Park on the Move?

Park on the Move?

In exchange for housing development, company will construct Philip A. Bolen Park.

Philip A. Bolen Park exists now only as an idea. The 460-acre plot, just west of Sycolin Road, requires water and sewer and improved road access before it can open, and right now, how to best do that in a cost-effective way remains a sticking point.

Enter Leonard "Hobie" Mitchel, president of Lansdowne Community Development. Mitchel has offered to establish the park on a nearby 300-acre plot slightly southeast of the current location, fully fund construction, add more facilities than currently planned and do it all by the end of 2007 Ñ all for one rezoning request.

Mitchel is asking that the board approve the rezoning for Creekside, a planned mixed-use development that is currently before the board in comprehensive plan amendment form.

Creekside, a 1,076-acre location surrounding the current Bolen Park site, would contain up to 3,900 homes as well as 700,000 square feet in office and 300,000 square feet in retail development.

Mitchel is offering a $200 million package to make Creekside a reality, once proffered road, school and park construction is complete. The estimated $1.3 to $1.5 million needed for water and sewer extension into Bolen Park is, relatively, a drop in the bucket.

"We'd take care of that," Mitchel said.

MITCHEL'S PROPOSITION is under consideration by Supervisor Lori Waters (R-Broad Run) whose district borders the current Bolen Park location.

"I think it's an intriguing idea," she said. "I would like to know more details."

Waters had raised concerns about access in a Dec. 8 joint transportation and land use committee meeting. Currently, Sycolin Road is unpaved. Bolen Park, with its proposed 17 ball fields, would create a safety challenge for Ashburn residents trying to take their children to baseball practice.

Waiting for Sycolin Road to be paved by the Virginia Department of Transportation, however, would push back the opening date of 2007.

"I want Bolen Park to be done, and I don't want this to be tied up in bureaucracy forever," she said.

Currently, the county has agreed to fund only part of phase one of the Bolen Park project, which includes ball fields, rest rooms and trails in a 2001 referendum worth $16.2 million. Five million dollars is still needed for phase one.

The estimated $27 million needed for phase two, which includes a recreation center and trail improvements, remains unfunded, but the county has every intention of following through, said Supervisor Mick Staton (R-Sugarland Run).

"I don't think the board or the town [of Leesburg] want to see this project stop at phase one," Staton said.

ACCORDING TO MITCHEL, the county would save $43 million by agreeing to his private-public partnership to improve Sycolin Road, Crosstrail Boulevard, Belmont Ridge Road and build Battlefield Parkway.

The board will consider pursuing Bolen Park construction as a county or as part of Mitchel's Creekside development at its Dec. 21 regular meeting, held at the government center in Leesburg.