Orange County Review: Booster Park boost: Orange County complex gets $122,590 in federal funds

ORANGE COUNTY REVIEW, ISAAC PARRISH

President Joe Biden recently signed into law U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s legislation to provide $122,590 for improvements to Booster Park – one of 10 projects totaling $6.3 million Rep. Spanberger helped secure across the 7th Congressional District.

Rep. Spanberger visited the park on March 22 to address the community and express her appreciation and excitement for the revitalization of Booster Park.

“Now that the President has officially signed this investment into law, I am excited that we are supporting more than a field, more than a facility, more than a park; we’re supporting a stronger sense of community right here in Orange,” said Rep. Spanberger.

The funding will be used for repairs to the field ($76,150), practice facility ($32,940) and concession stand ($12,500).

“The park currently utilizes original fencing, which is over 20 years old and is rusting and curling at the bottom. We have a bare pad where an old batting cage used to hang. We have a nice concession stand with a nice exhaust system, but nothing to suppress a fire, thus making it inoperable,” said Orange County Parks and Recreation Director Tim Moubray. “This funding will address all of the issues and support the continuing revitalization of Booster Park.”

Rep. Spanberger worked directly with Orange County officials to secure the funding for improvements to Booster Park as part of a House and Senate-passed fiscal year 2022 appropriations package.

The $76,150 approved for field repair will replace fencing on the four ball fields, add a chain link fence cap and four new hooded backstops.

The $32,940 in facility repairs will replace the current batting cage with two new units, complete with artificial turf pads, baffle nets and pitcher screens.

The $12,500 approved for concession stand repair will include a fire suppression system, a commercial refrigerator and electrical repairs.

Located on more than 24 acres behind the Orange County Airport on Route 20, Booster Park includes four baseball/softball fields, multipurpose (soccer/football) fields, a playground area, pavilion and concert venue, concession stand and restroom building, storage facilities and a future dog park.

Orange County assumed control of the park from the Orange County Boosters in 2015.

“Booster Park is an important part of our community. Its importance is hard to overstate,” said Orange County Administrator Ted Voorhees. “It’s the only centrally located public park in our community with athletic facilities and serves as a great place for us to come together.”

In addition to youth sports, the park is used by businesses for training, events and job fairs, by the mobile food pantry, by civic clubs and organizations, and annually hosts the county’s Playin’ in the Park Independence Day celebration.

“In March 2020, when the world shut down for COVID people turned to the outdoors to see what was there and they found us,” said Moubray. “Everyone started seeing the benefits of not just recreation, but outdoor recreation.”

At the height of the pandemic’s disruption, Booster Park offered some safe refuge in the form of socially distanced outdoor activity.

“People turned here in March of 2020, the hope is that they will never turn back and continue recognizing the incredible benefit that exists in this park and in this community,” said Rep. Spanberger.

Orange County hopes to begin construction on park improvements later this year.

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