Saturday, May 7, 2011

Its Time for a New Approach

Ok, so here is the situation. We are battling a losing fight to try to get the County and Schools to even consider an effective shared use of the facility that would accommodate youth sports. All we hear is open access and no one on either side even willing to discuss or consider alternatives. The Arlington Way? I am sorry to say.

Here is another idea. Why not ask the Schools to fulfill their promise when the new Washington-Lee High School was built to build a Softball field on the space allocated.  Check the photo below.

 Why wasn’t it built? We hear a number of stories, from they ran out of money and therefore cut it, to Geez, that’s a good point.

The space, larger than that of the Adult Softball field, could easily be configured to provide High School Softball and youth softball/baseball. In fact, you might be able to even lay turf and have removeable fences that could accommodate other activities. 

What’s it used for now? Nothing. There was a softball backstop there until this Winter’s storms took it down. Schools put up temporary fence to keep everyone out, but right now the space is absent a purpose.  We strongly recommend that the Schools consider fulfilling their promise to dedicate this area for High School Softball and youth sports.
What do you think?  If you like it, Let the Arlington School Board who own the property know your thoughts.
You can contact the School Board a number of ways: e-mail -; fax - (703) 228-7640; postal mail - Arlington Education Center, 1426 N. Quincy Street, Arlington, VA 22207; phone: (703) 228-6015.

Monday, April 18, 2011

How Not To Engage

Well, its been over a month that this blog has been up. And we have made numerous attempts to engage the County in a discussion with regard to the issues surrounding Quincy Park with very little progress. Inquiries are met with official emails that cite policy and procedures.  Little discussion takes place as no one in either the County or Schools will assume ownership for addressing the issues and begin a process of civic engagement. 

Our goal has been to engage in a discussion with the County's that would address the security and sustainment issues that abound in the Park , but at this point to little avail. We will keep trying to find a way to engage in a discussion. Does anyone have a suggestion?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

County Makes Decision

The Department of Parks and Recreation has ruled the all facilities in the parks  must be kept open to all including youth batting cages and fields.

What will be the impact of this decision.  We guess that means that the new homeless shelters will be at Washington-Lee and Yorktown High School batting cages. Per direction Parks, locks securing the Greenbrier and Quincy batting cages will be immediately removed to permit full public access.

The impact of this decision will be dramatic. The youth softball program, Arlington Girls Softball Association will be forced to remove valuable equipment from Greenbrier and Quincy. The impact will be significant to this program. Yorktown and Washington-Lee High School will have to disrupt their spring softball programs to find shelter for their equipment.

You have to wonder does anyone ever want to discuss before issuing edicts!  These programs will recover, but no thanks to the bureaucracy.

The good news is that the Parks Department serves the Community. This is a policy decision that probably needs to be discussed further.  If the Community disagrees with this decision or conversely agrees with it, make your thoughts known.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Here's One Idea for Quincy Park that has Merit

This plan recently submitted pictured below could result in the redefinition of the park as youth sports facility.  By simply shortening the fence distances on the softball field to girls fastpitch and youth baseball dimensions of 200 foot fences, space could be created for public access or even two youth sized soccer fields.

Problems Continue at Quincy Park

Despite efforts to alert the County and Schools to safety and security issues at the ball fields. Issues continue. Today, March 25, 2011 as the W-L Varsity Softball Team prepared to ride a bus to the game at Mount Vernon High School and the Junior Varsity prepared for a  home game against Mount Vernon, we got this snapshot of the increased number of vagrants who are populating the Park.  We hope it won't take an incident before action is taken.

Monday, March 21, 2011

So What is the Problem with Quincy Park, It looks Good to me?

Arlington Public School ran out of money when rebuilding Washington-Lee High School. Something had to be sacrificed. The answer:  no new girls’ softball field, which was supposed to be built adjacent to the new football stadium. That open space is now being used as the lacrosse practice field. 

And what’s become of the softball team? Well, they were told they must continue to share an old softball field behind the Central Library at Quincy Park.  And share they have - not only with adult and co-ed softball teams, but with vagrants who use the dugouts for shelter and electricity, drug users who frequent the port a john and leave used needles in the batting cage, dog walkers who often fail to pick up their pets’ excrement, and anyone who wishes to do anything on the field.  Concerns about security, emergency preparedness, and public health at a site remote from the high school?  Don’t worry about that.  It’s fine for the girls to cart their equipment from the W-L High School down Quincy Street, across busy Washington Boulevard, and to a distant field behind the Central Library. Out of sight, out of mind.

By far the worst high school softball field in Northern Virginia, the aging field at Quincy Park never was designed for youth softball, and it shows its years. Rusted-encased backstop. Rotting dugout boxes.  Rock-hard infield lacking any sort of drainage and built on years of backfill when the site was used as a dump. Rutted outfield that is a hazard to any athlete.  No press box or PA system or flagpole in center field for the National Anthem. Yet a “home” of sorts to W-L Girls Softball.

The girls have done their part.  In the last for two years, they raised nearly $10,000 to build new batting new cages. This spring they painted the rusted backstop.  They forego practices routinely to remove standing water and sweep mud from the infield after it rains.

OK, so what’s the problem? Well, a lot of it has to do with the fact that nobody “owns” softball at Quincy Park.  The County maintains the field but has invested little in its improvement and has little stake in supporting a high school softball program.

  The Schools want good relations with the County, don’t really seem engaged in issues associated with using a public park for high school sports, and show few signs they are interested  in improving the situation.   

So who suffers?  The W-L softball program.  The purpose of this blog is to raise awareness about this problem and to facilitate a dialogue on ways to improve the situation.  It’s truly a matter of equal treatment and fairness. If we can afford a new synthetic field and football stadium for the boys at W-L, why can’t we give girls’ softball a good home?    Yorktown has a beautiful, secure new baseball-softball complex at Greenbriar Park.  Wakefield will have a new complex in 2012. Bishop O'Connell, a private school, is asking Board approval for a “refreshment” to improve its field. Only Washington-Lee remains the forgotten high school when it come both to baseball and softball.   Let’s change that - no longer out of sight, out of mind.

Why is Quincy Treated Differently!

At other high school stadiums the fields are designated for youth sports requiring a permit to play on them. As evidenced by this photo of Greenbrier Softball complex at Yorktown High School.
Quincy Park, though home Washington-Lee High School Baseball and Softball as well as youth baseball and softball is not affored the same equal provisions.  Instead of field monitors, the dugouts are used by homeless as shelter.
When Arlington County Parks and Recreation who managed the facility were asked to comment, the response was 'they must keep the park open to all!' When will the programs at W-L be afforded the same accomodations as their sibling schools?