Field Allocation Plan

Aims for Fair Play

Regarding the story, "In Search of a New Game Plan for Fields," Fairfax Extra, Dec. 5:

Since the 1970s Fairfax County has seen more involvement by youths and adults in county sports leagues. As the number of participants has increased to over 300,000 people, so has the use and need for fields. The demand for fields is high, but the supply does not meet the demand.

Over the past year, the county Department of Community Recreation and Services has worked with outside consultants, the Park Authority, county leagues, sports participants, residents and the Fairfax County Athletic Council in developing a field allocation policy that would fairly meet the needs of the population.

Hundreds of hours were spent researching field data, reviewing league uses and needs, analyzing results from various focus group studies, identifying individual sports needs and finally developing a final policy for the Board of Supervisors to review and approve [on Dec. 9].

Despite popular belief, there are sports other than soccer jockeying for fields. Lacrosse is a fast-growing spring sport. The "traditional" sports such as girls softball, baseball and football require additional field space due to the ever-increasing amount of users. Also, it should be noted that rectangular fields and diamond fields must vary in size to meet the needs of specific sports. With all these considerations in mind, where do we draw the line when we know we can't address all user needs?

The new athletic field allocation policy fairly analyzes the current field needs of this county. The policy has merit and will work. In The Post article, Supervisor Stuart Mendelsohn (R-Dranesville) said we were telling ". . .thousands of people, 'Sorry, we don't have space for you to play.' " On the contrary, we are telling people they can play while giving them fields during a sport's primary season. If this is not done, we would have chaos.

Despite this new policy, the real issue still remains -- more fields for county users. A partial answer could lie in the Laurel Hill property, the former Lorton Correctional Complex. This land, which now belongs to the county, is mostly planned for park use. The parcel is big enough to support well over 25 fields. Maybe it is time for some innovative financing, an approach "out of the box" with a public-private partnership, to help finance such development. That approach is being taken for the South County Secondary School located on Laurel Hill, so why not do the same for the development of fields?

Due to recent articles and meetings I have had with interested parties on this subject, I now believe there may be an organization, if not several, willing to bring money to the negotiating table. By participating in such an arrangement, field development would not only be financed through the partnership but would be accelerated for eventual use.

Just a thought for Supervisor Mendelsohn, the Park Authority, sport users, leagues and other interested parties.

Elizabeth Torpey Bradsher

At-Large Member,

Fairfax County Athletic Council

Chairman,

South County Education

Committee

Fairfax Station

Children Don't Need

Protection From Books

I applaud Jeanine Martin of Vienna ["Book Challenges: Thoughtful Advocacy or Censorship?" Voices of Fairfax, Dec. 5] for her dedication to protecting our children. I must disagree, however, with her role as it pertains to books in county schools.

Unlike the threat posed by bullies, flooded bathrooms or unsafe playground equipment, my children's lives are not endangered by reading a book. I do not appreciate her taking on that role on behalf of children such as mine, whose parents are actively involved in our children's educations and school.

She (and others challenging books) will never know what reading material is appropriate for any children but their own. Frankly, I can't think of a better place than in school for my children to begin learning about the horrors of rape or murder, the harm caused by gang involvement or the tragedies associated with unprotected or promiscuous sex. Teachers can lead discussion of these highly charged issues in ways that parents cannot. Armed with knowledge, young people can then make informed choices and not be seduced by illusions.

Thank you, Ms. Martin, for safeguarding our children. Just remember that limiting their knowledge is not protection, it's censorship. Prohibiting access to books is not synonymous with "speaking up."

Michele Menapace

Alexandria

Don't Attack Police

For Nabbing Speeders

In rebuttal to Mike McGuire of the National Motorists Association, who complained about the Fairfax County Police speed enforcement driven by revenue, I think his energy is misdirected. ["Speed Enforcement Driven by Revenue," Voices of Fairfax, Dec. 12.] If you don't speed and obey traffic laws, you will never get a ticket and will not be concerned with stealth police vehicles. I suggest aggressive drivers who want higher speed limits put their efforts in justifying speed limit changes on roads through the proper state channels rather than attack police officers for doing their job.

Lou Goddard

Reston