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Status of Proposed Fields at McLean HS and Lewinsville Park

Decisions have been reached regarding the proposal of synthetic turf fields within McLean.

McLean Youth Soccer, an influential athletic organization, has settled on winning one and losing one on the pitch. 

In May, McLean Youth Soccer proposed re-orienting the Lewinsville Park fields No. 2 and No. 3 and adding synthetic turf to one of the fields. Another proposal was made to add synthetic turf to the McLean High School stadium field. It has been decided that the proposal for the Lewinsville Park fields will not be pursued while the stadium field at Mclean will be turfed.

“There are currently three rectangular fields in Lewinsville Park, one synthetic turf field with lights, one grass field with lights, and one grass field without lights,” said Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust. “After much discussion and outreach, the decision was made not to add another turf field at the park.”

The decision to not add synthetic turf was based around a resounding negative response by the citizens living around Lewinsville Park.

“Needless to say, such a project would be very expensive and the County and Park Authority would find it extremely difficult to justify given that two currently existing fields are quite serviceable,” said Frank Crandall, chair of the Environment and Recreation committee of the McLean Citizens Association.

Yet, there has been permission granted by the Fairfax County School Board to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding for the addition of a synthetic turf to the stadium field.

“The proposal is that the high school stadium field will be turfed and paid for with financial contributions from the youth sport groups, the McLean High School Boosters and proffer money obtained by my office. This is a reasonable alternative that recognizes the neighbors’ concerns about traffic, noise, lights and intensity of use, and will accomplish the important goals of providing a synthetic turf field for the high school and additional synthetic turf field capacity for the youth sports groups,” Foust said.

“No terms have been agreed on yet,” said Dr. Deborah Jackson, Principal of McLean High School.

The McLean High School synthetic turf field will be the sixth synthetic turf field added since Supervisor John Foust has taken office. There will be one added at Spring Hill Recreation Center this fall and another will be added as part of the McLean Government Center renovation and expansion project which is scheduled to begin next spring.

From their website, "MYS is now the largest athletic organization in Fairfax County with more than 4,200 members on more than 260 teams and using more than 22 fields. More than 97 percent of the club membership resides in Fairfax County and more than 90 percent are from within the Langley and McLean High School pyramids." Their teams range from five- to nineteen-year-olds. 

Shawn Ghuman August 22, 2011 at 04:21 PM
We remain optimistic that this plan, which will benefit thousands of McLean children and save taxpayers millions of dollars, may still reach fruition. We are concerned, however, that Park Authority representatives, while characterizing the overall proposal as “excellent” have indicated that the proposal, currently in a form acceptable to the parties funding the vast majority of the bill, faces a high likelihood of rejection. We encourage all who recognize the benefits of providing more access to quality athletic opportunities for the youth of all ages in McLean to contact their local elected officials to indicate support for the full proposal as presented to the Park Authority."
William A Gray August 23, 2011 at 03:26 AM
Pablo- This coalition of youth sports includes McLean Football and McLean Lacrosse. Other sports are welcome to participate as well. This project is a true public/private partnership in the sense that many youth organizations have joined together with the McLean High School Boosters Club to develop a comprehensive solution to a problem that we all face- inadequate and unsafe playing fields.
Paul McConnell August 23, 2011 at 08:45 PM
Tremendous good news for thousands of kids. Let's hope the neighbors are reasonable (how much power do they really have anyway given that they chose to move near a school and their are more citizens/voters that want/need improved fields)?
James McCulla September 21, 2011 at 02:56 PM
James McCulla When we purchased our home near McLean High School 37 years ago we anticipated that the athletic fields would be devoted to activities associated with the school. And, with the exception of some McLean Youth Football games on autumn Saturdays, that is that way it has been all these years. It has been an acceptable situation involving a reasonable amount of activity underscoring a harmonious relationship between the neighborhood and the school. The plan now is for the school to accept money from the McLean Youth Soccer to get its main field covered with artificial turf. In exchange the school plans to allow this non-school organization to use the field whenever the high school is not using it. This includes Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. In other words there will be no respite from activity and noise, not even on Sundays and during evenings when you wish to entertain guests. This will degrade the nature of the neighborhood and is completely incompatible with its residential character. For one of your correspondents, Pablo, to declare, in effect, that 37 years ago we should have anticipated that a public school would surrender control of its property to the detriment of the neighborhood is ludicrous. On the other hand Pablo, in an earlier post, argued for using tax money to improve playing fields. That is the correct position. Public entities should retain control of public facilities.
mike September 28, 2011 at 12:49 PM
I could not disagree more with Mr McCulla. McLean HS, like other schools are community assets and the community extends beyond the "neighborhood." There is simply not space on campus for 6 HS fall sports teams (football x 3 and field hockey x 3) and 8 HS spring teams (lacrosse x 4 and soccer x 4) to play and practice and weather conditions frequently shut down operations completely. I'd also question the harmonious relationship described. With the proliferation of "No Parking" signs and "No Parking School Days between 8-330" it seems like the neighbors think the school would be great if it wasn't for all those kids.

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