Over the objection of many neighborhood residents, the Arlington County Board recently directed the county staff to proceed with plans to build a soccer field in Cherrydale West Park.

The use of the 2.88-acre parcel of county-owned land sparked a three-hour debate last month when the board rezoned the area for park use. The land is in the 1600 block of North Quincy Street, adjacent to the right-of-way for Interstate Rte. 65.

At that February meeting many neighbors in the area had asked the board to leave the land in its undeveloped state or as a passive park so it could be used as a nature laboratory, by students at nearby Washington-Lee High School. They were opposed, however, by Arlington soccer players, fans and coaches who told the board of the great need for more playing space.

The board's final decision came on March 4 after it was presented with the Environmental Improvement Commissions report. The report recommended that the board investigate other areas for a more suitable soccer field.The board instead voted 3 to 2 to proceed with plans to build the field.

Members favoring the proposed soccer field were Joseph Wholey, Ellen Borman and Dorothy Grotos. Board Chairman John Purdy and Walter Frankland Jr. opposed the plan.

Funds for the soccer field development were included in this year's budget.