RA To Vote on $50K Turf Contribution Thursday

Reston Association weighs funding to help build two synthetic turf sports fields at South Lakes High School.

Reston Association's board of directors will vote Thursday whether to pledge $50,000 to help build artificial turf fields at South Lakes High School.

This is a reduction from the $100,000 the board unanimously approved for this cause earlier this year. However, South Lakes was not chosen last spring for a $175,000 Fairfax County grant to build the field and the issue was shelved.

For nearly a year, South Lakes has been looking to build two turf fields  - one at the stadium, the other on the field area between South Lakes and Langston Hughes Middle School) - at a cost of about $1.4 million.  

Earlier in 2012, the project received commitments from Reston Soccer Association ($250,000), South Lakes' discretionary funds ($30,000) and Reston Community Center ($100,000). The school's athletic boosters group said it will pay $15,000 annually to the reserve and replacement fund.

RA CEO Milton Matthews said earlier this year the RA money will come mainly from fees paid to the association by non residents

When South Lakes High School was not chosen as a recipient of the $175,000 Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS) Grant last spring. Former principal Bruce Butler said it was due in part to a developer proffer - set to fund more than $500,000 of the cost - that did not come through in time.

South Lakes was one of four schools vying for the grant. Robinson Secondary and Centreville High School were selected.

Fairfax County Park Authority Board Chair Bill Bouie said Tuesday the authority is ready to work with the school on getting the fields built. SLHS is invited to apply for the same grant in 2013, he said.

"The Park Authority is set to move forward with a partnership if the school gets its funding in place for the stadium field," Bouie said. "Once that is in place, the Park Authority would then partner to fund the community use field to be located where the auxiliary and practice fields are today."

Bouie added there are no other proffers in the works.

Thursday's board motion says RA staff and legal counsel "believe it would be prudent for the Board of Directors to formally reaffirm its support and monetary commitment to the project."

The motion says the community partners are in the process of reaffirming their prior commitments.

"Once the funding from all sources is approved an agreement/memorandum of understanding (MOU) will be developed for sharing field resources based
upon funding commitments of the partners," the motion reads.

The current timeline for the project is as follows, according to the document:

On Dec. 1, $100,000 was transferred from the Board of Supervisors/Neighborhood & Community Services to Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) for engineering costs. Later this month, the MOU between project partners will be drafted.

On Jan. 15,  contributors will submit funding for the project. All contributions must be submitted/transferred to FCPS by March 15. If adequate funds are not available, the project will dissolve to the one-field model or the project will fall through and not be able to be built until the summer of 2015, RA documents said.

Reston Association Parks and Recreation Director Larry Butler said previously that turf fields, which will feature lights, would benefit the entire community. He cited studies that show lighted turf fields get 60 percent more use because practice and games are not limited due to weather.

To read about the county's synthetic fields, click here. To read the county's policy on allocating field time to community partners, click here.

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Gene December 14, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Okay so we really do not know if this stuff is going to cause more inury than natural turf. We also know that it is an additonal cost. We do not know why RA is spending our money on this and causing the dues to go up. So who the heck is behind this and why have inquiries and objections been ignored?
John Farrell December 14, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Gene This idea is the brainchild of outgoing RA CEO Milton Mathews, his subordinate Larry Butler and Hunter Mill FCPA member Bill Bouie who is also a member of the RCC advisory board. The same trio who brought us the Brown's Chapel mega-gym and parking garage of 3-4 years ago. It just never stops.
Michael December 14, 2012 at 03:41 AM
I feel a little closer to having an answer. Thanks. Still not convinced, as I'm sure RA has had legal advice at some point in this process as well. They are authorized to enter into business partnerships for the benefit of the membership so they may be considering this under that "idea" instead. I was not aware that the indemnification,clearly stated in the bylaws, does not apply in particular cases. What statute is applicable in over-riding that indemnification?
Michael December 14, 2012 at 04:15 AM
Code of VA 13.1-870.1 states that a non-stock corporation has the power, without limitation, "To make donations for the public welfare or for religious, charitable, scientific, literary or educational purposes." This applies unless its articles of incorporation provide otherwise. Articles of Incorporation, III.2.d, state that RA may talke action "to promote the peace, health, comfort, safety, and general welfare of the Members;" and III.2.f, "to exercise the powers now or hereafter conferred by law on Virginia nonstock corporations as may be necessary or desirable to accomplish the purposes set forth above." Section V.13.b.1 authorizes the board, by resolution, to budget funds "for purposes found by the Board of Directors to be in the best interests of the Association." Unless there is somewhere else in the articles that expressly forbids it, this could be considered making a donation for the public welfare, and promoting the health and general welfare of members, which are within the RA's rights as a non-stock corporation. There could easily be something I'm missing, as I'm not a lawyer. But RA employs one who can surely provide such advice. If this is indeed illegal, a lawsuit from a member of RA would quickly sort that out.
Bruce Belt May 05, 2013 at 04:49 AM
If only these fields our kids play on WERE grass, but they are in fact barron compacted clay and rocks in most places. Go take a look at the terrible field conditions that exist at Langston Hughes and compare that to the state of the art rubberized turf intended to repace it. NO contest!


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