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Board approves Hounds stadium

Minor league baseball scored a big win July 21, gaining the approval of the county's Board of Supervisors to build a 5,500-seat stadium on the Kincora property near the intersection of routes 28 and 7.

Supervisors voted 6-2-1 to allow a stadium at this location, with Supervisors Jim Burton (I-Blue Ridge) and Andrea McGimsey (D-Potomac) against and Stevens Miller (D-Dulles) abstaining from the vote.

“Some of the best memories I have growing up are traveling to Baltimore with my father to see a game,” said Broad Run High School baseball coach Patrick Cassidy. He and a dozen other residents spoke at a public hearing July 20 in support of the stadium. “I'd love to have that opportunity here in Loudoun with my kids.”

Sterling resident George Hidy was also for the stadium plans.

“If you don't have a baseball stadium, you can have two office buildings,” he said, adding wryly, “In 1995, we had an opportunity to have a racetrack. Instead we got MCI. That worked out really well.

“This is an opportunity. Don't mess with it. And if you oppose it, don't show up on opening day."

The majority of the Board of Supervisors agreed with these residents.

“Welcome minor league baseball,” said Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling). “I hope to play ball. I hope to see ball being played."

The Kincora developer is still seeking approval for the proposed Kincora Village, which includes 901,211 square feet of offices and 74,000 square feet of commercial space for restaurants, personal services and banks. These elements will help support funding for the ballpark, Kincora representatives said. Final approval of the stadium is contingent on approval of the Village of Kincora.

“From here, we have a lot of work to do to make what was approved a reality,” said Kincora developer Michael Scott of Great Falls.

Approval of the stadium was almost postponed after several supervisors complained that county residents had not been given a proper chance to comment on the project.

“The application before us is no longer the application that was before us at the public hearing,” Burton said. Developers had made as many as 50 commitments to the county. Many of these commitments were made to offset the environmental concerns voiced by supervisors and residents.

Additionally, commitments were made on the timing of games to prevent game traffic mingling with rush hour traffic, and limiting fireworks from being displayed on weeknights, excluding July 4.

“It's been a moving target,” McGimsey said. She said the limitation of fireworks had not gone far enough.

“I can just hear the dogs barking,” she said. “Folks, there are people with children that live around here ... This is a decision that will affect us for the next 50 years.”

Supervisor Lori Waters (R-Broad Run) disagreed, saying, “It's about a choice of what development will go there, not whether development will go there.”

The stadium developers said they hoped to have the ballpark finished in time to have an Atlantic League baseball team playing there during the 2011 season.

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