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Afternoon Poll: A Memorial Garden on RA Land?

by Karen Goff September 29, 2014 at 3:00 pm 8 Comments

Pony Barn area in South RestonReston Association is currently in the process of reimagining the Pony Barn Recreation Area.

The association has allocated $30,000 from the 2014 Capital Improvement Budget for upgrades or changes to the space at Steeplechase and Triple Crown in South Reston.

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 of reflection.

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.

At Thursday’s monthly RA Board meeting, the board heard from several residents who said, among other reasons, that the memorial garden is a sacred space that does not belong on public land.

“RA just needs to say no,” said Vic Moravitz, whose home is near the Pony Barn space. “There should be more memorial gardens but not on common grounds.”

Moravitz called for the separation of “statecraft and soulcraft” in considering the placement of the memorial garden.

  • Publius

    United Christian Parish and St. Anne’s have Memorial Gardens. IPAR should work with Cornerstones to help develop Memorial Gardens on sacred ground not common ground.

  • Cicero

    IPAR should work with the churches and houses of worship and leave the picnic areas to the public. This is mixing of church and state and should not be a matter of RA’s Board or the RA.

  • Emily

    As lovely as I think this could be, it really doesn’t belong on Reston Association land. Please take this effort elsewhere.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    I would love to have a secular location to re-inter Mom closer to home.

  • Pat

    Currently the Pony Barn space is used as a gathering place for fun, games, and sharing food and laughter. I can imagine those who have gone before us would much rather see this continue than make it a place to sit and reflect their loss. One can reflect the loss of a loved one by walking some of the great Reston paths or so many other ways. Taking away RA land which is quickly disappearing for this use just does not make sense. We need to keep it alive and welcoming and a reflection of Reston- “a place to live, play and work”

  • Greg

    I’m not sure I understand what makes this a religion thing. I don’t like any public support of religion, but remembering dead people doesn’t inherently require belief in a god or afterlife. Are they planning to include religious symbols in the garden?

  • jvb11

    I think that IPAR is a good organization and does a lot of great things in the community. I also think that the Pony Barn should clearly not be used as a memorial garden. A memorial garden might be a good idea in a centrally located area of Reston, not on the edge of South Reston in a fairly wooded location. It is located next to the Deepwood pool where there is going to be a lot of noise during the Summer months. Most (almost all) of the neighbors in the immediate area oppose placing it at the Pony Barn. Many of us remember our kids playing at the Pony Barn when it had a better playground set (before it was taken away). The Pony Barn should be fixed up and used for its existing purpose. The RA should invest the $30,000 allocated to make minor repairs and improvements to use it as it is.

  • Publius

    Point of order concerning the article: RA ground is not public land; it is for the express use of the residents and property owners of RA.


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