National Park Service proposals to develop the upper section of Glover Archbold Park were praised by soccer enthusiasts and opposed by area residents at a public meeting last week.
Park Superintendent James J. Redmond presented four proposed development plans to about three dozen people who packed the Advisory Neighborhood Council 3E headquarters on Chesapeake Street NW. The proposals included:
No change - keeping the entire park in as much of a natural state as possible with six picnic sites, a field for open play and a nature trail.
Cutting six to 10 trees to clear an open space for a 220-by-330-foot soccer field adequate for paractice but not level enough for regulation play.
Clearing 1.6 acres of woods to create a regulation 220-by-330-foot soccer field and a limited amount of space for spectators.
Cutting four trees to build a standard ball field with a 15-car parking area and a total of six picnic sites.
With the exception of Rock Creek Park, the 183-acre Glover Archboid Park is the only natural forested area in the District. Put together primarily with donations from Charles C. Glover and Anne Archbold, the park stretches in a narrow strip from the Georgetown University campus northeast to Van Ness Street NW.
Suggestions from individuals, soccer organizations and a local private school to construct a soccer field in the park led park service officials to prepare the development plans, according to Redmond.
Representatives of several area soccer clubs voiced enthusiastic support for the plan to construct a regulation soccer field.
The D.C. Recreation Department has no fields set aside specifically for soccer, according to department representative, Carver King. There are about a dozen "mixed-use" fields that are available to soccer players after softball season in mid-September and before football season in mid-October.
"Which isn't enough time for a soccer season," noted George Washington University soccer coach George Edelin, who estimated that there are about a hundred men's and women's soccer teams in the Washington area.
"We are way behind in Washington as far as soccer is concerned," Edelin said. "The reason is that we don't have the fields. Kids (who) are playing in fields not good enough to play in get hurt."
Opponents to the proposed soccer field decried the noise, parking problems and destruction of wildlife they said would accompany development.
"We are opposed to this kind of intensive development in our backyard," said Katherine Coram of the McLean Gardens Residents Association. "This park is an unspoiled setting for people and wildlife."
Until Jan. 15, the Park Service will accept written comments and suggestions, addressed to Superintendent, Rock Creek Park, 5000 Glover Rd. NW, D.C. 20015.
The park staff will then evaluate public comments and make a recommendation to the park service regional planning commission. Park planners and administrators will probably decide on what action to take, if any, in the spring, according to Redmond.