Play to Win Pulls Out Fireman’s Field Partnership

After just six months of partnering with Shaun Alexander Enterprises to manage day-to-day operations in the Town of Purcellville’s Fireman’s Field complex, Play to Win is bowing out.

Town Manager David Mekarski said that the regional sports management company recently notified Shaun Alexander Enterprises, which is contracted with the town to manage the 15.89-acre complex and is led by the former Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins running back, that it would terminate its contract with the firm.

Mekarski said that Alexander’s firm has already found a new company to replace Play to Win and that the town has spent hours working alongside its management staff. “Our team was very impressed with the new team,” he said.

Mekarski also said that Play two Win has been “working very cooperatively” with the town, Alexander’s firm and the new company on the transition process and has been helping to organize the Purcellville Wine and Food Festival, which will be held in the complex next Saturday, July 21.

“All is well,” Mekarski said.

Play to Win Founder Chris Bourassa said his team wouldcontinue preparing for and would be staffing the festival.

In November, the town awarded Alexander’s firm a five-year contract for the operation and maintenance of the Fireman’s Field complex. The firm is required to pay the town $120,000 in 2018, with annual payments going up by $10,000 each year until 2022.

The firm has been in partnership with Play to Win since it moved into the complex on Jan. 1. Bourassa said in November that his company would manage the day-to-day operations of the complex, while Alexander’s team would handle the finances and develop new programming. Previously, the town contracted with the Purcellville Teen Center to operate the Bush Tabernacle/Skating Rink and the county’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services managed the Fireman’s Field complex.

The management transfer—approved by the Town Council as part of an effort to generate more revenue from the property—hasn’t exactly been the smoothest of sailing.

In approving the deal, the council terminated its contract with the Purcellville Teen Center to nearly three years early, which upset many residents. Around the same time, residents also began to question whether the new management would be able to keep user fees, specifically for the Upper Loudoun Youth Football League, from increasing.

Although Play to Win announced in December that it was expected to keep the league’s fees at the same cost as in previous seasons, it announced in April that rental fees would be $70 per hour, at an estimated cost of $12,390 for the 2018 season. This is compared to the $9,000 that the league paid the county to use the field in 2017. The company also requested that the league provide the field paint and sod needed to convert the field from baseball to football.

The league soon after announced that it would leave the complex.

Since May, representatives of the town and Alexander’s firm have been working with the county to find a way of bringing the parks department back on board to resume maintenance of the fields and reduce user fee rates.

County Supervisor Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) said last month that “town and county staff are in the process of meeting in hopes of identifying an agreement that will work for both parties.”

pszabo@loudounnow.com

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