Western Loudon County is an area of Virginia that is rural, and residents and preservationists are working to keep it that way.
Along a dusty dirt road off Route 50 sits Mickie Gordon Park. Before you get to the park, there are signs lining the road, reading: “Save Mickie Gordon Park.”
The people behind the signs want the county’s parks and recreation department to reconsider a proposal to build 18, 100-foot tall lights in the park.
The lights would be installed for three new cricket fields. Cricket is a sport that requires a field two to three times the size of a baseball field.
People who live close to the park said the current stadium lights can be seen for miles.
“Like this alien spaceship landing in a farm,” said Middleburg resident David Blanchard.
“It’s just really, really, very bright,” said Ike Broaddus, a candidate in the District Supervisors’ race for Fauquier County.
After two roundtable discussions over the summer attended by hundreds of residents, the plan stalled. Residents want more than just to stop the new lights from going up; they want the current lights in the park to come down.
“I was enjoying a night out without those lights on with some friends just sitting out in the backyard, and we were counting shooting stars. It’s a beautiful place to be when the lighting conditions are dark and rural,” Broaddus said.
The Mayor of Middleburg, Bridge Littleton, wants to work with residents who are concerned. He also wants to provide for cricketers.
“They’re the ones having to drive two hours to be able to play cricket. And that’s not fair.”
He said cricket is one of the more popular sports in the county, with little places to play.
Local officials are struggling to find spaces for the players, while keeping traffic in the area down to preserve the small-town feel.
“There is constant pressure for residential growth in Loudoun County. Over the last 25 years, Loudoun County grew at five times the rate of the nation. Loudoun County is behind in terms of providing parks amenities … and we’ve got to get ahead of that. Preserving the real special nature of what we have is always a challenge,” Littleton said.
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