Park Authority Envisions Parking, Facilities Upgrades at Baron Cameron

Dog Park at Baron Cameron Park

The future Baron Cameron Park may have more parking, lighted fields, a multi-use court, more garden plots and an indoor pool and recreation center.

That’s the vision described in the Baron Cameron Park Master Plan Draft, which was released by the Fairfax County Park Authority late last week.

FCPA officials said last spring that the 68-acre park would undergo the master plan process in order to better use the space because it is a district park.  Bill Bouie, chairman of the FCPA Board, says a district park should be a destination for not only Reston, where Baron Cameron Park is located, but also residents from surrounding communities.

There will be a community meeting and feedback period about the plan later this spring, said Bouie.

The master plan draft includes two conceptual development plans that reflect the park with and without an indoor recreation center. In both options, the master plan strives to provide better parking and traffic management, increase the park’s field playing capacity, and generally enhance the park experience, FCPA staff says.

Key elements found in both options include:

  • Upgrade the rectangle fields to full-size, with synthetic turf and lights
  • Add a second lighted diamond field
  • Increase the amount of parking spaces
  • Add a second park entrance off Wiehle Avenue
  • Add a multi-use court complex
  • Expand the community garden plots
  • Create a trail network throughout the park and a new pedestrian connection to the adjacent Browns Chapel Park (operated by Reston Association)
  • Keep the off-leash dog park

Optional elements found in the plan:

  • Remove athletic fields to accommodate an indoor recreation center and additional parking
  • Relocate the existing off-leash dog area and reuse the current location as a flexible community use area

The indoor recreation center plan was first proposed by the Reston Community Center (RCC) nearly a year ago. RCC hired consultants Brailsford & Dunlavy for a feasibility study for a facility that would feature a 50-meter indoor pool as well as meeting rooms and multipurpose recreational areas. B&D estimates the cost of such a facility — built on land donated at no cost from FCPA –would be about $35 million.

Many community members raised questions on traffic, loss of green space, financial impact and whether there is a need for an additional indoor pool in Reston.

RCC is continuing to obtain public feedback about building a facility at Baron Cameron or at Reston Town Center North, said RCC executive director Leila Gordon. The plan would have to go to a public referendum, and that won’t happen in 2014, she said.

Bouie said the rec center will also be discussed separately under the Baron Cameron master plan process.

The indoor recreation center option as described in the Baron Cameron master plan draft would be at the southern end of the park near Baron Cameron Avenue. It would “generally require the removal of athletic fields.”

The master plan says “building design should provide rooftop recreational facilities as well as innovative stormwater management components. While the ultimate configuration and design of the indoor recreation center will be determined at the more detailed site plan phase, at least 250 parking spaces should be provided. Operational details of the facility, including fee schedule and parking management, will be determined upon implementation.”

Meanwhile, Bouie says right now there is no money attached to any park improvements, meaning whatever is discussed in the master plan is basically just a wish list for the time being.

“Any bonds we would obtain would be for 2023 at the earliest,” he said. He also added that there are no developer proffers in the pipeline.”

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