Reston, VA

Thursday Morning Notes

Reston Company Buys Matchbox –Thompson Hospitality, a Reston-based company, has brought Matchbox out of bankruptcy with new ownership. The company expects to open a new location at Wiehe-Reston East. [WTOP]

Herndon-based Company Acquires Maryland Cyber Defense Firm — “ManTech International Corp. (NASDAQ: MANT) has made its first acquisition move of the year, buying cybersecurity firm Minerva Engineering in a deal announced Thursday. The terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed, but it marks the Herndon information technology company’s first mergers & acquisition activity since 2019’s $115 million purchase of Kforce Government Solutions Inc.” [Washington Business Journal]

Fairfax County Park Authority Names New Director of Golf — “The Fairfax County Park Authority has selected Jesse Coffman to head operations at its eight public golf courses. Coffman will begin his duties as Director of Golf Operations on Dec. 7, 2020. He succeeds Todd Johnson, who will retire in December as Golf Enterprises Branch Manager after more than 32 years with the Park Authority.” [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Reston area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Reston, Herndon and Great Falls. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (Oct. 13)

  • Birding on the Boat – 8-10 a.m. at Burke Lake Park (7315 Ox Road) — Enjoy a naturalist-led bird program aboard a tour boat, the event ad said. The cost is $15 per person. Children age 12 and younger must be accompanied by a registered adult

Thursday (Oct. 15)

  • Herndon Farmers Market – 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — The Farmers Market is held on Thursdays from April to November on Lynn Street in historic downtown Herndon, the website said.
  • Herndon Mayor Candidate Q&A (Online) – 8-9 p.m. — Porter4Herndon will host a question and answer town hall for mayoral candidates of Herndon, Sheila Olem and Roland Taylor, the event ad said. Questions can be submitted in advance to [email protected] or during the event. To register, use this link.

Saturday (Oct. 17)

  • Royal Lake Park Cleanup – 7-10 a.m. at Royal Lake Park (5344 Gainsborough Drive) – Participate in park clean-ups and other volunteer-led projects to help keep parks clean, safe and beautiful, the website said. To register to volunteer, use this link.
  • Herndon Women’s March – 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Herndon Town Green – In the wake of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, thousands of Women’s Marchers gathered across the country in their communities to honor the life and legacy of the Notorious RBG, the event ad said. Participants are asked to wear masks and practice social-distancing.

Photo via Fairfax County Park Authority 

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With the weather turning and more locals looking to take their workouts indoors, the Park Authority has announced a series of changes to the reservation system as the RECenter continues to reopen.

“As we move forward with our phased approach to RECenter operations, we need your help to assure that we can continue to operate safely in an ongoing pandemic,” the Park Authority said. “Beginning this fall, our RECenters will begin to offer a modified class program schedule and swim team pool rentals. Balancing these additional member needs with the requirements to assure appropriate COVID-19 safety measures will be more important than ever. Please help us ensure that we can make the most of our limited space so that all members have the greatest access possible to our facilities.”

The Park Authority asked that people only place reservations for times they will be in the facility, and call ahead to cancel if they can’t make it.

“We ask that you cancel at least 24 hours in advance so we can remove your reservation and make it available to other members,” the Park Authority said.

Starting on Monday, Oct. 5, the online reservation page is going through some changes to reflect an increase in capacity.

New reservation titles will be available for:

  • Fitness Center Tickets
  • Lap Swim/Water Walking Tickets
  • Recreation Swim Ticket
  • Aqua Flex Ticket

Under the new system, the reservation will be held for 30 minutes, after which it will be made available to others on a walk-in basis. Two no-shows result in a call from the Park Authority.

“Our primary goal remains the safe accommodation of as many current members, class participants and contracted swim organizations as possible under current COVID-19 standards,” the Park Authority said.

Reservations can be made online.

