Artificial turf is coming to Mason District Park! Last Friday, the Fairfax County Park Authority sponsored a groundbreaking for the revamped field, and construction started Monday. The new synthetic surface will be installed on Field 3, the large soccer field near the park entrance.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerry Connolly and I joined Park Authority members Hal Strickland and Frank Vajda, and members of the athletic community, including Annandale Boys and Girls representative Kip Germain, in turning the first shovels of dirt. The new field is expected to be playable in a few months.
Fairfax County is blessed with more than 400 great parks. Currently, 9.3 percent of the land mass, or 23,677 acres, of Fairfax County is in parkland or open space. Synthetic fields can replace existing grass fields and provide added capacity. Synthetic fields are playable year-round; they do not need reseeding; and weather conditions do not affect them like grass fields. Countywide, the installation of 10 synthetic turf fields is the equivalent of building 16 natural surface fields, and increases capacity dramatically. An interim park bond of $25 million will be on the ballot this fall, and includes funding for additional artificial turf fields. Support for the bond referendum is important as the community works to address the shortage of athletic fields across the county.
A constituent recently complained that an open area across from his home was no longer being mowed by the Park Authority. The block-long strip lies along a stream and is mostly shrubbery and wild flowers, but a small portion was mowed in previous seasons. Last year, in accordance with the Board of Supervisors’ 20-year Environmental Vision and the Park Authority’s stewardship plan, many areas along stream valleys were designated to remain natural. Vegetative filters and buffers slow down and remove pollutants from storm runoff, reducing or preventing pollution into our local streams, rivers and, eventually, the Chesapeake Bay. Vegetation also provides food and cover for birds and small animals. That’s why you may see previously “manicured” and mowed parkland returning to grasses, shrubs, and woodlands. It’s better for our environment, and for future generations.
On these very hot days, why not take a picnic to Mason District Park and enjoy the free evening concerts, Spotlight by Starlight, at the Newton Edwards Amphitheatre? The amphitheatre is nestled in the woods; there’s plenty of seating and places for blankets to stretch out; and each concert-goer can have a free hand fan to help the breezes. Friday’s performance will feature Raks Sharqi Dance of the East (Middle Eastern Dance and Music). On stage Sunday will be the Annandale Symphony Orchestra. Both shows begin at 7:30 p.m. The Saturday morning children’s performance at 10 a.m. features the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet. Mason District Park is located at 6621 Columbia Pike in Annandale. After entering the park, turn right and go up the hill to the upper parking lot and access to the amphitheatre.