Nine months after the Purcellville Town Council ended its three-decade-long deal with the county’s parks department to manage the Fireman’s Field sports complex, the partnership has been revived.
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday night approved a lease agreement with the town for its Parks, Recreation & Community Services Department to resume maintenance and operations of Fireman’s Field until April 2019. After that the county and town will have the option to extend the contract through June. According to a staff report, the county will use already budgeted staff and funding from its sports and outdoor maintenance division to take on the responsibilities.
The purpose of the optional, two-month contract extension is to ensure that groups that have reserved dates to use the field in spring will be accommodated. Under the contract, the county will honor pre-scheduled events and has the exclusive right to manage the field and set user fees.
“My hope is that the town will request a longer term agreement with the county in order to ensure consistency, proper maintenance and operations, and reduced costs for our youth leagues,” wrote Supervisor Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) in a Facebook post today. “Many thanks to the Board for supporting this effort, and to the mayor and Purcellville Town Council for working with my office to make this happen.”
Buffington also refuted as baseless rumors that the town sought an alternative to working with the county because of its “inability to manage the field.”
The county’s return to Fireman’s Field comes nine months after it discontinued management of the field after 33 years of doing so. Its departure came as a response to the town’s January 2015 proposal that the county pay rent to maintain the field, which the county did not agree to.
In early 2017, the town told the county that it would be looking for a different partner to take over management of the entire 15.89-acre complex. In November last year, the town announced a partnership with Shaun Alexander Enterprises and Play to Win that took effect on Jan. 1 this year.
This summer, after Play to Win dropped out of its contract with Alexander to manage day-to-day operations in the Bush Tabernacle and months of backlash from residents angered by increased user fees, Alexander informed the town that he would terminate his contract effective Sept. 1. After learning the town might pursue breach of contract litigation, Alexander sought to resume management of the complex.
At its Sept. 25 meeting, the Purcellville Town Council voted to eliminate the athletic field from Alexander’s contract and to reduce his montly rent payments from $10,000 to $4,000.