An environment-focused nonprofit has raked in funding for long-awaited community garden plots at Bruin Park.
The Fairfax County Park Authority Board approved a funding request from the Herndon Environmental Network (HEN) for $20,000 at its Nov. 14 meeting.
HEN will use the grant money to help develop 40 garden plots on the west side of the tennis courts at the park, which is located at 415 Van Buren Street. The plan also includes adding fencing to protect the plots and accessible trails, according to a county press release.
The project’s budget totals $42,496.22 — a combination of the grant money with a $7,966.06 cash contribution and $14,530.16 of in-kind donations from HEN.
Plans for the community garden sprouted several years ago.
The Master Plan for Bruin Park was amended in January 2014 to allow for community garden plots. In April 2017, an agreement between HEN, the Town of Herndon — which owns the park — and the Park Authority authorized HEN to develop, manage and maintain community garden plots at the park, according to the press release.
HEN is set to celebrate the grant award at the monthly Bruin Park Community Garden planning meeting — free and open to the public — at 7 p.m. on Dec. 13 at the Herndon Fortnightly Library.
The historic designation debate — In this opinion piece, the writer explores two historic designation issues in Herndon and Reston. [Greater Greater Washington]
Trout fishing season is here — You heard that right. The Fairfax County Park Authority invites you to fish for trout at Lake Fairfax Park. Season passes are available. [Fairfax County Park Authority]
Tishman Speyer sheds some land — The Pinkard Group paid $3.15M to acquire the 3.3-acre parcel at the corner of the Dulles Toll Road and Monroe Street in Herndon, part of the Woodland Park East development, from Tishman Speyer. [Bisnow]
Climate change in schools — Well, not in schools. The Fairfax County School Board passed a resolution last night calling on state and federal action on climate change. [Fairfax County Public Schools]
In the time machine — Flavors of Fall brought beer, wine, food and fun to Reston Town Center last weekend. Mercia Hobson offers a recap here. [The Connection]
Photo by Lindi Mallison
Local police continue to investigate several recent incidents in the last several days, including the apparent double murder and suicide that happened in Herndon last week.
As we reported, police believe Noera Ayaz, a 42-year-old attorney, killed her sons and then turned the gun on herself. Funeral services for the three family members were held late last week.
The Fairfax County Police Department is also continuing to investigate an attempted malicious wounding that happened on September 5 on the 2400 block of Centreville Road. A man driving a car shot another man who was riding a bicycle with a gun. Police said the two men knew each and other had been fighting earlier before the incident occurred. No injuries were reported.
In a separate incident, local police are also seeking leads to help identify a man after a public exposure incident happened on the 1600 block of Hiddenbrook Road. The man exposed himself to two teenage girls, according to police.
The police department also reported the following incidents in recent days:
2500 block of Centreville Road, wallet from location
9800 block of Georgetown Pike, backpack from vehicle
2100 block of Monaghan Drive, purse from vehicle
1800 block of Presidents Street, wallet from location
11800 block of Spectrum Center, laptop computer from business
2400 block of Centreville Road, stolen bicycle
11500 block of Leesburg Pike, beer from business
10700 block of Park Ridge Boulevard, laptop computers from business
13100 block of Parcher Avenue, cigarettes from business
1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, keys from vehicle
11500 block of Leesburg Pike, beer from business
1900 block of Sagewood Lane, cash and keys from residence
11100 block of South Lakes Drive, merchandise from business
11800 block of Spectrum Center, laptop computers from business
The county’s deer management archery program also began late last week. Overseen by the local police department, in collaboration with the Fairfax County Park Authority and NOVA Parks, the archery program will take place in parks and other locations in the county. The program ends on February 23, 2019.
Piqued by a plan to increase Reston’s population density in select areas, residents pressed county officials to identify specific athletic field options and open space commitments at a work session this week.
During the meeting, the 10-member panel, which included representatives from Reston Association, the Coalition for a Planned Reston and three county officials, discussed how the county plans to ensure future development in and around Reston’s future urban core will incorporate athletic fields and open, community spaces.
While citizen members lauded the county’s efforts to work with developers, some noted that county plans lacked specific assurances on how and when broad commitments would come to reality.
The meeting is the second in a series of work sessions on topics of concern raised by local residents and community organizations as the county mulls a plan to increase Reston’s population density in its Planned Residential Community district planned from 13 to 16 people per acre.
County officials said planning processes are in place to ensure athletic fields and open space requirements are met. Generally, once major developments are built and occupied overtime and needs are generated through pressure created by development, specific requirements for athletic fields will kick in.
