Dean Park Concept Plan Would Add Playgrounds to Manassas | Securities



Manassas City employees have unveiled potential plans for the second phase of renovations at Jennie Dean Park, highlighting the need for rectangular playing fields as well as baseball diamonds.

The release of the concept plan comes as city council deliberates whether to allow Micron Technology Inc. to purchase the current site of the EG Smith Baseball Complex, which is home to the Grand Manassas Baseball League.

Matt Arcieri, the city’s director of community development, presented a possible disposition of the park’s roughly 22 unoccupied acres during a city council working session at Haydon Elementary School on Monday evening. The concept would convert the current turf pitch into a synthetic rectangular pitch with two overlays of youth diamond pitches, add an adult diamond pitch with a rectangular pitch in the outfield, renovate the two existing diamond pitches and relocate the courts. tennis and pickleball to make way for another youth diamond field.

Arcieri said Dean’s current diamond fields, while in need of updating, are fully set aside for use by other baseball and softball teams.

The concept plan would also include the opening of two existing diamond fields at Metz Middle School for public use and the renovation of three diamond fields at Byrd Park and Round Elementary School for public use, although all plans have been presented as hypothetical at this point.

According to a parks, recreation and cultural needs assessment conducted by the city in 2016 and the Global Plan 2040, Manassas currently has a deficit of 10 rectangular fields and a surplus of one diamond field, but that would change if the council allows. Micron to purchase the EG Smith Complex and the company decide to use the land for expansion. Arcieri said that according to the standards of park space, facilities and population, the city is in deficit of park space in general.

The 22 acres of Jennie Dean Park were purchased by the city in 1996, making the park the largest in Manassas with over 70 acres. Following a master planning process for the entire park, plans for the additional acreage began in 2019. The first phase, the only part of the plan funded, will level part of the site for future uses on the site. terrain, will add two rectangular fields of grass with lighting and expand the skatepark. Arcieri said he expects work to begin next year.

“You have all of these competing community demands, and this is your biggest unplanned park site,” Arcieri said.

Part of the problem in finalizing any plan for the second phase of the project is that at least part of the 22 acres will eventually become the site of the new Jennie Dean school. City manager Pat Pate said the school division is doing a needs assessment of the school, which will give some insight into how much space it will take. Eventually, the site of the current school building may become available for uses in the park, but this is only after the new building opens and the old one is demolished. The division plans to begin construction of the school in 2026.

Council member Mark Wolfe, who this week was due to chair a land use committee meeting at which the future of the league and EG Smith will be discussed, said it was obvious the Phase two plan was trying to incorporate everything it could to meet the needs of the playgrounds. Open space, he said, should also be included.

“We’re trying to fit 10 pounds into a five-pound bag,” Wolfe said of the “purely hypothetical” concept plan.

GMBL Chairman Colby Poteat said there was a lot to like about the plan, but the city should do more to restore or build new rectangular fields for public use at various school sites, where the children of the neighborhood can be reached on foot. New rectangular pitches with lighting at Dean Park, he said, would immediately be reserved by the county football leagues.

If Micron ultimately buys the EG Smith site, he said, the league would need a field complex in or near the city in Prince William County. The only place that can happen within the city limits is Dean Park. The current proposed deal with Micron, which the board plans to vote on soon, would give the company the right to purchase the site at any time over the next three years for more than $ 14 million. If Micron decides to do so, the city could still use the site for baseball fields for another two years after the final purchase.

“I am happy to see that we are still in the study,” said Poteat. “I think there could still be changes. … The hard part for us is, yes these are rectangular fields and baseballs, but how do we allow those things to that.

Several parents and GMBL players spoke at a town hall after the work session, begging the council not to sell the EG Smith site or find a solution for GMBL.

But Father Ramón Dominguez, program director of the Don Bosco Youth Center in Manassas, also told the council that the children he works with are in desperate need of open pitches to play football, whether in Dean Park or elsewhere.

“They’re very flexible in a lot of ways, but they want football and as has been mentioned there really aren’t that many places to play,” Dominguez said. “They want… maybe a half-field or something that isn’t a full regulatory field, because then they can come from their neighborhood, and [leagues] are not going to reserve a half court. … This is one of the things that really excites my kids.



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