Memorial Garden Meets Opposition at Pony Barn

Pony BarnThoughts from Reston Association members on what to do with the Pony Barn Pavilion range from building an archery range to keeping it as is to opposition to a proposed memorial garden.

Through last week, RA has heard from 66 members — both in person at meetings and through its website — about the future of the RA-owned park area.

Reston Association has formed a working group to discuss what should be done to the area at Steeplechase and Triple Crown.

The association has allocated $30,000 from the 2014 Capital Improvement Budget for upgrades or changes. The space currently features a 2,006-foot pavilion with tables, grilling areas, a lawn and a swing set.

The Initiative for Public Art Reston (IPAR) has approached RA about using the space for a memorial garden. Reston has no cemeteries, and the memorial garden will not fill that role, IPAR has said. Rather, it envisions the garden as a place to reflect about lost loved ones.

However, many of the comments from community members have said it is a poor place for such a garden, citing, traffic, parking, noise from the Deepwoods Pool, among other reasons.

There was a Pony Barn working group meeting on Aug. 18, and there will be another one on Monday, Sept. 22, 6:30 p.m. at RA Headquarters, 12001 Sunrise Valley Dr.

Meanwhile, RA has been soliciting input from members on the subject. Below are some of their thoughts. For the full record of comments, visit RA’s website.

… I would  hate to see this meant to be used as something specific. There is a lot of casual use here. This facility doesn’t look as attractive as some others in Reston. I think we should see this improved upon and made better rather than replaced.

… My family loves to go out “impromptu”, cook something on a grill and eat outdoors about once a week  during the summer. This is one of the sites closer to our home. We’d hate to lose the grill and table. On the other hand, the location seems out of the way for a memorial garden, whatever that might mean (I think you could explain a little more here).

… There is a place at Lake Anne that has memorial stones, and one can go there to contemplate. I don’t see why we should do another one. The noise coming from the pool is very loud, making this a bad location for quiet contemplation.

… An archery range would be a great addition to Reston and the region. There are very, very few in the area.

… There is no path connecting 11931 and Steeplechase. I think accessibility does need to be a concern for getting to the Pony Barn, as well as for using Triple Crown for walking, jogging, walking dogs and children and even using a wheelchair. The path the developer built is falling apart is not very accessible. Please don’t remove the path; it at least keeps walkers off the road even if we have to dodge tree roots.

… I think you should leave it as it is and not repurpose it. This is a residential area, and I do not support a repurposed use that will attract noise and traffic to this area. Find somewhere else. You can put in another piece of play equipment with the $30K, to replace the wooden structure that was removed a few years ago and add more swings. Cars parking on Triple Crown is unsafe. Also, I don’t want memorial services going on in this area.

… The community is starting on the right track with the traffic study. However, the County Board of  Health will be involved if ashes start being spread here. This is a great start to a community process. I think changing this space to a memorial garden is going to turn it from something that gets used a lot  into something that is not really going to get used. We’re taking something that’s useful and historic  and turning it into something that’s pretty. I don’t think a highly formalized garden is appropriate in this natural setting.

… As a long-time resident of Triple Crown Road, I think whatever happens to the Pony Barn needs to discourage vehicular traffic. We have way too much traffic on the street, and when my children were smaller we had several instances where I feared for their lives when a ball rolled into the road in front of an oncoming car.

… Use the $30,000 to upgrade the picnic facilities so that families use it more. Among the suggestions: 1. Move the trash bin to a side location. 2. Add grills. 3. Add skylights to the barn. 4. Better level the site. 5. Move the Porta toilets to a less conspicuous location.

… I have a hard time seeing how a memorial garden will bring traffic. I don’t understand why everyone is worried about such a small area. RA is not trying to descend upon this neighborhood and change things. Their Board is comprised of volunteers and they’re trying to do the right thing.

..South Reston does not really have a true town center. A place to gather to chat, play games, share a meal, etc. Since we live in the woods, you may not think this is a natural spot for something like this, but I would say that it is.  …  Imagine the upgrade Pony Barn Pavilion (perhaps slightly smaller) surrounded by cycling racks, grills, a campfire circle, two top tables dedicated to chess or checkers and four top tables available for other types of games including card and board games. There can also be a life-sized chess board, a life-sized Jenga game – a way to bring people together in using joyous social interactivity.



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