However, they remained mum about the location of future athletic fields, noting that negotiations with developers are ongoing and that, once property owners learn a land is being considered for an athletic field, the property’s price is often hiked considerably.
Asked by a member to point to possible locations for fields, Fred Selden, the director of the county’s planning and zoning department, said, “Right now, we can’t.”
In Reston, one athletic field is required for each Transit Station Area and nine are required outside the TSA areas. Upgrades to existing fields may also be considered. Thus far, the developers have committed $10.3 million to go toward athletic fields in the greater Reston area.
So far, funds have remained untouched.
Others called on county officials to aggressively push developers of major mixed-use proposals — like the 36-acre Reston Crescent project — to identify specific plans for athletic fields.
“Those are the examples where the community feels we were being passed by in some way, shape or form,” said Larry Butler, RA’s Acting CEO.
Dennis Hays, president of the Reston Citizens Association, said he was concerned no immediate plans were on the table.
“Everything that we keep talking about is down the road,” Hays, who led the meeting, said.
Andrea Dorlester, manager of the county’s park planning branch, said the county has been aggressive in pushing developers to identify plans for nearly two years. When working with Brookfield, the developer of the Reston Crescent, county staff said they rejected a proposal by the developer to include a small athletic field suitable for children up to the age of eight.
Now, the plan, which is barreling towards final approval later this month, includes a proposal for the developer to purchase seven acres outside the property and convey it to the Fairfax County Park Authority.
Part of the challenge in securing athletic fields is that Reston’s master plan does not mandate the creation of athletic fields in Reston’s planned downtown core, officials said.
As additional development waits in the pipeline, others worry that challenge may already be difficult to overcome. One question, they say, hovers: As land becomes limited in the area, where will the future athletic fields go?
A matching grant of $4,500 was given in response to a request from the Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park. New jumps and poles will replace existing equipment that is old and heavy.
In a statement, park officials indicated the new jumps will “address concerns about the difficulty of moving the existing jumps.” The Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park will contribute matching funds to complete the project, which is expected to cost around $9,000.
Since 1999, more than 170 Mastenbrook Grant projects have been approved. The Fairfax County Park Authority’s program provides limited matching funds for projects in local parks.
Fairfax County officials are seeking comments from the public on planned revisions to Lake Fairfax Park’s Master Plan on Wednesday, June 20 at 7 p.m. at South Lakes High School.
Proposed updates to the plan include adding parcels added to the park since the plan was last updated more than 15 years ago, possible changes to park facilities and the institution of a framework that guides the park’s future development.
After the meeting, the county will seek the park authority’s approval of the plan his summer. Revisions to the plan were prompted by the county’s purchase of three new parcels and the need to “plan the park using a holistic approach as opposed to incremental individual improvements,” according to the county.
A previous public information meeting was held in November.
A county presentation will be followed by an opportunity for community members to comment on the proposal. Residents can sign up to speak by calling 703-324-8662 or emailing [email protected].
Map by Fairfax County Government
RA Board of Directors To Set Next Year’s Budget Tonight — Reston Association’s board of directors will meet at 6:30 p.m. at RA headquarters to discuss a broad swath of motions, including capital and operating budgets for next year. The meeting can be viewed live here. [Reston Assocation]
Purchase Poinsettias for South Lakes High School Seniors Graduation Party — Decorate your home and office this holiday season with poinsettias. SLHS is raising money to finance an all-night seniors graduation party. Orders must be received by Nov. 21 and will be ready for pick-up from SLHS on Dec. 1. Medium bundles are $15, large bundles are $25 and a hanging basket is $30. [SLHS]
Cleveland Browns Sign Reston Native Deon King to Active Roster — The 6-0, 220 pound second-year player out of Norfolk State was originally signed by Dallas as an undrafted free agent. He appeared in four games for the browns this season while spending five weeks in the practice squad. [247 Sports]
Drones on Parkland: What Do You Think? — The Fairfax County Park Authority is seeking public input on the possibility of expanding the use of drones on county parkland. During the first half of the year, the authority launched an internal study on the topic. Currently, drone pilots can take off and land at Poplar Ford Park only. The authority is considering expanding to other parks. The meeting will take place on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. at Oak View Elementary School. [FCPA]
Edits made Oct. 31: A list of problem areas that was previously included in this article were addressed in the 2001 Master Plan Revision. Officials are currently looking to identify new potential issues and areas for improvement for another revision.
As the popularity of Reston’s Lake Fairfax Park grows, the county’s Park Authority invites citizens to a meeting this Wednesday, Nov. 1 to discuss planned changes and improvements to the park as part of its Master Plan Revision.
