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Discussion of Langely Fork Park Begins

Field use concerns dominate public forum.

When McLean Youth Lacrosse (MYL) paid $30,000 one year ago to re-sod the Langley Fork Park field that it uses for practice, the organization expected to enjoy at least a few games on its investment. So players and coaches were less than thrilled to arrive at a field that had been destroyed by adult league use over the course of the summer.

"Because of over-permitting in the summer, the field was completely demolished," said Rich Tusing, head of MYL. "Because of the high demand [for the field], there was no enforcement of the rules, so adult groups played on wet fields. We didn't even get to play one game before the field was demolished."

Now, MYL will no longer spend any money on the maintenance and upkeep of the fields at Langley Fork Park, which according to Tusing, "means everybody loses" because it will render it unusable to all.

Tusing raised this contentious issue at last week's Langley Fork Park public information session. On Tuesday, Sept. 27, the National Park Service and the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) held a public meeting at Langley High School to discuss the beginnings of the Langley Fork Park Master Plan re-examination. The park, which is located at 6250 Georgetown Pike in McLean, is owned by the National Park Service but is managed by the FCPA under a 25-year special use permit. As the permit will expire in June 2006, a new master plan must be created.

"We too know that interests change over the years, and we also know that sports change over the years," said Audrey Calhoun, Superintendent of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, National Park Service. "We want to try and mesh those uses."

Currently, there are 4 athletic fields, 2 multi-use courts, a 170-space parking lot, a pond in the Southwest corner and a large forested area. There are no lights or irrigation in the park. Additionally, there is an existing paved trail along Georgetown Pike and an internal fitness trail loop with exercise stations.

ALTHOUGH CALHOUN STATED that she "didn't know of anything too controversial," in regard to this particular park, last week's meeting revealed that there are some issues on the minds of affected community members.

Based on his negative experiences with the current fields at Langley Fork park, Tusing requested that "the nature [of the park's design] to meet the needs of both youths and adults" be taken into consideration in any future planning discussions.

"We'd like to encourage a planning process that would allow some sort of rotation of use of the field," said Tusing.

Sandra Stallman, FCPA Acting Manager for the Park Planning Branch, said that Tusing raised some valid concerns and that he had "given us a lot to think about in terms of the fields."

Kevin Fay, Dranesville District Member to the FCPA, added that although Langley Fork Park is "the top site for potential new fields, we recognize that we have some conservation issues."

Some other topics of concern that were brought up during Tuesday night's session were a desire for adequate public restroom facilities, safer exercise stations, the addition of trails and the potential erection of monopoles and the possibility of having stadium lighting on the fields.

The next step in the park planning process will be a public planning workshop which will be held sometime in December. Citizens will be invited to come and share their input on future features of the park. After the workshop, the FCPA will hold a public hearing in the spring of 2006. Following the hearing, the public will be permitted to submit comments through the remainder of the summer, and in the fall of 2006, the FCPA will announce the final plan.