The future of baseball in Manassas will be discussed at a City Council work session Monday night.
The Greater Manassas Baseball League, which offers baseball to boys and girls between the ages of eight and 18, will meet with elected leaders to discuss the future of its E.G. Smith Baseball Complex, formerly an eight-baseball field complex at the corner of Route 28 and Godwin Drive.
Earlier this year, Micron Technologies, which is located next to the fields, and is undergoing a $3 billion expansion — the largest in modern Virginia history — that will bring 1,100 new, highly-skilled computer chip makers to the city, converted two of the eight fields into parking lots, leaving six fields remaining.
In an agreement with the city, which owns the land on which the ballfields sit, residents may use the parking lots when not in use by Micron employees.
The land on which the remaining ballfields sit is assessed at $6.2 million and has been on the market for more than 10 years. The city has thumbed its nose at requests to build condos or strip malls on the land.
“The idea here is we want to see something built here that is going to be a job creator,” said City Councilman Ian Lovejoy.
Lovejoy said there are no plans on the table to purchase the land, which was originally donated to the city by IBM, which abandoned its Manassas headquarters in 1993.
Micron declined to be interviewed for this story.
But while there may be nothing in the works for the site just yet, young baseball players and their coaches are not out of the woods yet. Since 2016, city leaders have been working on a master plan for developing nearby Dean Park, over 100 acres of land on Wellington Road, where many thought the E.G. Smith ballfields could be relocated.
One option for the sprawling park — which is the site of Dean Elementary School, a Boys, and Girls Club branch, and a recently dedicated statue of Jennie Dean, a woman who, in 1893, founded an industrial school for black youth — is to move all eight diamond ballfields to Dean Park, bringing the number total number of baseball fields at the park to nine.
But some in the community want amenities at the park other than just baseball fields. A preferred master plan, a city document notes, calls for only four baseball fields at the site. It also calls for five rectangle fields, a running track, a dog park, and 195 new parking spaces, adding to the 213 outside the Boys and Girls Club.
The city school division also has $46 million set aside to replace the 62-year-old Dean Elementary School, relocating it next to the Boys and Girls Club. A commemorative tree grove and 47 parking spaces would sit on the old school site.
“It is clear the city needs to hear from the residents with regards to the future of this land,” said Lynn Forkell Green, who sits on the city’s Parks and Recreation Committee. “Do we sell it? Do we keep it?”
The joint meeting between city leaders and the baseball league will occur at 5:30 p.m. Monday, November 16, at City Hall, located at 9027 Center Street. The meeting will be held inside the City Council Chambers will be open to the public.