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The E.G. Smith Complex used by the Greater Manassas Baseball League is at Godwin Drive and Route 28, next to the Micron Technology Inc. plant. On the left in this September 2020 aerial photo is the land being cleared for a new parking lot. 

Micron Technology Inc. has retained the option to buy the 18.12-acre Greater Manassas Baseball League complex adjacent to its plant and owned by the city of Manassas.

A public hearing regarding the potential sale is scheduled for next week.

According to a real estate option agreement attached to the agenda for next week’s City Council meeting, the city would give Micron the sole opportunity to purchase the property at 9651 Godwin Drive for just over $14 million within a certain amount of time. 

Currently known as the E.G. Smith Baseball Complex, the property includes six baseball diamonds used by the league. Representatives from the city have said the land, long thought to be a future expansion site for Micron’s  growing Manassas facility, could be replaced by fields elsewhere.

Representatives from the baseball league couldn't be immediately reached by InsideNoVa, but City Manager Patrick Pate said that if council approves the agreement, Micron would have three years to determine if it wanted to purchase the site. After that point, the city would have two years to continue using the property for the baseball complex, giving it time to figure out a solution for the league.

The $14 million figure is what Micron is offering, Pate said. Council has rebuffed interest in the site in the past.

Pate said the city doesn't have space to build a similar baseball field complex elsewhere if the Micron sale proceeds, so it could either help with new fields elsewhere or enter into an agreement for a whole complex outside of the city limits. 

“There’s been a lot of discussions with various parties including GMBL as to what would potentially happen to replace these fields. We’ll be looking at some plans to add fields in the city limits that would be available for GMBL and potentially other folks that would want to use them,” Pate told InsideNoVa. “The long-term outcome of this, no matter what we choose, will be that GMBL will have newer and better baseball fields to play on.

The city’s Parks, Culture and Recreation Department is creating a final plan for an expanded Dean Park that former Community Development Director Liz Via-Gossman said could include new baseball fields, but she said the city is also in need of additional soccer fields.

According to the proposed agreement, Micron is looking to build at least one additional building and more parking. The company’s facility is still undergoing a previously planned $3 billion expansion that should help to further cement its position as one of the world’s top manufacturers of semiconductors. 

Global supply chain disruptions since the start of the pandemic and other issues have created a global shortage of the chips, in turn helping to drive up the price of a number of products like new cars. The sale proposal does not identify what exactly Micron is hoping to build on the site.

The baseball league, which its leaders say is more affordable than many elite travel programs in the area and thus more accessible, has been at the complex since 1981. Previously, the land was owned by IBM, but the company donated the land to the city with the agreement that ball fields would be built there. However, at the request of the city, IBM removed that language in 2011.

At a work session in December between the city council and baseball league representatives who had asked for the meeting, Councilmember Mark Wolfe said the city had received offers for the land that it had rejected, but he said the sale was all but inevitable.

“No one’s questioning the value of the GMBL to the community ... you don’t have to sell me on GMBL,” he said at the work session. “At some point in time, will it be an offer for those fields that this council or a future council will take? I assume so. And at that point, we will figure it out.”

At the time of the meeting, Via-Gossman said her office couldn’t promise a one-to-one

replacement of all six fields at the complex. Previously, the city agreed to let Micron build parking that would be shared with the baseball league over two practice fields at Micron’s expense.

Jared Foretek covers the Manassas area and regional news across Northern Virginia. Reach him at jforetek@insidenova.com

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Jared Foretek covers the Manassas area and regional news across Northern Virginia. Reach him at jforetek@insidenova.com

(3) comments

Quintin Stick

This really is a disgrace. The City asked for the baseball field designation to be removed from the IBM agreement. I guess it's good that the City can make $14 million off of free land, and still not make good on their promise to provide equal fields in another location. Back then it was 8 fields, It's now 6 fields since they already gave 2 back to Micron for parking. What happened to the plan for Jennie Dean? There are already 2 larger fields there and looks like space for more. GMBL only has 1 large field now. Fields can be built to accommodate different sized base paths!

Now the City is also throwing out the "we also need soccer fields and other sports fields" as an argument. That is just side stepping the issue. Tying soccer fields into a new sports complex is not a valid argument...what the City has now is baseball fields, and that is what they are selling. They don't have the soccer fields now, so that has nothing to do with baseball!

Meanwhile, the City is busy widening a stretch of road on 28 that does absolutely nothing to benefit the people that live in the City, it only serves to benefit the PWC residents that drive THROUGH the City to get to work.

Meanwhile the City schools are coming off their worst testing results - and they weren't all that great to begin with! Instead of worrying about greenlighting more housing, "round-abouts" and a "revitalization" project, how about the City board worry about the things that are important to our community?

Jimi Weaver

Mr. Pate’s statement that the Manassas has no room for an in kind complex in the City is disingenuous at best.

At a meeting 7 years ago attended by the then Mayor, various Council members, Ms. Via-Grossman & many other interested parties, design plans were shown for an 8 field baseball/softball replacement complex then designated to be built on a portion of Dean Park near the Boys & Girls Club facility.

Both the City & Micron should be ashamed of themselves as neither appear to be looking out for the 500 to 800 children that enjoy themselves playing America’s game at the the current EG Smith baseball/softball complex.

The children of the greater Manassas area deserve better than half-truths and empty promises.

Joseph George

For those interested in their daughters playing softball, check out Prince William Girls Fastpitch Softball League at www.pwgfs.net

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