Image via Google Maps

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Monday Morning Notes

Reston Association to Host Listening Session — RA is hosting a listening session for the Hunters Woods/Dogwood District today (Monday) via Zoom. Th meeting begins at 7 p.m. [Reston Association]

Capital Bikeshare Celebrates 10 Years — “DC’s Capital Bikeshare marks its 10th birthday this Sunday, September 20. Along with iPads and electric car charging stations which also turn 10 this year, they’ve changed the possibilities for how many of us work and play.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Fairfax County Park Authority Celebrates 70 Years — “This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Fairfax County Park Authority, and activities are planned from now through next June to mark our 70 Years of Excellence.” [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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The 2020 Fairfax County Deer Management Archery Program officially kicks off this Saturday, Sept. 12. The program will run through Saturday, Feb. 20.

The initiative is in collaboration with the Fairfax County Park Authority and NOVA Parks under the oversight of the Fairfax County Police Department to enforce that the program is only conducted in parks and other approved locations.

The program was created in 2010 to reduce and stabilize the population of white-tailed deer in the county, according to the statement. An overabundance of deer can lead to a series of safety and health hazards including deer-vehicle collisions, the potential spread of disease and environmental damage.

Archery is a preferred method of deer management because of its compatible use in residential areas and community parks, according to the statement. Additionally, no bystanders have been injured by an archer hunting deer since Virginia began tracking hunting injuries.

The program requires all hunters to meet state hunter licensing, education and safety requirements and must pass qualifications to demonstrate skill and marksmanship. They also must have program identification and completion of training through the International Bow Hunter Education Program to participate. Hunters must also pass a background check.

Parks will remain open to the public during hunting season, with orange signs to designate where hunting is authorized. Hunting is permitted at assigned sites Monday through Saturday, from 30 minutes prior to sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset.

Photo via the Fairfax County Police Department

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This year’s general election ballot will include a $112 million bond referendum requested by the Fairfax County Park Authority.

Roughly $100 million of the bonds will be used to help finance land acquisition to finance parks, new park development, and the ownership of natural and cultural resources. The remaining $12 million funds the county’s share for the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority‘s capital projects. Those projects include expanding public open space and trails, protecting resources, improving existing facilities, and expanding more recreational opportunities.

The latest request for general obligations bonds is the largest since 1959. In 2016, FCPS requested roughly $95 million.

The bond referendum follows a needs assessment in 2016 that called on county residents to identify areas of importance an unmet needs, according to the county. Following that review, a capital improvement framework was developed to guide future projects.

Plans include a new Riverbend Park Visitor Center in Great Falls, playground replacements, improvements and renovations at Lake Fairfax Park in Reston and the development of new trails and stream crossings across county parks.

Currently, roughly 60 percent of all park operating costs are covered by user fees, which do not cover capital costs.  The bond question will be on the Nov. 3 ballot.

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The Fairfax County Park Foundation (FCPF) will honor The Friends of Riverbend Park (FORB) with the 2020 Eakin Philanthropy Award at a virtual ceremony in November for its support of Riverbend Park programs and projects.

 FORB has donated more than $85,600 through the Park Foundation, according to a statement from the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA).

The donations have funded forest restoration and environmental field trips to Riverbend Park for the education of Title I school students. FORB has also paid for multiple summer intern awards and unfunded needs of Riverbend Park staff, as well as equipment for the park, according to the statement. 

FORB was formalized in 2018 by ratifying a Fairfax County Park Authority Friends Group Memorandum of Understanding with the Park Authority Board.

The FCPF created the Eakin Philanthropy Award in 2009 to honor the Eakin family who donated the first parcels of the parkland to the Park Authority more than 50 years ago, according to the statement.

The award is given annually to recognize individuals and organizations whose financial or in-kind contributions have supported Fairfax County parks through the foundation.

Photo via the Fairfax County Park Authority

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Leslie Painter, a volunteer at Frying Pan Farm Park, is one of three recipients of an award honoring volunteers at Fairfax County parks.

The county announced the winners of the Elly Doyle Service Awards last week. “The purpose of the award is to publicly recognize a volunteer or group of volunteers for outstanding contributions to Fairfax County parks,” the announcement noted.

From the announcement:

Leslie Painter has been a volunteer at Frying Pan Farm Park for more than a decade. As secretary of the Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park Board, she has provided a wealth of technology support for the Board and park staff.

