonomy for unelected individuals. By bringing the Parks and Recreation Department now within the Board of County Supervisors, who are the accountable elected officials; if you have issues, you can go to your supervisor,” Candland said.

© 2012, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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Category: Sports

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