Fields Task Force Gains Steam

Fields Task Force Gains Steam

McLean athletic fields needs are assessed by group representing community cross section

The Fields Task Force set up by Dranesville District supervisor Joan DuBois in February has made progress in identifying the needs of the community regarding athletic fields.

The Fields Task Force has broken into two subcommittees in order to identify the short- and long-term needs for field usage in McLean. One group will concentrate on the existing fields in the area, while the second group looks into the development of new fields.

DuBois recently met with task force co-chairs Chris Monek and Jon Braswell to discuss the progress made so far and to determine the next course of action. DuBois said, "I have been very impressed with the work the Fields Task Force has done thus far. The group has worked hard to identify criteria to evaluate potential sites and will offer recommendations to enhance existing field locations."

"We're making pretty good progress," said Chris Monek. "We still have a lot of work to do but I'm optimistic. We are setting up a process that the majority of folks will be happy with."

The increase in the population of greater McLean and the growth of participation in organized team sports have taxed the existing fields in the area. New field development, according to DuBois' office, has not kept pace with demand.

Stacey Bell is a local elementary school student who likes to play soccer after school. "Lots of fields is good because you don't have to wait a long time to play. That's better," said Bell.

The Fairfax County Park Authority recently released a Needs Assessment Report, which concluded there will be a deficit of 95 rectangular fields available for athletic activities by 2013 throughout the county. That study, in tandem with a forecast from the Community Recreation Services evaluating current use patterns, determined that McLean needs roughly six rectangular fields in order to meet the growing demand.

THE MCLEAN FIELDS TASK FORCE used the data supplied by those entities to initiate its own investigation into how to solve the problem. A report from the group is due shortly. DuBois said, "The task force has been assisted by county and school staff to develop a recommended plan of work. I look forward to their report. I will then hold a public meeting this fall inviting the community to review the report and their recommendations."

Monek said, "We are in the process of setting up the criteria, and will use that criteria in our evaluation. We are looking at 100 or so sites."

The task force was specifically created to bridge a gap between the community that perceives a need for more fields and those who do not. Task force members were chosen because of their active involvement in the community but do not represent any specific group or organization.