Lake Fairfax Park is home to a large number of recreational opportunities that attract visitors from not only within Reston and greater Fairfax County, but also throughout Northern Virginia. Some of those features include the 20-acre lake with fishing and boating rentals, the popular Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole water park, picnic areas, athletic fields, a skate park, a carousel, tent and RV camping grounds, walking trails and a playground.
In total, the park is currently around 479 acres, but only about one-third of that acreage is currently developed, according to the Master Plan Revision documents. However, much of that acreage is largely restricted from being developed due to environmental obstacles like “unsuitable soils, excessive slope and vegetative cover.” The report indicates some of that vegetative cover could include Virginia pines, Chestnut and White Oak trees that could be as much as a hundred years old, not to mention the animals and insects that call the wooded areas home.
“All of these cover types provide housing, food and other resources needed by animals and insects. Some of the plants contributing to the habitat are unusual in their own right,” they said.
Not to mention, proximity to all of that green space spells out increased home values in the surrounding neighborhoods as well–as long as it is kept in check, that is.
“The majority of this section of forest remains contiguous, and therefore very valuable as habitat,” they said. “However, even a forest this large will suffer from entropy and will need energy input in the form of active human management. This management is necessary to prevent the incursion of invasive exotic plants or damage from insects like Gypsy moth.”
In addition, the documents indicate that a walking survey of the land back in 1979 revealed at least three Native American sites on which stone debris was found, which they believed to come from old stone tools–one of which was quite remarkable, they said.
“One site yielded a fragment of a projectile point that probably dates from 3,000 to 6,000 years ago,” they reported, adding that there is great likelihood that there could be more sites within the Lake Fairfax Park acreage.
Officials say they want to revisit the park’s Master Plan and discuss what residents would most like to see added to, changed or improved upon in respect to the overall park.
“The plan will address new conceptual development, describing what facilities should be developed based on a variety of factors, how they fit into the established plan, where they will be constructed and how these facilities will be operated in conjunction with other areas of the park and existing uses,” officials explained in related documents.
Residents are invited to a public information meeting this Wednesday at 7 p.m. at South Lakes High School, Lecture Hall 333, 11400 South Lakes Dr. in Reston, when background on the Master Plan Revision and the park itself will be presented before turning to a discussion and question-and-answer period between the audience and staff.
Those who are not able to attend but would like to offer feedback can do so by sending e-mail to [email protected] The public comment period officially ends on Friday, Dec. 1.
Images of Lake Fairfax Park courtesy of Fairfax County
The Fairfax County Park Authority has released the draft version of its latest Parks & Recreation System Master Plan and is inviting the public to give its feedback.
The park system master planning process was first initiated with the 1993 Recreation Demand Study. The plan has been revised several times over the years, most recently in 2011.
According to the Park Authority website, the revisions to the 2011 plan were deemed necessary because a “revision is undertaken when the park system or its surrounding community have notably changed. This is the case with the Fairfax County park system.”
The Park Authority says “[m]any of the strategies detailed in the 2011 plan have been completed despite funding challenges” and “[a]dditional improvements or system changes have also been made where possible in order to address emerging community needs.”
Principles in the “Great Parks, Great Communities” plan include to inspire a passion for parks, meet changing recreation needs, advance park system excellence, strengthen and foster partnerships; be equitable and inclusive; be great stewards; and promote healthy lifestyles.
The goals include to improve and promote natural resource protection and management; ensure protection, conservation, preservation and interpretation of cultural resources; improve access and opportunities for healthy and active lifestyles; enhance and maintain park system quality and condition; advance as an innovative, responsive and adaptable organization; and provide sustainable financial management to advance the Park Authority mission.
Residents are encouraged to read over the plan and submit comments by email to [email protected], the comment box on the Park Authority website during a public input meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 12 from 7-9 p.m. at Green Springs Gardens (4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria).
Comments can be submitted through Sept. 22.
Graphic via Fairfax County Park Authority
Library Book Sale This Weekend — The Friends of the Reston Regional Library back-to-school book sale began Thursday and will last through Sunday. All books were donated, and all proceeds benefit the library and library programs. [Friends of the Reston Regional Library]
Registration Underway for Herndon Parks Programs — Town of Herndon residents can now sign up for fall classes from the town’s Parks and Recreation Department. Others can start signing up Aug. 22. [Herndon Parks & Rec]
Reston Brothers Develop Anti-Stress Powder — Christian, Mark and Paul D’Andrea have developed StressKiller, a powdered drink mix featuring stress-relief supplements. GNC has signed on to sell the product, as has a major drugstore chain. [Washington Business Journal]
Solar Eclipse is Monday — The Fairfax County Park Authority says if you want to enjoy the eclipse as much as possible, you should arrive at viewing locations early and be ready with your eyewear. [Fairfax County Park Authority]
Locally, the Fairfax County Park Authority wants to make sure they’re doing it safely.
