Judge Opens McLean Ball Field Closed in Government Shutdown

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McLEAN, Va. — A judge has temporarily opened a northern Virginia ball field that the National Park Service had closed because of the government shutdown.

A consortium of youth sports organizations in McLean filed a lawsuit Wednesday in federal court in Alexandria over the closure of Langley Fork Park, near the CIA.

The field is used in the fall by lacrosse and football teams. But the Park Service closed the field Oct. 1, placing barriers in the parking lots. David “Bucky” Morris, executive director for McLean Youth Lacrosse, said U.S. Park Police chased away people who tried to move the barriers.

“I guess I was just really perplexed and thinking this is really absurd,” Morris said. “It’s just unfair that the kids are the ones getting affected by it.”

The lawsuit says the closure was unnecessary because, while the land is owned by the Park Service, it is maintained and operated by Fairfax County.

Judy Pedersen, a spokeswoman for the Fairfax County park Authority, declined to comment on the lawsuit but said she is glad the park is open for now.

U.S. Judge Liam O’Grady issued a temporary restraining order Wednesday reopening the park, but a hearing is scheduled for Oct. 18 to determine whether it can stay open.

Phone calls to a Park Service spokeswoman Friday indicate she has been furloughed and is unable to return calls.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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