Hundreds gather to save the Greater Manassas Baseball League Field Complex | Headlines

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The majority of Manassas city council members appear poised to reach an agreement to sell Micron Technology’s 18.12 acre property that currently serves as the EG Smith Baseball Complex, but Greater Manassas Baseball League supporters say the City needs to develop a relocation plan.

The proposed deal with Micron would give Micron three years to decide whether to buy the city-owned land for $ 14.17 million. Should the council approve the deal at its next meeting on September 27, the status of the fields would not change immediately. Should Micron decide to purchase the property during those three years, the city and GMBL would have two more years to continue using it after the date of purchase. All sales proceeds would go to the city’s parks, culture and leisure department.






Hundreds of GMBL players, parents and coaches showed up for the public hearing at City Hall on Monday evening and held a demonstration outside with signs reading “Save GMBL” and “This is our home”.



Hundreds of GMBL players, parents and coaches showed up for the public hearing at City Hall on Monday evening, filled the council chambers to a capacity of 141 people and held a demonstration outside with signs reading “Save GMBL” and “This is our home” .

Many said they were okay with the possible sale to Micron, but the council needed to put in writing that it would use a portion of the $ 14.17 million to help GMBL in a single location within or near the City draw. Councilor Theresa Coates Ellis suggested the same thing.

Still others said the city shouldn’t postpone the league at all. The contract option between Micron and Manassas would also come with a non-refundable option fee of $ 250,000 that would be applied to the sale price when Micron finally completes the purchase.

Many have spoken of the importance of an affordable sports option with the entire baseball and softball league playing in one place, ages 5-18. Having older children in order to have younger and parents with a place for several children is the key to making GMBL an alternative to expensive, more exclusive travel destinations.






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Hundreds of GMBL players, parents and coaches came to the public hearing at City Hall on Monday evening and held a demonstration outside with signs saying “Save GMBL” and “This is our home”.



Alicia Kidwell, a varsity softball coach at Osbourn High School and mother of a GMBL baseball player, said GMBL’s move would affect many children in the area.

“If you take GMBL out of town, you also take the girls, the women, the athletes in our community out of town,” she said. “

Noah Wilsher, a 15-year-old GMBL baseball player and a student at Osbourn High School, said he has been playing since he was 6 years old. He asked the city, if they were to sell the land, to come up with an actionable plan for replacing the fields.

“We want to be sure we have a place to play baseball,” said Wilsher.

In his presentation to the council, Patrick Small, director of economic development, said the property was valued at $ 6.6 million. It was last valued at $ 6.2 million for tax purposes, of which $ 6 million is the value of the land itself. Most of the council members seemed keen to enforce the treaty that pre-approved but not started the land sale. They are also committed to doing whatever they can to find a new home for GMBL when Micron completes the purchase.






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Hundreds of GMBL players, parents and coaches came to the public hearing at City Hall on Monday evening and held a demonstration outside with signs saying “Save GMBL” and “This is our home”.



The property does not currently generate any tax revenue for the city. Small said an analysis of the economic impact on the league’s presence within the city limits could be done at significant cost, but he would “dare to say” [the impact] won’t be a great number. “

GMBL President Colby Poteat said 32% to 40% of the league’s nearly 900 players live in the city during the spring and summer each year.

Small also spoke about the importance of Micron to Manassas – it’s the city’s largest employer – and the nation. It is the nation’s largest manufacturer of semiconductors, which are critical to many different technologies, including those in new cars. A global shortage since the pandemic has skyrocketed their price, which in turn has increased the prices of automobiles and other consumer goods, and federal government officials have said some control over the domestic semiconductor supply chain is important to the country’s economy and defense is .

The company has completed the first of two phases of its $ 3 billion expansion in Manassas, to which Virginia contributed $ 75 million, the largest economic development in the state’s history. The company didn’t say what it wanted the new country for.






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Hundreds of GMBL players, parents and coaches showed up for the public hearing at City Hall on Monday evening and held a demonstration outside with signs reading “Save GMBL” and “This is our home”.



Poteat said he was concerned about what he described as the city’s lack of communication in the run-up to the proposed sale. Councilors said they would work with the league, and possibly Prince William County, to find a new place for the league if Micron buys the property, but Poteat said communications need to improve so he can trust them. He also suggested creating new rectangular fields with space for a baseball / softball diamond.

“This is our 64th year in Manassas and we are the only sports league in Manassas. Football is in the county, football is in the county, lacrosse is in the county, “Poteat told the council, saying the league was ready to compromise on the size and layout of new fields if that meant the league in Manassas could stay. “We’re bringing all of these families to this town. What other organization does it? No one.”

After more than 30 people – including a number of young players – spoke, Councilor Mark Wolfe, who also chairs the council’s land use committee, proposed that a council resolution be drafted on the future of the league at the next meeting of the council on September 23rd the language is approved by the committee, it could go to the council on September 27th regardless of the contractual agreement with Micron. At the end of the meeting, three email comments were also read from students at Manassas City Public Schools urging the city to build more soccer fields.

The city is investigating replacing EG Smith’s fields with new fields in an expanded Jennie Dean Park that is currently in the planning process. However, staff have said the city also has a significant need for more rectangular fields that can be used for soccer, football, and lacrosse. Two ball fields are already in Dean Park, and councilors and staff have said there is no room for the kind of modernized tournament-style complex that GMBL wants.

The league has been at the site since 1981. The property was previously owned by IBM, but the company donated the land to the city when it moved its headquarters to New York under an agreement that the property would be used for baseball and softball. IBM removed the language from the title deed in 2011, and the city has since used it for economic development purposes, declining proposals to build housing.

A call for proposals for the location was issued by the city in 2017, but no non-residential offers were realized until the Micron proposal. Small said the company initially didn’t want to include the two-year delay in the contract, but the city’s economic development team negotiated it into the potential deal.

“Obviously they are paying well above market value,” Small told the city council on Monday evening. “What Micron pays for is something that no other company or developer would pay for. They pay for the Ballfields, and they pay a premium so the city has the resources to work with our community, our residents, GMBL, and others to come up with a solution to develop new properties. And Micron gave you the time to do it. “

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