Thanks to the Fairfax County Park Authority, a developer and a thumbs-up last week from the county Planning Commission, Colin Powell Elementary will soon have two lighted diamonds, and SYA athletes will have more ballfields to play on after dark.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS seldom have lights on their fields, so none were planned when Powell was built. But once Pulte Home Corp. said it would foot the bill for them, the Park Authority asked the county's permission to install them there. It needed county approval because it's a change to what was originally intended there — unlighted fields.
Arrowhead Park and Powell are adjacent to each other. The park is master-planned for four, lighted and irrigated, rectangular fields. And the school has two 60-foot diamonds and one rectangular field, all irrigated.
When Pulte began building the Faircrest community (formerly Centreville Farms) in that area, the Park Authority allowed the developer a new access to Stringfellow Road across part of Arrowhead Park, in exchange for additional land enlarging the park. It also allowed Pulte to use the existing park as a staging area and for storage, in exchange for completion of the four, new rectangular fields.
But Pulte ended up staying on site about a year longer than it expected to — and that kept the ballfields out of play. So to make up for it, Pulte agreed to an additional $425,000 in proffers to sod the fields, provide water to irrigate them — and to buy the lights for Powell's two diamonds.
THE DEAL also allows the Park Authority to use existing funds to complete the irrigation and lighting of two of the Arrowhead fields. As a result, both the school and youth sports teams will benefit.
Said Sully District Park Authority representative Hal Strickland: "SYA doesn't have a lighted field in this area and desperately needs them for boys baseball and girls softball."
The West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA) Land-Use Committee approved the lighted fields at Powell at its Feb. 15 meeting. Then last Wednesday, March 3, the Planning Commission — which has the final say in this matter — did likewise.