The Alexandria City Council this week agreed to study a plan to include a combined professional baseball and soccer field in a proposed regional park in Cameron Valley, on the southern edge of the city.
Included in the proposed Cameron Valley Regional Park is a velodrome, a circular structure with inclined wooden floors for high-speed bicycle racing. However, council member Donald C. Casey said there was "virtually no interest" in bicycle racing in this area while there was considerable interest in both baseball and soccer.
Alexandria is the home of the minor league baseball team, the Alexandria Dukes, that recently signed a three year affliation with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team's home field now is at Cora Kelley Elementary School in the Lynhaven-Del Ray area. The team's use of the field has been a recurring subject for dispute for several years. Team officials have long and unsuccessfully tried to interest the city in building a permanent stadium for the Dukes.
Under a proposal by council member Carlyle C. Ring Jr., the city staff will study such things as how many person would attend baseball and soccer games at the stadium, how much it would cost to build and maintain the stadium and how the construction would be financed. "I have a real serious question about the stadium if its exclusive use is for baseball," Ring said. "The city shouldn't be in the business of subsidizing private business."
In the past, city officials have remarked with pride that soccer is the most popular sport in the city and in the region, involving every level of school-aged children and adults.
No deadline was given to the staff for its report, but Casey urged them to complete the study as quickly as possible.
The proposed regional park also would include other Northern Virginia jurisdictions, such as bordering Fairfax County.
In other matters, the council heard a report from city staff regarding a single-family home in Seminary Road area which apparently is being used illegally as three-unit apartment house.
Vice Mayor Robert L. Calhoun chided the city staff for apparent inadvertent slip-ups that allowed the owner to convert the home in violation of city zoning regulations. "The public is entitled to a full explanation," Calhoun said.
City Manager Douglas Harman defended his staff by saying, "The city depends on the honesty of people living there."
Harman admitted, however, that "technical errors" by the city staff had created the situation.
The city currently is suing the owner in an effort to force him to return the house its former shape and to stop using the house as a three-unit apartment building.
Deputy City Attorney Matson Jacks told the council that the building's owner, Yassa Y. Yassa, had been notified by certified letter of the zoning violations and of the city's intent to move against him in court to force him to correct them. "The problem is finding him," Jacks said. Certified letters have been sent to Yassa's addresses in the District, in rural Virginia and in Alexandria, Jacks said.
The house is a 4500 Seminary Road In its orginal form it had a brick facade, but now includes a white, two story addition with an outside entrance. Electrical wires are strung from various windows to the street in haphazard fashion. The property is enclosed by a large, wooden barricade-style fence. Inside, the yard itself is broken up into individually fenced areas.
None of the residents nor Yassa could be reached for comment.