Members of the county Board of Supervisors and Leesburg Town Council held a joint meeting Wednesday to talk Metro, money, roads—and a soccer stadium.
The county government is drawing up a deal to bring the a 5,000-seat soccer stadium, four more soccer fields, and the D.C. United headquarters to Philip A. Bolen Memorial Park just south of Leesburg, across Sycolin Road from Leesburg Executive Airport. That idea has drawn protest from people living in the nearby Kincaid Forest neighborhood, which is divided by Kincaid Boulevard.
The county completed construction on Kincaid Boulevard years ago, but the Leesburg Town Council has resisted opening it to through traffic until construction on missing links of Crosstrail Boulevard are completed. Once open, Kincaid Boulevard will connect Bolen Park to Battlefield Parkway via Crosstrail Boulevard. Once complete, Crosstrail Boulevard will connect Bolen Park directly to Rt. 7 at Village at Leesburg.
Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk told county supervisors the impact on Kincaid Forest would be “dramatic.” The only other access to Bolen Park is via Sycolin Road.
“Sycolin Road cannot handle that traffic. It can’t handle the traffic now,” Burk said. “… We’re going to have to have a commitment from the county, if you’re going to bring that stadium, there’s a responsibility to make sure that those roads are going to carry that traffic.”
Currently, the final section of Crosstrail Boulevard is scheduled for construction funding beginning in fiscal year 2020, which begins July 2019. But if the D.C. United deal goes through, the team will be required to start playing in the new stadium in early spring 2019.
County Administrator Tim Hemstreet said he expects the county board will discuss whether to move that project up a year.
Some county supervisors have argued that the stadium will have no greater impact on the roads in the area than a busy day at Bolen Park, which already has 17 fields for various sports.
“It’s very busy right now, and I think frankly that this use and this development of them coming is a good thing, not just for the county and the town but for the whole area,” said Supervisor Geary M. Higgins (R-Catoctin).
Taxes and Sharing the Work
County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) also raised the idea of hiring a new position in in the economic development office, with responsibilities and funding split between the county and its largest town. That idea was previously voted down by the Board of Supervisors, but Randall said that may have been because of confusion over the proposal. She said it “does not behoove the county to have any of our towns not do well.”
“I would like for us to have more meetings like this, because we want every part of the county to do well economically,” Randall said. “If it means that some of the magic just falls off [Loudoun Department Economic Development Executive Director] Buddy Rizer as he walks around can be applied to somebody else, I think that would be very helpful.”
“I have to tell you I’m the chair of a committee of towns in Northern Virginia, and one of the things we always laugh about when we get together is, we always talk about if we were county representatives, we would love the towns, because the towns are a gold mines for you,” Burk said. She said although town residents pay county taxes, they don’t necessarily get full county services in areas where the town provides duplicative services, a topic Leesburg councils have brought up before.
“A lot of those services that we don’t pay for are self-imposed, so you’ve done that to yourself, and that’s great,” Higgins said. “And we had a similar discussion when I was on the School Board, but I think that relationship needs to be one of mutual admiration.”
The meeting also was attended by Supervisors Suzanne M. Volpe (R-Algonkian) and Kristen C. Umstattd (D-Leesburg); and Leesburg Town Council members Marty Martinez, Suzanne Fox, and Ron Campbell.