While backs were patted and obligatory shovelfuls of dirt were turned by elected officials Oct. 19, marking the start of construction on key roads in the Kincora development, a few people who have been anxiously awaiting the day stood at the back of the tent nearing the realization that their dreams – and those of numerous Loudoun residents – would have to wait another year.
The minor league Loudoun Hounds officially announced two days later what some had begun to guess – the team would have to wait until 2013 to throw its first pitch.
While the news may disappoint many in the community, it certainly comes as little surprise, considering construction on the stadium has not begun. Wednesday’s groundbreaking on construction of Pacific Boulevard – the primary road through the planned Kincora community and necessary to reach the stadium – served as a reminder that plans were not quite on track for professional baseball in Loudoun in 2012.
“The organization has been exploring numerous scenarios for months on 2012 and 2013 opening,” said Bob Farren, president and CEO of Virginia Investment Partnership LLC, parent company of the Loudoun Hounds Professional Baseball Club, in an Oct. 21 press release. “We continue to make progress, but we have to be realistic: 2013 works better for us.”
VIP had been working toward a 2012 start and had resisted when pressed as recently as Oct. 19 to admit the date had slipped.
The release indicated the club had hired an in-house project manager and had accelerated the various legal, engineering and construction requirements needed to open the Ballpark in 2012, but ultimately decided not to rush the stadium.
“No one is more disappointed than I am that we won’t be able to be on the field in 2012, but this is the right direction for the Club, Loudoun County, and most importantly, our fans,” Farren said.
VIP also announced the creation of VIP Sports & Entertainment Inc., which will bring professional sports, concerts, fairs, festivals and other community events to the ballpark, including high school and collegiate competitions.
“The Hounds are dedicated to offering the best quality experience for the families in this community,” Farren said in the release. “There is no other option but to ensure this Ballpark is built to exacting detail and done the right way rather than the rushed way. The end result is still going to be a fantastic, family-friendly venue that will host a range of sports and entertainment events.”
The club representatives said they hope Hounds fans can appreciate that the scope of preparing for the construction and operation of a ballpark is just one element of the many working pieces that all need to occur for us to be a part of a successful community.
VIP will be upgrading to new, larger offices in the winter of 2011 to accommodate its expanding staff and the increased activity as work moves forward bringing baseball to Loudoun.