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Greenbrier Park Undergoes Changes

Yorktown High School will have new athletic fields, baseball diamond by summer 2007.

The demolition of the athletic fields at Greenbrier Park has been completed and new construction is now beginning on the site, which serves as Yorktown High School’s outdoor sports complex.

When the renovations are completed in July 2007, the park will contain a synthetic turf rectangular field for football, soccer and lacrosse matches, two softball diamonds, a baseball field and a running track.

YORKTOWN officials, students and parents have long clamored for the park to be redesigned, because the baseball diamond and rectangular field were overlaid on top of each other. This caused scheduling difficulties for the school’s athletic teams and sometimes prevented events from being held simultaneously, said Mike Krulfeld, Yorktown’s director of student activities.

"The demand far outweighed the availability of the fields," Krulfeld said. "It forced us to be creative. We always had to hope that a JV baseball game ended on time so we could get the varsity soccer game on right afterwards."

Due to the overlapping fields, many Yorktown teams have had to practice off site, putting increased strain on both athletes and parents, Krulfeld said.

The county first approved a new development plan for the 17.51-acre park in May 2002. During a March 11 ceremony at Greenbrier, County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman said that the park should have seen greater investment years ago, but added that he was happy to see construction finally underway.

"Folks for too long had to deal with a sub-par facility," said Zimmerman, who recounted how the park’s lights had gone out during a half-time ceremony at one of his daughter’s soccer games.

The first phase of construction, including the rectangular field and 2,400-seat stadium, will be completed by the fall, said Robert Capper, a landscape architect with the county. The three diamond fields will not be operational until 2007.

Yorktown’s athletic teams are using facilities scattered across the county during the construction period. The baseball team is playing on the diamond in Barcroft Park, soccer games are being held at Gunston Middle School and lacrosse matches are taking place at both Kenmore Middle School and Washington-Lee High School.

"EVERYONE HAS bent over backwards to reschedule their events," Krulfeld said. "It is a challenge for the coaches and athletes, but the short-term pain is outweighed by the long-term" benefits.

The surface of the rectangular field will now be synthetic turf, which is more durable than natural grass. Turf stands up better during inclement weather and requires less maintenance, Krulfeld said.

"You have to replace natural grass fields a lot more often because of the wear and tear," Krulfeld added.

Turf also is less likely to cause injuries than grass, because the surface is not as hard, Capper said. The baseball and softball fields will continue to be made of grass.

The lighting for the park utilizes "dark star" technology that cuts down on light spillage and glare, Capper said. This will focus the light onto the fields and minimize the impact to the surrounding neighborhood.

Additional trees will be planted around the perimeter to act as a buffer between adjacent houses and the sports facilities.

Zimmerman said he hopes county residents will also take advantage of the park’s new amenities, especially the running track, and that it will encourage people to get out and meet their neighbors.