The slogan on the novelty coffee mug says, "Some people dream of success. Others wake up, work hard and make it happen."
The man who drinks from the cup is Christopher D. Reed of Fairfax County, business owner and father of four preteen children who participate in county sports programs. His dream is persuading county leaders to endorse his plan to build a premier youth sports complex at the site of the former D.C. correctional facility at Lorton.
As a coach and parent, Reed said he knows too well the chronic shortage of ballfields and basketball courts in the Washington suburbs. Many Fairfax parents shuttle their children to fields in other counties for practices and games, a reason county officials recently approved a new policy aimed at sharing fields more equitably among sports.
Reed, the president and chief executive of Reed Envelope Co. in Alexandria, is asking the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to endorse his plan for a public-private partnership to build a $25 million complex on land owned by the county. The plan calls for at least 20 fields -- and perhaps as many as 34 -- designed and constructed for soccer, baseball, softball, football, lacrosse and field hockey. He would also build a gym for basketball, volleyball and other indoor sports.
The facility would be located at Laurel Hill, now the name of the 2,440-acre site of the former prison. Earlier this year, Fairfax County purchased the land from the federal government for $4.23 million to turn into a vast residential, cultural and recreational area.
Reed's is one of several plans that seek to expedite the financing and construction of sports facilities at Laurel Hill. But Reed is moving quickly to try to gain support from supervisors and residents. He said he has applied to the state to register a nonprofit group, the Fairfax Youth Sports Foundation, to raise funds for design, construction and maintenance of the facility. And he said he hopes to select a board of directors for the foundation by spring; former Fairfax County police chief M. Douglas Scott has already joined.
Neal F. McBride of Springfield, a member of a county task force created to help plan the redevelopment of the Lorton site, called Reed's plan "a very exciting proposal," partly because it includes several sports. A proposal by the Virginia Youth Soccer Association would provide soccer fields; McBride said he has encouraged the group to consider fields for other sports as well.
"We've been very much anxious for joint ventures," McBride said.
If the county were financing the sports facilities on its own, officials said, it could be 10 years before construction would begin. Under Reed's plan, much of the money would be raised from private sources.
"The kids need more fields," Reed said. "This would probably be the fastest, most economical way to get as many kids playing on as many different kinds of fields as possible."
Supervisor Elaine N. McConnell (R-Springfield) said the county should consider proposals such as Reed's because the budget is tight. "The fact is that we don't have the money" to build such a complex, McConnell said. Of Reed, she said, "He is very sincere, and he has the interest of the community at heart."
The land Reed wants to develop is owned by the Fairfax County Park Authority and has been designated by the county for athletic fields. Under his proposal, Reed said, the county could lease-purchase the facility from the foundation and eventually take possession and control of it.
Users would be required to pay a small fee to offset maintenance and administrative costs under Reed's plan.
Though some officials applauded Reed's idea, they were also cautious. Supervisor Gerald W. Hyland (D-Mount Vernon) said that although he was open-minded about getting more fields built quickly, "we have to be careful when we talk about mega-complexes" because of possible environmental and traffic concerns.
Hyland also pointed out that Reed would have competition from several groups.
Reed said he is a neophyte at leading such an ambitious endeavor. Beyond youth sports activities and some time as president of his children's parent-teacher organization, Reed is relatively inexperienced at organization and fundraising on the scale of a regional sports complex. But he is steadfast about pushing the Laurel Hill site to ease the county's shortage of playing fields.
"The most beneficial proposal . . . will be a multi-use, multi-field and multi-sport facility that will serve the needs of all the children," he said.