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$3.1 Million in Sports Field Improvements Coming to Prince William

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Left over money – some $3.1 million of it – will go to benefit children, their parents, and area sports leagues who called for better playing fields in Prince William County.

A list of field improvements to be paid for with surplus unbudgeted tax money, called carryover funds, was approved by county leaders Tuesday night. Sports league members, children, and their parents sitting the audience at the government center applauded after the new fields were approved.

“We are the seventh-wealthiest county in the United States, we are continuing to get wealthier… one of the things that has clearly lagged behind [is] athletic facilities not only for student athletes, but also for seniors and others who want to participate athletics as we age,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart.

MORE to the STORY: See Chairman Corey Stewart’s field improvements presentation 

The largest of the improvements will be the installation of turf fields at Gainesville and Saunders middle schools, including field lighting, for a combined $2 million. An agreement is being hashed out between the county government and the Prince William County School Division – which currently owns and maintains the fields for school and sports league use – is expected to be completed soon.

Additional improvements include the installation of an auxiliary field at Woodbridge’s Veterans Park, and lighting a rectangular field and a diamond-shaped field at Long Park in Gainesville.

Lighting will also be installed at a field at Godwin Middle School in Dale City for $200,000.

An auxiliary field and restroom facilities will also be included in the plans for Fuller Heights Park that is under construction outside Quantico. A total of $150,000 of surplus tax funds will pay for half the improvements at Fuller Heights while another $150,000 in proffer funds from developers is expected to be used to complete the job.

Stewart, who spearheaded the field improvement initiative, dubbed these projects “low-hanging fruit” that would provide the “best bang for the buck” for taxpayers. The fields are slated to be constructed later this summer.

Gainesville Supervisor Peter Candland, who voted against the measure, urged officials to put the field improvements into the annual budget process that begins next month instead of spending the surplus funds now. He cautioned that the maintenance costs for the new fields would something that will have to be budgeted for each year.

“This is taxpayer money that came from all of you and we can’t treat it like it’s a pot of gold we’ve just stumbled upon, that we can spend any way that we want to,” said Candland.

Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan cast the only other dissenting vote.

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  • PWC Taxpayer

    Kudos to Chariman Stewart and the other supervisors who voted for this. These improvements benefit youth leagues, adult and senior leagues, and can potentially bring revenue into the county by hosting events from other localities. Yes, we all understand there is a lot more work to do and there are other unmet needs as well, but instead of focusing on mistakes that may have been made in the past like some supervisors prefer to do, last night’s allocation of funds was focused on moving the county forward and make it a better place to live.

  • True Grit

    Chairmen Stewart did the right thing for these student athletes. Unlike Candland who gives out Heroes Awards like crazy to sports teams to buy votes,Chairmen Stewart is actually taking action on this issue.

  • Reality Check

    For Stewart it was too little too late. He created this mess in the first place with his developer buddies ripping off taxpayers.

    ALL fields at taxpayer funded schools have to be open. Candland was right on that. And get rid of the control principals and athletic directors exercise over those fields — including renting them out for the cash. We paid for them, we should be able to use them. It should be done with increased maintenance to protect the fields, but they should be used.

    The users of the fields should pay for them. The land is provided by the county, and the users build and maintain the fields. Candland is right on that. Fairfax has some of the best fields in the state because they do it this way.

    I would love to build all the fields needed, but we cannot afford that. That is reality.

  • Nice job Chairman Stuart. There are no surprises in the individual board members who had dissenting votes.

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