Tysons may soon get a new athletic field in connection to The Mile development.
The developers behind the previously approved The Mile project now want to create a youth-sized athletic facility in the Old Courthouse neighborhood of Tysons to fulfill one of the development’s proffers.
The developers want to create the field on a site along Boone Blvd that currently has an 8-story-tall office building and surface parking lot. The site was previously approved for an extended stay hotel that was never constructed.
The developers propose to convert the parking lot into a field measuring 180 feet by 330 feet. The field would be surrounded by a black chain link fence between 10-24 feet high to prevent balls from escaping and include portable toilets, bleachers and bike racks.
The parking lot would get reconfigured to serve both the athletic field and office building, which houses Cel-Sci Corporation and Liberty Tax Service. While the developers would own the field, Fairfax County Park Authority would operate and maintain the park.
“So we’re able to take advantage of that which I think is a creative way to find land in Tysons Corner that is much needed for athletic fields,” Elizabeth Baker, a senior land use planner for Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh, told the Fairfax County Planning Commission last night (Wednesday).
Baker said that while the athletic field is “youth-sized” because it is smaller than a full-size athletic field, she expects adults will use it as well.
“I think it’s a field that is going to be well used,” Baker said. “Obviously it’s an older building. It was built 40 years ago so it a site that’s been around for awhile, but is a large parking lot with excess parking in it.”
At-Large Commissioner Mary Cortina asked if restroom buildings could replace the portable toilets at the site.
“The Park Authority model of providing those porta-potties I think is really a holdover — even though we continue to do it — from another era when we were more suburban and there were no services in some of those park areas,” Cortina said. “This is right in the heart of Tysons.”
Baker said that having portable toilets at the site is no different than Ken Lawrence Park or Quantum Field in Tysons, “so it is meeting the standards for the Park Authority and that’s what we’ve provided here.”
Still, Cortina made a plea to the Park Authority to do away with portable toilets in the future.
“As we’re doing urban design we can’t forget the toileting needs,” Cortina said. “To continue to have these porta-potties throughout this urban development, it just seems to be incongruous with the rest of the streetscaping et cetera.”
A representative from the Park Authority said that restroom buildings are considered for fields and parks connected to larger developments and that portable toilets are appropriate for standalone parks.
Baker reassured Cortina that the portable toilets are in a corner of the site so that they won’t be visible to people walking or driving along Boone Blvd.
The Planning Commission voted to approve the proposal, which now heads to the Board of Supervisors.
“This new synthetic turf field will be a welcome addition to the Park Authority’s inventory of playing fields in Tysons,” Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner, the commissioner for the Providence District, said.
First image via Google Maps, images 2-3 via Fairfax County
Update 1:30 p.m. — A ribbon-cutting for a new athletic field in Tysons on Saturday, June 22, as part of a broader mission to make Tysons more park friendly.
The ribbon-cutting is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. at the new Quantum Field, tucked into the southeast corner of the Beltway-Leesburg Pike at 7980 Quantum Drive.
The field and adjacent parking lot are the result of a proffer agreement with The Meridian Group, the developers of the nearby Boro project. The Boro includes 700 residences along with commercial and office spaces and a movie theater.
“Meridian designed and constructed a synthetic turf athletic field with a playing surface of dimensions 180 feet by 360 feet to accommodate five sports, as well as black vinyl perimeter chain link fencing, concrete walkways, bleacher pads, athletic field and parking lot lighting, sound containing walls and landscaping,” a press release said. “The field development was substantially completed in May.”
Athletic fields have been identified by Fairfax County staff as a critical need for Tysons, particularly in the increasingly residential areas along Leesburg Pike.
As more developments come online in Tysons, more athletic fields are planned along Leesburg Pike. In April, developers of The Mile project submitted plans for a synthetic turf field at 8229 Boone Blvd.
Photo via Fairfax County Government
As Tysons grows, Fairfax County officials say the plan is for the small Raglan Road Park between Tysons and Vienna to be repurposed into “active recreation uses.”
Currently, Fairfax County Park Authority owns 11.82 acres of Raglan Road Park, a forested area adjacent to the Old Courthouse Spring Branch Stream Valley. The area recently saw some construction with the opening of the new Vesper Trail, but more amenities could be on the way.
David Bowden, director of the Park Planning and Development Division, said the park is one of the only properties the Park Authority owned prior to the widespread redevelopment of Tysons.
“Expansion of that park property is an area identified as [a priority] to support Tysons,” Bowden said.
“What we need in Tysons is an athletic field,” Bowden added. “We need multi-use spaces for basketball or tennis courts, or even pickleball now.”
Raglan Road Park and the Freedom Hill Park to the south are both identified in the 2014 Tysons Park System Conception Plan as locations for some active recreation facilities. According to the plan:
The park is mostly forested upland, with a small clearing of about half an acre. Raglan Road Park is contiguous with the Old Courthouse Spring Branch Stream Valley, though the park does not have any regulatory Resource Protection Area (RPA) land on it. Prior to construction of any recreational uses at Raglan Road Park, additional land will need to be acquired to complete the park. This is due to the irregular shape of the park, and the land area needed to construct facilities.
But Judy Pedersen, public information officer for the Park Authority, noted that active recreation uses don’t have to be incompatible with preserving natural spaces.
“There are combinations uses of active natural areas and streams,” said Pedersen. “The urban park model tries to do a little bit of both. But the reality is we do need active recreation facilities in this area.”
Any moves towards redeveloping the park as an active space are still in the formative stages. As part of their proffers for The View project, the Clemente Development Company plans to contribute $750,000 to construct an athletic field at Raglan Road Park.
Pedersen said that other priorities for creating active use spaces in the area include trails to connect to nearby neighborhoods and playgrounds.
“This is all very conceptual,” said Bowden. “It all depends on how much land we ultimately acquire as part of that park. But eventually, it’s going to be more than it is today. It will provide for the park network in Tysons.”
Photo via Facebook
A hotel planned near Leesburg Pike has been nixed by the developers in favor of a new athletic field.
The field is proposed for 8229 Boone Blvd, a street parallel to Leesburg Pike and halfway between Chain Bridge Road and Gallows Road. P.S. Business Parks owns the property.
The athletic field is part of fulfilling requirements associated with the developer’s The Mile project northeast of Tysons Galleria.
The application notes that the field will include synthetic turf, field lighting, bleachers and other equipment. Parking for the field will be located in the Tycon II and Tycon III office buildings next door.
According to the application:
The proposed athletic field will serve the growing needs of the Tysons community. It is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, which calls for developers to provide athletic fields in Tysons… The proposed soccer field will satisfy the field expectation associated with the rezoning and development of The Mile, a residential mixed use development in the North Central District.
It’s a move that will likely be popular with local citizens groups, which have called for more athletic fields to be added throughout Tysons.