The avid horsewoman also teaches equestrian sessions, helps manage shows at the park, and is quick to volunteer when any work needs to be done — from serving meals to cleaning the barn to running major events. She has made a major impact on the Friends’ fundraising efforts by increasing participation and managing the paperwork and responses to the group’s many donors.

The other winners included volunteers with Colvin Run Mill and the Olander and Margaret Banks Neighborhood Park.

The award is named after a former Fairfax County Park Authority board chairman, who helped preserve parkland and create natural and recreational areas in the county.

The county plans to honor the three winners during a virtual ceremony in November.

Photo via Fairfax County

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The county is considering several new upgrades — including a multi-purpose center, playground, and off-leash dog area — for Lake Fairfax Park in Reston.

The changes would first be incorporated into the park’s master plan, which provides a general guide for appropriate park uses and establishes the overall location of proposed facilities.

Revisions for the Lake Fairfax Master Plan were approved by the Fairfax County Park Authority Board in September 2018 after a public engagement process.

Now, the FCPA has submitted an application — known in planning jargon as a 2232 — for its previously adopted master plan revision. The Fairfax County Planning Commission will determine if the plan conforms with the county’s comprehensive plan.

A multi-purpose center is proposed on newly-acquired parcels along Hunter Mill Road. The center would accommodate large classes and events.

Additionally, a gazebo is planed in the central portion of the park, which would serve as event space. A canopy picnic area could be converted into a permanent event pavilion for corporate and large group use.

A playground in the area south of the main parking lot and the northern end of the picnic area is also proposed. The facility would allow for “all-inclusive play” and accommodate all age groups, including adults.

Planners are also considering upgrading the cricket field to meet regulation sizes and standards, including additional lighting. A skills course could be added to the pump track, which may also be expanded. The current location of group camping could be converted into a ropes adventure course.

The incorporation of the proposals in the park’s master plan does not guarantee the changes will be implemented. Each change for new features and facilities would go through the county site plan review process and permitting prior to development.

County staff presented the proposal to the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee at a meeting earlier this week.

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Park Foundation Board Selects New Officers — The Fairfax County Park Foundation Board of Directors has elected new officers to lead its fundraising from through June 22. [Fairfax County Government]

Special Reston Association Meetings Set for July — RA’s Board of Directors will hold special meetings on July 13 and July 23. The first meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and the second meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. Agendas for both online meetings have not been released yet. [Reston Association]

FCPS Extends Enrollment Deadline — “Fairfax County Public Schools has extended the deadline for parents to choose how they want their children to return to school this fall for the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. Responses are due no later than Wednesday, July 15.” [FCPS]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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A number of amenities are now open for public use at county parks as Northern Virginia enters phase two of the COVID-19 reopening plan today (Friday).

Athletic fields, basketball courts, picnic shelters, playgrounds, and other amenities will be open, but with the following restrictions in place:

Athletic Fields – Athletic fields will open for organized and permitted use based on the governor’s and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines pertaining to use of athletic fields.

Basketball Courts – Outdoor courts will open, but users must stay 10 feet apart.

Volleyball Courts – Outdoor courts will open, but users must stay 10 feet apart.

Dog Parks – Dog parks will open with users urged to maintain social distancing.

Marinas – Marinas will open for rentals at lakefront and riverfront parks.

Mini-golf – Miniature golf courses will open at all locations, except Jefferson District Park (due to construction).

Restrooms – Permanent outdoor restrooms and portable restrooms will open systemwide. We encourage visitors to bring hand sanitizer since these facilities are often without running water.

Picnic Shelters – Shelters within parks will open for permitted use with 50% capacity of regular occupancy limits, not to exceed 50 people.

Playgrounds – Playgrounds will open systemwide including Clemyjontri Park and Chessie’s Big Backyard at Lee District Park. There is no special cleaning; visitors should use at their own risk and must adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Currently, recreation centers and other Fairfax County Park Authority facilities remain closed, including nature centers, pools and historic sites. The county is expected to allow more openings when the state enters phase three.

FCPA staff have begun implementing the changes at several facilities. Implementation of the latest openings could take several weeks.

