Reston, VA

The Fairfax County Park Authority is one step closer to planning for more dog parks in the county due to an increase in demand and the authority’s currently limited offerings.

The county recently completed a draft of a dog park study, which was initiated in 2019 and aims to assess needs and priorities for dog parks throughout the county. Feedback was gathered from a survey with more than 4,600 respondents and the study was conducted by FCPA and the Fairfax County Park Foundation.

“The purpose of the study was to assess needs and priorities for dog parks throughout the county, and to adopt strategies for long-term planning, development and management of dog parks,” FCPA wrote in a statement.

The report calls on FCPA to construct at least one dog park by 2025 in order to meet service needs in the area. Survey respondents most sought a new dog park in the planning districts of Upper Potomac and Bull Run.

Revised guidelines and standards to plan for future dog parks would also be implemented.

The county currently has 13 public dog parks, 11 of which are owned and operated by FCPA.

Future parks would be created based on geographic distribution and the overall guideline of 20-minute drive access throughout the county and 10-minute walking access in densely populated areas. The density of licensed dogs would also be considered as part of future planning efforts.

However, the study does not recommend any changes to existing dog park rules or operating hours.

Volunteering could also become a stronger component of managing dog parks. The report suggests using volunteers to manage existing and future programs more efficiently.

A virtual meeting on the draft report is set for Tuesday, March 23 at 7 p.m. A staff presentation on the findings and recommendations of the report will be followed by a public comment period.

Other recommendations circled around operations and maintenance. While the county found that maintenance standards and practices are consistent with other jurisdictions, a need for more regular maintenance — particularly waste management — was needed.

Others also flagged the need for more water sources, rule enforcement, and shade.

Comments will be accepted via email through April 23.

Photo 1 by Jay Westcott; map via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Fairfax County Park Authority Issues Warning About Scam — The Fairfax County Park Authority is warning Facebook users about a targeted scam that uses the FCPA logo and a misspelled version of Fairfax County to friend request and message people that they’ve won a prize. [FCPA]

Frying Pan Farm Park Seeks Job Applicants — The farm is currently hiring for three part-time positions. Candidates will work up to 30 hours per week, including some weekends and evenings. [Fairfax County Government]

Vienna Firm Acquires Reston Company — With demand for IT services and cybersecurity on the rise, Vienna’s Criterion Systems has expanded its portfolio into the intelligence space with its acquisition of Reston’s Realm Consulting. [Washington Business Journal]

Virginia Moves Ahead in COVID-19 Vaccine Goal — “In early January we set a goal of administering at least 50,000 doses of #COVID19 vaccine per day. Today, our daily average is over 51,300 shots and nearly 16% of Virginians have received at least one dose. While we still have a lot of work ahead of us, this is great progress.” [Gov. Ralph Northam/Twitter]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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The county is seeking to gauge the public’s support for pickleball, a new and rapidly expanding paddleball sport that combines elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis.

The Fairfax County Park Authority has launched an online survey to gauge support for new pickleball activities. The survey is open through Jan. 24. County officials say they’ve received multiple requests to expand the number of pickleball facilities in its parks, recreation centers, and community centers.

The game was invented in 1965 by two dads in Washington who wanted to entertain their kids and use an old badminton court.

A feasibility study is underway on how to address the desire for the sport, identify sites for possible improvements or new facilities, and develop criteria and design guidance used for selecting and constructing pickleball amenities.

The parks at Stratton Woods and Stuart Road (12001 Lake Newport Road) have pickleball facilities. A map of other options available in the county is linked here. Reston Association’s tennis courts also offer some options for pickleball enthusiasts, who appear to be growing in number.

The county’s feasibility study will be completed by the spring of 2021. Currently, the county has 15 parks with either a tennis or basketball court lined for pickleball. Within these parks, there are 28 courts available to play the game.

Photo via Joan Azeka/Unsplash

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Friday Morning Notes

Be Wary of Icy Conditions The county is advising residents to be wary of icy patches and slippery spots on roads and sidewalks this morning until temperatures rise later today. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

New Process for Requesting Park Programs Now Available — ”The Park Authority has a new program request form that makes it easy to register for personalized programs for birthdays, scout gatherings, school enrichment and family fun in parks throughout Fairfax County.” [Fairfax County Park Authority]

Reston HR Services Contractor In the Spotlight — ”Golden Key Group LLC (GKG) scored a major feather in its cap Wednesday with a contract to provide the Department of Commerce’s human resources information technology services — but that’s just the start for the company, executives said.” [Washington Business Journal]

Photo by Doug Errett

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Tuesday Morning Notes

FCPA Director Retires After 40 Years — “Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) Executive Director Kirk Kincannon announced his retirement this week, ending his tenure with the award-winning agency effective Feb. 12, 2021. Kincannon, a seasoned parks and recreation professional with four decades of national experience.” [Fairfax County Government]

‘HOPE’ Letters on Display at Reston. Hospital Center — A new installation with the word “Hope” is on display at the entrance of Reston Hospital. Center. [COVID-19 U.S. Honor Quilt]

Updates on Vaccine in Fairfax County — The county offers information on the COVID-19 vaccine, which is an mRNA vaccine.  These vaccines teach our cells to make a protein that triggers an immune response in our bodies. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

 

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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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