CHANTILLY, Va. – With opening kickoff for Loudoun United’s first game several months away, the county’s Board of Supervisors has voted to make the county’s first professional sports team a reality.
This spring, Loudoun United – the United Soccer League affiliate of D.C. United – will be the seventh and final expansion team to join the new developmental league for the 2019 season.
“From the legislative standpoint, it’s the final step – the land use application to allow for the stadium and training facility to be built in Bolen Park, in Leesburg,” said Supervisor Matt Letourneau, the chairman of the board’s finance, economic development and government operations committee.
The complex will have a total of four fields, including the new 5,000 seat stadium for Loudoun United games. Another field will be used by D.C. United, and two fields will be used by the county for recreational soccer.
The major league team will train and have offices in Loudoun, in addition to the United Soccer League team.
Letourneau expects the stadium complex to be embraced by local businesses.
“Here you have something that’s going to produce 2,000 hotel nights a year – a significant economic impact – right on the doorstep of Leesburg,” he said.
The board approved the stadium construction 7-1-1, with Supervisor Kristen Umstattd opposing the measure. Supervisor Geary Higgins was absent.
Umstattd told WTOP she voted against the stadium, in part, because of the lack of adequate transportation infrastructure.
“The only entrance into the stadium area for the next two to three years will be via Sycolin Road, which is already highly congested from commuter traffic at the hours when fans will be arriving,” Umstattd said, in an email.
Letourneau said Crosstrail Boulevard, which connects to Route 7, has been funded, and will be opened by 2021.
“There’s not dirt moving yet, because we have to get through all the various approvals,” said Letourneau. “It’s gonna take a few years to get that finished, but that will be a major link to get to (the stadium) from Route 7.”
Smaller road configuration projects will be accomplished by spring, he said.
“There will be some improvements in the immediate area around Bolen Park, to allow better access to and from Sycolin Road,” Letourneau said.
In addition to Sycolin Road, another option is Kincaid Boulevard, which has been closed by the town of Leesburg until Crosstrail Boulevard is completed, between Sycolin and Russell Branch Parkway.
After some contentious comments between Loudoun and Leesburg leaders, Letourneau said he hopes a compromise can be reached to use Kincaid Boulevard before Crosstrail is ready for traffic.
“They do have the ability to only open it during stadium events, but I think that’s a dialogue the county will have with the town over time,” he said.
In the interim, Letourneau said a county-commissioned traffic study showed the area near Leesburg Airport could handle stadium traffic, if traffic management plans are implemented during events.
“Traffic management plans are when you have officer-assisted intersections, and changes to signal timing, which are pretty normal after an event, and pretty common around sports facilities,”
said Letourneau. “And the events, particularly the soccer games, are really running at off-peak times.”
Letourneau said initially there will be some delays after games, when parking lots empty.
“But the bottom line is, this is a 5,000 seat stadium – this is not FedEx Field, this is not Nationals Park.”
Letourneau said he expects construction of the modular stadium will begin shortly, and “the county will do what we can” to help ensure it is ready for the 2019 season.
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