Memorial Garden Won’t be Part of Pony Barn Plan

Pony BarnReston Association’s Pony Barn Recreation Area will move forward with renovations in 2015, but those renovations will probably not include a memorial garden.

After several community meetings over the spring and summer, ideas for everything from an archery range to leaving it as is to building the memorial garden were considered for the quiet, wooded plot at Steeplechase Drive and Triple Crown Road in south Reston.

The space once held an actual pony barn, but since the 1980s has been mostly a picnic pavilion and swing set.

This year, RA allocated $30,000 from the 2014 Capital Improvement Budget for upgrades or changes. That will be carried forward to the 2015 budget.

At its meeting last Thursday, the RA Board heard from representatives from the Pony Barn Working Group. The group recommends that the 2,006-square-foot pavilion, which currently has a gravel floor, be improved with a solid surface floor and electrical access.

The group also suggested a kiosk with historical information about the land’s equestrian history, as well as play equipment, especially if it could be geared towards toddlers and/or special needs children.

The group also suggested an observation deck or walkway for the nearby butterfly meadow.

The board seemed pleased with the suggestions, which will be more formally presented early next year and will have to go through RA’s Design Review Board, a public comment period and vote by RA’s Board of Directors.

The idea for the memorial garden has been written into Reston’s comprehensive plan amendment. Reston was built with no cemeteries, so the idea for a quiet spot for remembrance and reflection has been suggested for years. There are such places at several local churches.

The Initiative for Public Art Reston (IPAR) approached RA earlier this year about using the Pony Barn area space for a memorial garden.

However, that idea was unpopular among RA members from the start. Concerns ranged from using public land for a religious purpose to the memorial garden’s narrow use to noise from a nearby neighborhood pool making it inadequate for quiet reflection.

See a full list of feedback on the subject on RA’s website.

See a list of how the working group narrowed down its ideas on RA’s website.

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