The Manassas City Council moved a step closer Monday to the construction of a community park when it asked city staff members to prepare a master plan for the development of a 23.6-acre site near the city line with Manassas Park.

City Manager C.M. Moyer Jr. said the proposed park would feature an outdoor swimming pool, which citizens said in a 1980 recreation survey was the facility they desired most. It would also would include tennis courts, a picnic area and possibly a softball field, he said.

The park would be located at the north end of Stonewall Road, where the city already owns 23.6 wooded acres. Another five or six acres may be acquired from private developers, Moyer said.

The master plan for the property should be completed in six weeks, Moyer said. If the council decides to go ahead with the project and if the city receives partial state funding, construction could start this spring, he said.

Moyer said the council members' unanimous request for a master plan for the site indicates their preference for a park at this location rather than at the 27-acre Diggs Road site favored by the city's Recreation and Parks Commission. Some council members opposed the Diggs Road location on the city's western edge because they thought the land was too valuable to use as a park and because it has limited access, Moyer said.

In other business, the council appropriated $118,000 to purchase 34,000 square feet on Center Street from the Southern Railway System. The land will be used for parking, and an empty warehouse on the property may be converted into a farmers market, Moyer said.