Reston Soccer wants to team with Reston Association in order to vastly upgrade two soccer fields.
The organization says it is not asking RA for is cash; Reston Soccer reps say they will raise all the money for the renovations, as well as pay RA rent to use the fields.
In a presentation to RA’s Board on Thursday, Reston Soccer President Robert Anguizola said the organization’s wish list includes transforming Lake Newport Soccer’s two grass fields into artificial turf fields made of plant-derived infill; LED lighting on both fields; and a clubhouse building with bathrooms.
The project’s very preliminary estimate to replace the fields and install lighting would be $2.4 million, Anguizola said, adding that a better estimate would come when engineering work begins.
The RA Board will return in its September meeting with a proposal to ask the community in a member if it wants the fields. The referendum would most likely take place next spring.
“I know RA is not in the mood, or some would say does not have capability, to fund anything new,” said Anguizola. “We are not asking you to fund anything. We want to model this after the Walker Nature Education Center [which was built by grants and community fundraising].”
“In a referendum, we would ask ‘Does community want this amenity? Yes or No. If the answer is yes, then we would go fundraise. What we would ask, if we donate the money, then we want promise we can use it. You would end up having surplus time [to rent it for] other uses and sports.”
RA might end up having to pay to maintain the fields, but those costs would be paid for by field rental fees. Anguizola says Reston Soccer currently pays RA about $7,000 annually (on a per-player basis for players who do not live in Reston).
Lake Newport is the most suitable place in Reston on which to build the turf fields, Anguizola added. Virginia laws prohibit a public-private partnership on a Fairfax County Park Authority field (such as at Lake Fairfax Park or at Baron Cameron Park) with special requests for usage. Also, Lake Newport is the only RA field complex with two fields, as well as space for other potential amenities such as the clubhouse or a tot lot.
It may take some convincing to get RA and the community to sign off on lights. It took years to get lights at Brown’s Chapel baseball fields, an RA property, and the recent Lake House project involves very strict hours so outdoor lights do not disturb residents.
Anguizola said Reston Soccer has researched state-of-the-art LED lighting (similar to what lights recently installed at the new Yankee Stadium in New York). These lights provide lower glare than what are on most Reston fields now.
Adding turf and lights would add 191 extra field hours (assuming lights could be on until 8:30 p.m.) per season, plus an additional 550 hours in what is now the offseason, said Anguizola.
The board was very receptive to the idea.
“We already have soccer fields there why not try and make them the best we can make them?” said Lake Anne/Tall Oaks Director Sherri Hebert. “Lights could have certain hours. I don’t see a drawback to this proposal at all.”