By Bill May, Vice President, Miller & Smith/One Loudoun
Recently, residents in neighborhoods surrounding One Loudoun have received notices of the Feb. 19 Planning Commission hearing regarding the proposed ballpark in our community.
One Loudoun and the Loudoun Hounds welcome an open debate as part of the thorough process underway to review the ballpark application. But we believe that this discussion should be founded on facts, not misinformation and speculation. That’s why we want to take a moment to lay out critical information every Loudouner should know about the ballpark, its benefits and our commitment to being good neighbors.
We are proud to bring a classically designed but state-of-the-art ballpark to the entire Loudoun community. And we’re even prouder of the wide range of quality-of-life benefits it will offer.
Rather than hours-long round-trips to attend pro sports, the ballpark will provide convenient local access to professional independent league baseball and second-division soccer teams – with development connections to local youth soccer programs – not to mention youth, high-school, college and military sporting events. The general admission capacity of the ballpark will be 5,500, and the leagues in which the teams will play will be to an average attendance of around 3,400.
The state-of-the-art facility will host fairs, festivals, musical and cultural events and charity fundraisers, not to mention recreational and other special activities for nearby seniors. The ballpark will offer a potential new venue for high-school graduations – saving families the long trek to the Patriot Center. Of course, the ballpark will provide hundreds of good full- and part-time jobs including convenient part-time employment for seniors.
And despite recent speculation to the contrary, all of these benefits will be achieved with 100 percent private financing. No taxpayer funding or special tax assessment of any kind will be required for the ballpark’s construction, operation, traffic management or security.
Along with the ballpark’s many benefits, One Loudoun and the Hounds are committed to being good neighbors. Substituting the ballpark for 320,000 feet of previously approved office space will actually improve traffic over approved plans. Not only will there be no increase in volume, 80 percent of the traffic associated with the ballpark will be shifted to non-peak hours.
Moreover, the ballpark will help finance $75 million of infrastructure improvements, including the Ashburn Village Boulevard interchange – on which One Loudoun is working hard with the county to reach the goal of completion during 2014. We’re also instituting a traffic management plan being designed to minimize impact on – and ensure emergency access to – nearby communities.
Nor will the ballpark be right on top of neighboring communities. It will be located on the far side of One Loudoun, further from existing communities than FedEx Field, Nationals Park or the homes of the Baysox and the Frederick Keys are from close-by residential neighborhoods. And it’s right-sized for the neighborhood: eight facilities its size would fit into Nationals Park.
In addition to the distance, cutting-edge directional lighting and sound will minimize the ballpark’s impact on surrounding communities, as will buffers in the form of a 100-acre park and surrounding buildings.
Music events won’t be earsplitting hard rock, but in the nature of classical, country, folk and classic pop – think Loudoun Music Fest, not Woodstock.
We’re also committed to making things safe, by creating the family-friendly atmosphere for guests and surrounding communities generally associated with minor-league sports. We’re developing an extensive security and crowd-control plan and team, working hand-in-hand with the Loudoun County Sheriff – which is building a new substation in One Loudoun.
One Loudoun and the Hounds believe that the more people know about the ballpark, the more they will recognize that it will be a tremendous plus for the community for years to come. We hope that putting the facts out there for everyone to see will help in that process.