In the Town of Herndon, dogs and playgrounds opened today, but restrooms and basketball courts remain closed. No special cleaning will be conducted of any playgrounds in the town or the county.

File photo

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Silver Line Summer Shutdown Town Hall is Today — Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik and Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn will hold a town hall today (Thursday) from 6:30-7:30 p.m. via Webex. Representatives from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and the Fairfax County Department of Transportation will also attend the virtual meeting. [Webex]

Summer Camps Cancelled — The Fairfax County Park Authority has canceled all of its summer camps due to guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials. [FCPA]

Local Junior Collects Cards for Senior Living Home Residents — “South Lakes High junior Mary started a campaign in her community to collect letters and cards for residents in a senior living home. She posted her request on social media and collected the letters in a bin outside on her front porch. Since the residents aren’t permitted visitors, she thought they might appreciate the mail.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Next Reston Comprehensive Plan Task Force Meeting Announced — The task force will continue its second virtual meeting on Tuesday, May 26 from 7-9 p.m. Items on the agenda include the history of planning in Reston and elements of comprehensive planning. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Park-goers will be able to enjoy some features of county parks ahead of Memorial Day weekend.

The Fairfax County Park Authority has started reopening parking lots and parks in its park system beginning today. The process of clearing barricades and opening parking lots for its 427 parks is expected to continue through Friday, May 22. Facilities and restrooms will remain closed.

Indoor and outdoor parks closed roughly one month ago due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We greatly appreciate the patience and cooperation shown by County residents during this closure,” said Park Authority Executive Director Kirk Kincannon. “We understand this has been a challenge to many who enjoy the park system on a regular basis. And it will be important that everyone follows the safety and physical distancing guidelines recommended by health authorities.” 

Park visitors should adhere to social distancing guidelines and groups of more than 10 people should not congregate. Other areas that will remain closed include dog parks, playgrounds, nature centers, visitor centers, volleyball and basketball courts, and athletic fields. Water foundations will also be returned off.

The opening is part of the first phase of FCPA’s reopening plan.

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Virginia Reopening Starts Tomorrow — Although Northern Virginia will not reopen or another two weeks, the rest of Virginia will start the first reopening phase on Friday. Gatherings of more than 10 people remain banned and telework is encouraged when feasible. [Reston Patch]

Colvin Run Mill Churns Out New Products — “The 200-year-old Colvin Run Mill is set to begin selling its stone-ground products at the Reston Farmers Market. Fairfax County’s historic mill will be offering bags of cornmeal, white grits and soft, locally grown wheat flour that are produced using the technology of ages past. The mill is currently accepting phone orders for its products Sundays through Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.” [Fairfax County Government]

Summer Entertainment Series Canceled — The summer series by the Fairfax County Park Authority will be canceled through June due to the COVID-19 pandemic.The Park Authority and Park Foundation will be reaching out to performers and generous local sponsors as the park system plans for a phased reopening of the park system and evaluates all options to continue this series later this summer,” according to FCPA. [Fairfax County Government]

High Honors for Local Volunteer Serve Award Community Champion — “William “Bill” Farrell has been selected as the 2020 Fairfax County Volunteer Service Award Community Champion representing the Hunter Mill District. Each year, the Board of Supervisors selects an individual to be recognized for their commitment to promoting volunteerism within their community while addressing specific needs. For the past five years, Bill has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Shepherd’s Center.” [Volunteer Fairfax]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Reston Farmers Marke will open this weekend with new social distancing rules in place at Lake Anne Plaza.

But it may be a while before other farmers markets in the county, including the Herndon Farmers Market, welcome customers.

The Fairfax County Park Authority says that it will determine when and if it is safe to open other markets after it evaluates operations, staffing needs, volunteer resources and other conditions.

The Reston Farmers Market kicked off the 2020 season on May 9 and will continue to take place on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. The Mount Vernon/McCutcheon Farmers Market is set to begin on Wednesday, May 13 while the Burke Farmers Market is set to begin on Saturday, May 16.

Market shoppers should comply with safety guidelines and social distancing orders, including limiting no more than two family members in the market, wearing a face covering, and avoiding touching surfaces. No pets are allowed.

Photo via Photo by Anne Preble/Unsplash

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