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McLean Youth Soccer makes pitch for permanent restrooms at Lewinsville Park

Soccer players practice at Lewinsville Park in McLean (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Now that Holladay Field’s conversion to synthetic turf is complete, McLean Youth Soccer (MYS) has set its sights on a new project to bolster the area’s recreational amenities.

The nonprofit soccer club is collaborating with the Fairfax County Park Authority on plans to build a new, permanent restroom facility for Lewinsville Park, which currently only has port-a-potties.

“Lewinsville Park…offers a lot of parks, tennis courts, baseball fields, community garden, but it didn’t have those restrooms,” MYS Board Chair Susan Mrachek told FFXnow. “…For sanitary reasons, whether it’s changing a baby’s diaper or being able to wash your hands or even seeking shelter, we felt it was really important not just for McLean Youth Soccer players, but for the community at large.”

Encompassing 37.7 acres at 1659 Chain Bridge Road, Lewinsville Park is heavily used by everyone from tennis players and nearby McLean High School students to local sports teams like McLean Youth Soccer, which has approximately 2,800 players aged 4 to 22. It also hosts the annual McLean Day festival, which drew roughly 8,400 people this year.

However, the park has no running water and just three to four portable toilets by the parking lot to serve all those people, Mrachek says.

The permanent restroom project came out of discussions among MYS board and staff members after they celebrated the opening of the renovated Holladay Field last fall.

“We thought, ‘Okay, what’s the next thing that we could improve upon?'” Mrachek said. “And [Executive Director Louise Waxler] talked about the restrooms. We all felt that pain as we watched our kids playing soccer and having to go to a port-a-potty.”

The organization pitched the idea to the county park authority, which will introduce the project to the community with a virtual meeting at 7 p.m. next Thursday (June 16).

The proposed facility will be approximately 1,000 square feet in size, though the exact number of stalls or individuals it could accommodate won’t be clear until it reaches the design phase, according to FCPA spokesperson Judy Pederson.

The current estimated project cost is $670,000, but MYS has proposed funding all but $20,000, Pederson says.

According to the project page, the facility could be completed in late 2023, but Mrachek says a thorough review is still needed to see what will be required from an engineering standpoint.

Lewinsville Park is far from the only outdoor recreational facility in Fairfax County without bathrooms of its own.

According to Pederson, 24 of the park authority’s 46 “larger” parks lack a permanent restroom structure, though some like McLean Central Park have access to nearby public buildings. Just 10 out of 34 district parks have a restroom facility listed in the FCPA Park Register.

The deficit also extends to outdoor athletic facilities at more than half of Fairfax County’s high schools, an issue that the county and public school system are moving to address.

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