Supervisors approve lease to keep soccer fields in play

A lease agreement approved by the Board of Supervisors last week will keep soccer facilities at the Lowes Athletic Complex open while saving the county about $25,000 a year.

At its Oct. 13 meeting, the panel approved a two-year lease of the facilities, located at 2700 Swiftrun Road, to Chesterfield United Soccer Club. The fee for the lease, which has an additional one-year renewal option, will be $1 per year, a staff report says. The Parks and Recreation Department will save an estimated $25,000 by leasing the facility,

Assistant Director Phil Innis said Friday.

According to the staff report, the department previously offered soccer facilities and programs at the Lowes Athletic Complex.

“Basically we looked at that site, and due to some budget reductions we had, which involved maintenance dollars and program dollars, we looked at that [the lease] as a way to keep the facility open to the public and still meet the reductions,” Innis said.

The parks and recreation department advertised for requests for proposals for a facility operator, the report says. A committee that reviewed the proposals recommended that the lease be awarded to the Chesterfield United Soccer Club.

Innis said the club was already using the facility through a licensing agreement. By leasing the facility, the club will take over maintenance of the property, he said. The lease will include written guidelines on what the club must do in terms of maintenance, he said.

At the meeting, Bermuda District Supervisor Dorothy Jaeckle thanked the department for its work with Chesterfield United Soccer Club on the issue.

“It’s part of us trying to work away from everyone being dependent on the government,” she said. Jaeckle recommended authorization of the lease, and the board approved it unanimously.

On Friday, Innis said the department may consider such lease agreements for other facilities.

“We just recently leased the adult softball fields at Iron Bridge and Warboro parks,” he said. “It’s something that we do now and I guess we’ll evaluate and see if it works and is appropriate for others.”

Also at last week’s meeting, Thomas Dale High School graduate Michael Dudley was recognized for his heroic efforts on June 23, when he stepped in to help a woman he saw being beaten by a man. Ultimately, according to police, the man, Richard E. Parker, 56, shot and killed the woman, his wife, Cindy M. Parker, 45, and then shot Dudley.

“I remember when I heard the story and what really struck me was, as everybody was going on and on about Michael and how heroic he was, he kind of shrugged and said, ‘I didn’t think of doing anything else,’” Jaeckle said after the board unanimously approved the resolution. Dudley saw someone in trouble, and, without thinking about himself, went to help that person, she said.

“It’s such a testament, in today’s day, when so many people really only think about themselves, I think he really just stopped the whole town of Chester and” got it thinking about what was important in life, Jaeckle said.

Dudley, now a student at Virginia State University, said “the whole situation was wild” but he wanted to thank everyone for all the support he received in the wake of the incident.


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