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Baron Cameron Dog Park Stays — But May Be Moved From Wiehle Edge

by Karen Goff March 6, 2014 at 1:00 pm 14 Comments

Dog Park at Baron Cameron Park

The Baron Cameron Park Dog Park will stay a part of a re-imagined park design — but may be moved to the park’s interior.

Baron Cameron Park, a 68-acre parcel operated by the Fairfax County Park Authority, is in the midst of a master plan revision. The process began close to a year ago, with a community meeting at Buzz Aldrin Elementary aimed at getting input on what the park needs as it moves forward as a “District Park” serving not just Reston, but close-by communities such as Vienna and Great Falls, Park Authority Board Chair Bill Bouie said.

The public will have a chance to comment on the draft master plan revision at a public meeting March 27 at Buzz Aldrin (11375 Center Harbor Rd.). The meeting kicks off a 30-day public comment period. If you wish to speak at the meeting, you can register ahead of time by calling 703-324-8662 or emailing  [email protected].

Baron Cameron Park Plan with new dog park location and indoor rec center/Credit: FCPA The dog park has been a source of controversy lately as a group of residents of Longwood Grove, located across Wiehle Avenue from the park, has threatened a lawsuit against the park authority and Reston Dogs, the nonprofit that monitors the park. Residents say they are subject to noise from barking dogs at the park and they request that the park either move or close.

“At this time, my clients firmly believe that the only way to fix this problem is to close and/or move the Baron Cameron dog park to a new location,” reads a letter sent by attorney Zachary Williams. “Given the ongoing Baron Cameron Master Plan revision process, now is an opportune time to close the dog park so that this area of Baron Cameron Park can be redeveloped in a manner that is compatible with surrounding neighborhoods.”

One plan for Baron Cameron has the park staying as is, on the park’s edge near Wiehle Avenue.

The second option moves it to the center of the park, putting a community flexible use space where the current dog park is located.

The second option does not come without other developments, however.

The interior dog park spot is included with the option to build a 90,000 square foot indoor recreation center in partnership with Reston Community Center. The center would feature an indoor, 50-meter pool, fitness rooms, and other community use facilities. It also would include space an additional 250 parking spots.

The park would likely have to sacrifice some of its nine rectangular athletic fields in order to build the center, but the master plan revision also calls for improving field conditions by adding lights and artificial turf to increase playing hours on remaining fields.

The plan to add the $35 million rec center has been discussed for more than a year, both by RCC and the FCPA. Both entities have to undergo separate processes in order to proceed.

RCC funded a feasibility study update and held a series of meetings on the plans in 2013. The plan is still being discussed, but is unlikely to go to a Small Tax District 5 referendum this year, RCC Executive Director Leila Gordon said.

While the facility is generally supported by swimmers, many residents have spoken out against it for reasons such as cost, need and additional traffic on Wiehle Avenue.

Meanwhile, the Master Plan revision says that an average of 41,000 cars travel through the intersection of Wiehle Avenue and Baron Cameron daily.

“While an indoor recreation center will add only a fraction of trip generations to the daily total of 41,000 cars passing through the Baron Cameron and Wiehle Avenues intersection, park management objectives will strive to address traffic impacts through provision of adequate entry and exit points, efficient internal circulation patterns, and an adequate amount of parking for proposed and retained facilities,” the report says.

  • Rational Reston

    So what Bill Bouie and the FCPA has essentially said is ‘screw the kids and users of the existing fields’, which are park users from all over the immediate region (Reston, Herndon, Great Falls, etc).

    • Karen Goff

      Not necessarily. Yes, there may be fewer fields, but if they also improve existing ones (ie adding turf and lights), there will be more usable hours, so it may come out even.

      • Rational Reston

        This isn’t difficult, comparing Google’s map and the FCPA’s diagram:

        There are actually 10 rectangular fields currently hat BC, there are 3 in the NorthWest Corner with another adjacent to that. In the diagram, there doesn’t seem to be a fourth field. Just the block of 3.

        In the main section there are currently 6 fields. But the two closest to Baron Cameron are obviously removed for the aquatic center and additional parking. The northern two of these existing fields are being repurposed for the dogpark and the multi-use courts. In a worst case scenario, those six fields are reduced to two, in a ‘good’ scenario, it’s reduced to 3.

        10 fields to 6 is a 40% cut. Lights wouldn’t help the utilization. Lights may have helped if only 2 fields were axed. Then again lights are another issue, aren’t they?

        • Karen Goff

          The FCPA counts nine fields in the park. The full master plan draft is linked to the story where you can see their description. They have not yet said how many fields would be going away if they build the indoor pool. All of this is still open for discussion, negotiation, alteration, etc. That is why they are holding a public meeting and comment period.

          • Rational Reston

            Sadly, after following this issue for the last year, I have no confidence in the FCPA meetings or processes in listening to the actual public instead of just a handful of voices.

          • GJ

            again, you are confusing FCPA with RCC who is at the bottom of all of this.

          • Rational Reston

            You’re forgetting the common denominator in the FCPA and RCC processes, Mr. Bill Bouie. Who’s role in this particular issue really ought to go through some sort of ethics panel.

        • GJ

          and, I have to say, I certainly hope that the LG residents really and truly enjoy what they have created … worst traffic jams and much more noise.

    • GJ

      No, that would be what RCC and these LG residents are saying, not the FCPA

      • Rational Reston

        So Fairfax County Park AUTHORITY, has no actual authority? The map included is FROM FCPA. They are chartered to be a competent body, THEY released this plan. If they liked the fields, they would have kept them. Instead, they’ve paved over some, and put a building on some others.

        I agree that RCC has a hand (and there’s a common hand, or set of hands attached to a certain person) in this process, too. But it’s not proper to make it look like FCPA is some sort of victim, or an authority who’s hands are tied.

  • Dexter Scott

    Why are you burying the most important part of the story?

    The story here is not the stupid dog park.

    The story here is the resurrection of the INSANE plan to build an indoor rec center.

    • Karen Goff

      Not burying it at all. The plan to build the pool was never off the table this whole last year. The actual “new” part of this story is that the dog park may be relocated.

  • Ann Youngren

    Well, I would be happy to have a bigger and improved dog park with a tree or two away from Wiehle! Yippee

  • Dee Wayne

    The people who are complaining about the dog park/barking have to ask themselves one question-WAS THE DOG PARK HERE BEFORE YOU MOVED INTO YOUR PRECIOUS WORLD? If so then just suck it up or take your BBQ inside.

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