RA Board Supports Recommendations for Dog Park Improvements

Playtime at the dog parkReston Association’s Board of Directors said last night it supports recommendations that the Baron Cameron Dog Park should, essentially, clean up its act.

The board voted to send a letter to the Fairfax County Park Authority, which operates Baron Cameron Park, asking for a meeting to discuss issues at the park and the working group’s suggested solutions.

RA members who live near the park, mostly in the Longwood Grove neighborhood, asked for RA’s help earlier this year in what has been an ongoing battle.

While noise complaints have been an issue for years, the working group — which included dog park users as well as Longwood Grove residents — also explained complaints about trash, behavior and the park’s appearance.

“I live in Longwood Grove, but a long way from the dog park,” said At-Large Director Michael Sanio. “I have seen my neighbors struggling with trying to have a voice with the county. What I learned from the working group is that not only were the neighbors unhappy, the dog park users were too.”

The working group held four meetings from March to June of this year. It came up with the following list of recommendations:

SHORT-TERM GOALS (within next 3 to 6 months)

Park Improvements to Mitigate Noise:

  • Install a visual barrier between the two sections of the park to reduce interaction between big and little dogs.
  • Distribute garbage cans throughout the park rather than having one consolidated garbage can location.
  • Provide a new gate door to separate the entrances to the large and small dog areas.
  • Provide full-time, paid monitor during dog park hours.
  • Charge a Dog Park user fee to pay for the visual barrier and dog park monitor.
  • Create incentives for volunteer monitors.

General Park Maintenance:

  • Take down existing mesh barrier along the fence on the Wiehle Avenue side of the park.
  • Improve the landscaping
  • Re-grade the park floor to improve drainage and increase safety.
  • Prioritize park maintenance.
  • Repair existing gaps/holes in chain-link fences and gate doors.

ADA Compliance:

  • Install slow-shut gates.
  • Add accessible parking to the dog park.
  •  Add accessible pathway from parking lot to the dog park.

LONG-TERM GOALS (within the next 18 months)

  • Identify potential sites for additional dog parks to reduce demand at this location (Reston Association and Fairfax County).
  • Establish specific zoning ordinances for installation of dog parks in Fairfax County.
  • Engage a professional licensed acoustical engineer to identify ways to significantly mitigate sound coming from the dog park, which might include reducing the dog park’s elevation in conjunction with installation of a berm and solid 10- to 15-foot wall.

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