Lighting of the Girls Softball Field at JEB Stuart Park and establishment of a Practice Field sign now

We, the undersigned residents of Mason District in Fairfax County, do hereby submit this petition in conjunction with the Draft Master Plan Amendment for the JEB Stuart Park.

Lighting of the Girls Softball Field: We strongly support the installation of lights for the girls softball field at JEB Stuart Park. This is the home field for the JEB Stuart High School Girls Softball Teams (Varsity and Junior Varsity). All high school boys baseball fields in Fairfax County are lit to allow for games to be played at night. The schedule of a days activities necessitates this. It also allows working parents to support their children in the pursuit of athletics and the many benefits that are associated with such endeavors. The JEB Stuart HS girls softball field is the only such unlit high school field in Fairfax County. This constitutes a violation of Title IX and is discriminatory against our girls teams. The basis of Title IX is to ensure that girls have equal opportunity and that the facilities provided for the girls be proportionally equitable to those provided to the boys. We ask that the field be lit.

We understand that the latest lighting technology has improved measurably, reduces spill and glare and directs the light onto the field and that a recent demonstration of this new lighting technology at Nottoway Park was convincing in this regard. We understand the Park Authority has adopted strict lighting standards using this technology that will significantly protect the interests of neighbors around the Park. We understand that the Park Authority can light this field with only four poles and will work with neighbors on the location of these poles. We understand that FCPS has appropriated the funding for this project; the monies are available in the FCPS fund dedicated to compliance with Title IX. Finally we understand that grants are available to help plant trees such as Leyland Cypress which can further screen lighting and that the irrigation system for the softball field could be used to help water those trees.

A Practice Field: JEB Stuart High School has the smallest footprint of any high school in Fairfax County. As a result it has no practice fields. In order to protect the grass football field for games, some years the teams dont set foot on it until the first game of the season; our student athletes are being bused to various elementary schools in Mason District where they practice on ungraded fields that are full of rocks, have no lines, are not standard sized, etc. As a result of all this our students spend almost as much time being bused to and from elementary fields as they do practicing. This is also a waste of money as taxpayers have to pay for the buses and the drivers.

The area in Stuart Park between the softball field and the tennis courts would be a suitable and convenient location for a great practice field for various teams to use during afternoon practices. While it might not be large enough to be constituted as a regulation sized field, it would allow for excellent practices for various teams. We therefore ask the Park Authority to further amend the Master Plan and to regrade this field, enlarge it slightly and plant sod grass there and allow Stuart HS sport teams to practice on it. Such a field would also be used by the local surrounding neighborhoods for soccer and other activities.

Out of respect for the immediate neighbors, we ask that this new practice field and the existing tennis courts remain unlit as is now the case. Out of further respect for the neighbors, we ask that the Fairfax County Public Schools, the Park Authority or other entities that have funds available endeavor to shield the older generation of lights that are presently at the Stuart High School baseball and football fields or replace them with lighting using the newest technology.

Thank you.

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Kaye ObrienBy:
FoodIn:
Petition target:
Mr. William G. Bouie, Honorable Penny Gross, Honorable Kaye Kory

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