The first total solar eclipse over the continental United States in 38 years will reach us at 2:42 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 21. In Fairfax County, about 80 percent of the sun will be blocked by moon. The full solar eclipse will be taking place at that time in South Carolina.
NASA warns that the only safe way to view the sun, even when it is partially eclipsed, is with the use of special-purpose solar filters or hand-held solar viewers. The American Astronomical Society has provided a list of reputable vendors for these glasses.
Every child who attended one of the Park Authority’s Adventures Away Rec-PAC camps this week received a pair of solar-viewing glasses courtesy the Fairfax County Park Foundation. Remaining glasses will be made available to the public at select parks, where a donation can help cover the costs.
Fairfax County also has numerous events planned for watching the eclipse, including on Burke Lake and Lake Accotink.
Graphic via NASA
Live Music for National Night Out — Tonight’s National Night Out activities at Lake Anne Plaza will include an acoustic performance by Alex Perez at 5:30 p.m., a DJ and the Emotion Dance and Fitness Studio from 6-8 p.m., and an 8 p.m. show from Cinema Hearts. There will also be kids’ activities and BOGO Krazy Kustard Shakes at Kustard & Co. (1631 Washington Plaza N.). [Press Release]
State of Environment Report OK’d by RA Board — The summary, produced by Reston Association’s Environmental Advisory Committee, is part of a new effort to publish an annual report on the state and management of the environment in Reston. The working group, which is comprised of nine members, spent over 1,000 combined volunteer hours compiling data. [Reston Association]
Best Ice Cream Sandwiches in DC Area — In its list of the top gooey goodies in the region, Washingtonian magazine has a recommendation for those going to Ted’s Bulletin (11948 Market St.): ask for an ice cream sandwich made with their housemade pop-tarts. [Washingtonian]
Registration Begins Today for Fall Parks Programs — Classes at Fairfax County parks, available in numerous recreational categories, begin Sept. 5. [Fairfax County Park Authority]
Is Your Pet Prepared? — Fairfax County officials want to make sure residents are not only thinking about emergency preparedness plans for the family, but for pets as well. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown’ — With heavy rains expected today and Saturday, the possibility of flash flooding exists. County officials are reminding residents that cars should not be driven through flooded roadways. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
Police Seek Suspect in Vienna Stabbing — Fairfax County Police have been searching since Thursday morning for the suspect in a stabbing that took place near the Vienna Metro station. The victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The suspect is a male of unknown race, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, with a medium build, and a light- to medium-brown complexion. He was wearing a black, hooded shirt pulled over his head. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Deadline for Cardboard Boat Registration Nears — The first Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta is coming up Aug. 12, and the last day to get a boat registered for the event is Tuesday. [Reston Museum]
New Name Coming for J.E.B. Stuart High — By 2019, the Falls Church school named after a Confederate general will have its name changed. The Fairfax County School Board voted last night to make it happen. [NBC Washington]
Connolly: Trump’s Boy Scout Speech Shameful — In a letter to the national president of the Boy Scouts of America, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) says the BSA should denounce the speech President Trump gave recently at the National Scout Jamboree. Connolly says Trump’s politicized rhetoric “directly contradicted the spirit of Scouting and the tenets of Boy Scout Law.” [The Hill]
Synthetic Soccer Field Coming to Great Falls — The $1.3 million project at Great Falls Nike Park (1089 Utterback Store Road) includes the conversion of an existing grass field to a synthetic turf field, a trail, storm drainage facilities, landscaping, field lighting and related improvements. [Fairfax County Park Authority]
The Fairfax County Park Authority is inviting kids and adults alike to learn more about the county’s history and potentially win prizes in the process.
The Discovery Trail Map activity invites participants to visit and explore 12 parks across the county in celebration of its 275th anniversary. There are multiple ways to get involved in the distribution of prizes for participation, which will continue through Labor Day.
- Anyone who visits eight of the 12 sites, collecting special stickers at each one, will receive a prize packet containing nine tickets to summer park activities. The prize packet is valued at $93.
- Everyone who qualifies for the prize pack is also entered in a drawing to win a bicycle and safety helmet. Four winners will be chosen.
- Lord Fairfax VI, the county’s namesake, will be “visiting” parks on the Discovery Trail. Anyone who posts a selfie with him on Instagram using the hashtag #WhereIsLordFairfax will be eligible to win a choice of two RECenter passes or two mini golf passes valid at any FCPA RECenter or mini golf course. One winner will be chosen each week. Follow the Park Authority’s Facebook page for clues about Lord Fairfax’s whereabouts.
