BALLSTON-VIRGINIA SQUARE

Civic Association Newsletter

May/June 1996 - Volume 19, No. 9



QUINCY SOCCER FIELD--UPDATE

In response to the Association's most recent inquiry about the status of the proposed public-private venture, we have received a letter dated May 16, 1996, from Janis Wood, Chief, Sports Division, which indicates that the Board plans to have a public hearing on the proposal sometime this summer at one of their regularly scheduled meetings.

The Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association has had three meetings on the proposed public-private venture between the county and Marymount University to upgrade the Quincy Park soccer/football playfield. This has been discussed in detail in the last three issues of our Association's Newsletter dating back to the February/March 1996 Newsletter. At our last Membership meeting on April 24, 1996, we agreed to summarize our members' position on the proposed public- private venture. BVSCA President Ragland drafted the letter on April 25, 1996, to Janis B. Wood, Chief, Sports Division, Arlington County, Department Department of Parks, Recreation And Community Resources. The letter follows for your information.

This letter is in response to our Association's Membership Meeting of April 24, 1996, at the Renaissance Arlington Hotel, Agenda Item 2, and our discussion of the proposed public-private venture between the County and Marymount University to upgrade the Quincy Park soccer/football playfield. Also, it should be noted that Ms. Linda R. McMahon, Vice President for Student Services, Marymount University; Pete Feheley, Program Sports Supervisor, Arlington's Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Resources; and other members of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association were in attendance at this meeting. As you may recall, I stated at the meeting our intent to put in writing our members' position on the proposed joint venture. This letter is intended to formalize the Association's position.

Before beginning that discussion, we would like to note that various members of the Association's Executive Committee had previously indicated at our prior Membership Meeting of March 27, 1996, that the Association intended to recommend to our membership that the proposed private-public venture not be supported if we did not receive by April 10, 1996, Marymount University's "Letter of Intent." This Letter of Intent was to set forth the expectations of Marymount University concerning the proposed public-private venture to upgrade the Quincy Park soccer/football playfield. The target due date was established in order to include the Letter of Intent information in our April/May 1996 Newsletter for our members' consideration.

For your information, we delayed going to the printer for that Newsletter issuance until Tuesday, April 16, 1996, in order to give every opportunity for Marymount University to comply with our repeated requests for this letter, and the County's draft Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU"). Our requests for this information date back to February 28, 1996, at the first of three Membership Meetings on this proposed private-public venture. Because the Association did not timely receive the requested Letter of Intent, the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association recommended in its Newsletter of April/May 1996, that our members oppose the private-public venture.

At the Membership Meeting of April 24, 1996, I repeated the Executive Committee's recommendation, as described above. Also, I stated that we did not receive the Letter of Intent, until Friday late afternoon by fax at 4:48 p.m., on April 19, 1996. In response, Ms. McMahon stated her apology for not getting the Letter of Intent information to us sooner. Ms. McMahon indicated that she was not aware of our requested deadline for the Newsletter, and believed that the requested information was needed only by the date of our next Membership Meeting. We generally accepted Ms. McMahon's explanation, but noted our disappointment that this information was not available for our members' consideration in the current Newsletter. Also, our members expressed concern that we had not had a prior opportunity to review any draft MOU prepared in response to Marymount's Letter of Intent.

For your information, in our March 27, 1996, Membership Meeting with County staff and Marymount University representatives, our Association previously adopted a resolution to the effect that "We are pleased with the concept of improving a field that has been very badly deteriorated, but we would like in writing the assurance that access to that field would be maintained for the casual use by the community, as well as the long term users of the field like Washington Lee High School baseball, American Legion baseball, and other baseball groups."

Because the County has no written policy statement that would govern the use of Quincy Field after the upgrade, and Marymount's Letter of Intent does not address our resolution concerning the casual use by the community, as well as the long term users of the field like Washington Lee High School baseball, American Legion baseball, and other baseball groups, the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association respectfully requests that the Arlington County Sports Division prepare and present to the County Board, along with Marymount University's Letter of Intent, and any Memorandum of Understanding, a POLICY STATEMENT that clearly states/includes the following:

Further, and most importantly, any agreement between Marymount University and Arlington, needs to provide for a one year period to allow review by the County and the Community. This condition is critically needed to (1) protect the County's and Community's interests in our largest open area in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor; and (2) foster good communications between our community and Marymount University, and ensure a successful private-public venture.

Moreover, in response to your request that the Association define what is meant by "casual use," we are not sure how to define the concept. You, yourself, and others from the County Sports Division, have indicated that they are struggling with a definition. Ms. Woods, I believe you indicated that you currently think of two teams, with six or more players on each side, is not equivalent to casual use. Personally, I think that definition is unfair if these two teams of six or more players are comprised of young boys and girls, who are playing pick-up games after school. I recommend that the Sports Division check with other similar urban-type jurisdictions in defining what constitutes "casual use."

Specifically, the Association's concern on causal use at Quincy Park is how to protect resident access for everything from pick- up games to simple enjoyment (e.g., walking, sunning) of the field by a single person. For example, on any given sunny Spring Sunday afternoon, Quincy Field accomodates four or five casual groups (touch football, Frisbee, etc.), an organized baseball practice on Quincy #1, and folks sunning themselves on the bleachers -- all at one time. The casual groups could have as few as two players or as many as 15. No casual use should dominate the entire field, nor interfere with scheduled, organized events. Finally, casual users would not be in uniforms nor have a referee with them -- both unnecessary in a simple pick-up game. Thank you for your assistance in coordinating this matter with both the County Board and Marymount University.

Latest County Staff Response

In response to the Association's most recent inquiry about the status of the proposed public-private venture, we have received a letter dated May 16, 1996, from Janis Wood, Chief, Sports Division, which indicates that the County Board plans to have a public hearing on the proposal sometime this summer at one of their regularly scheduled meetings. Also, the letter indicates that any agreement involving Quincy #1 soccer field will need the approval of both Arlington County and Arlington Public Schools, because the Quincy #1 field is located on land partially owned by the School Board and partially by the County Board.

The Executive Committee encourages interested citizens in the proposed public-private venture to upgrade the Quincy #1 soccer field to attend the County Board public hearing on this subject, and express your views. This public hearing has yet to be scheduled, but is planned for one of the upcoming Board meetings this summer on Saturday, June 29, 1996, July 20, 1996, August 3, 1996, or September 7, 1996. For more information about the schedule of this public hearing, interested members should contact the County Board Office at 358-3130, or the Association's Member Information Line Telephone Number, a.k.a. MILTN, at (703) 528-1887.

Additionally, in the letter from Janis Wood, Chief, Sports Division to our Association, Ms. Wood provided information about the proposed Quincy #3 softball field improvements that have been identified in the FY 1997 Proposed Capital Improvement Program for Arlington County Government. The Quincy #3 softball field is located in the Quincy Park complex near the corner of North Nelson Street and North 10th Street. These proposed Quincy #3 softball field improvements total $30,000, and are as follows:

  1. Access Improvements--$7,500;
  2. Drainage--$6,000;
  3. Water Line and Hook-up to Portable Irrigator--$3,500;
  4. Infield and Turf Enhancements--$8,000; and
  5. Portable Water Reel--$5,000.


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