Discovery Trail Maps are available at any staffed Fairfax County park, RECenter, nature center, historic site and golf course. They are also available at any Fairfax County Public Library and all five Northern Virginia Spokes Etc. stores, while supplies last. They can also be downloaded from the Park Authority website.
Parents or guardians of youth bike winners, along with one adult bike winner, will be notified by email or by phone. Winners will be publicly announced in September.
For more information, call 703-324-8662.
Image courtesy Fairfax County Park Authority
There are some big events this weekend in Fairfax County, highlighted locally by the 27th annual Taste of Reston festival, tonight (3-11 p.m.) and Saturday (noon to 11 p.m.) at Reston Town Center.
The event is put on by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and features fine cuisine, family activities, live entertainment, beer and wine, cooking demonstrations from local chefs, and much more. Parking at Reston Town Center is free all day today and Saturday.
Down in Fairfax on Saturday, the county will be celebrating its 275th anniversary with a big event at the Historic County Courthouse (4000 Chain Bridge Road). Lord Nicholas Fairfax, a direct descendant of the county’s name-bearer, will be the guest of honor during the event, which will also include live entertainment, children’s activities, historical presentations and much more. The event is slated for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
And if you’re looking for something to do with dad this Father’s Day, the Fairfax County Park Authority has you covered:
- Take dad to the Antique Car Show at Sully Historic Site (3650 Historic Sully Way, Chantilly) from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Come see more than 400 antique and classic cars. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $7 for children.
- Dads can tour the mill at Colvin Run (10017 Colvin Run Rd, Great Falls) for free on Sunday when they bring one of their kids. The tours will run from noon to 3:00 p.m.
- Dads and kids between ages 2 and 6 can pretend to be penguins, wolfs and beavers as they learn about dads in the wild at the Hidden Oaks Center (7701 Royce Street, Annandale). The program is from 1:30-2:30 p.m. and costs $6 per child.
That’s far from all there is to do this weekend, though. Here is just a sampling of the many events you can enjoy:
- Reston Station’s “Summerbration” series continues tonight at 7 p.m. with a free concert by The Bad Influence Band. Tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m., visit for a free outdoor showing of “Bad Moms” on the plaza. The Summerbration events outside the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station will continue through the end of August. (Note: To receive free parking for these events, parking tickets need to be validated by personnel on the plaza. Find the sign that reads “Parking Validation Here.”)
- The Reston Farmers Market will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Lake Anne Village Center.
- Terraset Elementary School (11411 Ridge Heights Road) will have its first student-run farmers market event from 4:30-6:30 p.m. today.
- Reston Town Square Park will be hosting Nicolo the Jester as a part of their Family Fun Entertainment Series Saturday morning at 10 a.m., for a free show. It’ll be fun for all ages as Nicolo brings a blend of poetry, music, juggling, comedy, character acting and audience participation.
- This Sunday at 7 p.m., the Shenandoah Conservatory Brass Quintet will be performing at Reston Town Square Park as a part of the Sunday Art In The Park series. The group will be playing selections spanning from Handel to Fats Waller.
- Reston Museum (1639 Washington Plaza N.) is hosting is “Reston Stories” exhibit through July. The Reston Historic Trust and Museum has been collecting residents’ stories and preserving them for future generations. The collection includes stories about volunteering in Reston, the Fountain at Lake Anne Plaza, the early history of Reston and the amazing connections we make in our community.
- Work out with Athleta in the Reston Town Center Pavilion Sunday morning from 11 a.m. to noon.
- Lake Anne is hosting Sunday Yoga on the Plaza each week, at 9:30 a.m.
- Tonight from 7-8 p.m. at Walker Nature Center (11450 Glade Drive), bring the kids out for the Walking Stick Workshop. Prices are $7 for children, $9 for adults.
- Tavern64 (1800 Presidents St.) continues its series of live music tonight from 6-10 p.m. Afterward, let the live music continue at Crafthouse (1888 Explorer St.) from 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
- “Urinetown: The Musical” is being performed at NextStop Theatre Company (269 Sunset Park Drive) through June 25. Performances this weekend are tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. and a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday. General admission tickets start at $40.
- “Radcliffe Bailey: The Great Dismal Swamp” remains on display at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.) through August.
- Kalypso’s (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will have live music tonight at 9:30 p.m.
- Vinifera Wine Bar and Bistro (11750 Sunrise Valley Drive) has live music from 7-10 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night. This weekend’s performers are Jason Morton (Friday) and Jason Masi (Saturday).