Reston, VA

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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Local residents looking to get their farmers market fix and support small businesses can do so beginning next month.

Reston Farmers Market will return to the parking lot at Lake Anne Village Center on May 9 from 8 a.m. to noon. The Fairfax County Park Authority approved the opening of the market this week.

Organizers say the market will have a very different look and feel due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Layout stands will be spread out in order to practice social distancing at the parking lot (1609 Washington Plaza-W).

The following new rules are expected to be implemented:

  • Do not enter if sick
  • Keep at least six feet apart from other people
  • Everyone should wear a face mask or other facial covering
  • No pets are allowed
  • One customer at a stall at a time
  • Do not touch products and surfaces. Vendors should manage bag purchases
  • No on-site eating of purchases or sampling
  • Payment by credit or debit card preferred
  • Do not linger. Try to complete shopping as quickly as possible
  • Leave by designated exits only

“It will be important that all customers adhere to them in order to assure that the Reston Farmers Market be permitted to stay open to serve you and to protect the health and safety of everyone in the market,” said John Lovaas, co-market manager.

Opening dates for other farmers market in Fairfax County have not been determined, but are expected soon.

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Friday Morning Notes

Speeding Up Silver Line Extension Work — “Stay-home orders, and progress on software safety concerns, could help speed up work on the Silver Line extension to Dulles International Airport, since Metro now appears to be open to a complete multiweek shutdown of the Wiehle-Reston East station.” [WTOP]

Freeze Warning This Morning — A freeze warning is in effect until 9 a.m. today for much of the reason. We’re hoping you’ve taken steps to protect plants from the cold and prevent pipes from bursting. [National Weather Service]

Herndon Yoga Center Turns to Streaming — The Health Advantage Yoga. Center on 1041 Sterling Road in Herndon is offering a wide range of classes online since it closed its doors due to the novel coronavirus. [Patch]

County Park Authority Launches Virtual Exploration Center  The Fairfax County Park Authority has launched a new online center that offers field guides, games, video workouts and fitness trackers. County officials will continue to update the website with more resources. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Fairfax County announced today that it is closing both its indoor and outdoor parks “until further notice” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The health and wellbeing of our community, park visitors and staff remain our highest priority,” according to the county. “By limiting park usage to exercising on trails, we hope to reduce the largest crowd gatherings, thus improving the ability to social distance and prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Earlier this month, the county closed indoor parks for two weeks starting Monday, March 16. Yesterday, the county announced the closure of its playgrounds, skate parks and restrooms.

Now, all of the Fairfax County Park Authority parks will be closed by tomorrow night.

“This change is in response to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s order to close public access to recreational facilities,” according to the county.

The county’s full list of new closures include:

  • parking lots
  • athletic fields
  • sport courts
  • restrooms
  • nature centers
  • visitor centers
  • golf courses
  • historic sites
  • picnic areas
  • playgrounds
  • amusements
  • boat launches
  • skate parks
  • off-leash dog areas
  • outdoor fitness equipment
  • any areas for open recreation

Additionally, Park Authority programs and events through April 14 and programs at Fairfax County Public Schools through June 15 have been canceled.

People can still use the trails around Fairfax County as long as they keep 6 feet away from other people and don’t form groups.

“While all parks and amenities are closed, trails will remain open for individual use, but not group use,” the county said. “All social distancing recommendations are in effect.”

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Fairfax Connector Suspends Fares, Begins Rear Door Boarding — The bus service has temporarily suspended fare collection and all customers must enter and exit the bus using the rear doors. Fares will be suspended because fareboxes and SmarTrip equipment is at the front entrance of buses. Service continues in order to “serve Fairfax County residents who. Have no alternate way to travel during this emergency.” [Fairfax County Government]

Stonebridge Companies Acquires Residence Inn — The Denver-based company will manage the 168-room Residence Inn by Marriott in Herndon.  The hotel is located at 315 Elden Street. [Hotel Executive] 

Playgrounds, Parks, and Park Authority Restrooms Now Closed — “Effectively immediately, all Fairfax County Park Authority playgrounds, skate parks and restrooms will be closed until further notice. Portable restrooms will be placed near all bathrooms. Signs will be posted at all affected locations. Park visitors are asked to adhere to all closure notices and current social distancing recommendations.” [Fairfax County Government]

Herndon-Fish Offers Emergency Financial Help — “At least for the time being, we are making no changes in our criteria for providing assistance, and our operations remain in place to make this possible. Because our efforts related to providing emergency financial assistance are done by phone and online, we can carry out these activities without endangering the health of those involved. Changes in our revenue receipts or alterations in government policy could mandate that we alter these policies in the future, but they remain in place for now.” [Herndon-Reston Fish]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Friday Morning Notes

Fairfax County Park Authority Seeks Comment on Fee Increases — “The Fairfax County Park Authority will hold its annual public comment meeting on the agency’s proposed fee adjustments. The public is invited to share their perspectives on the proposals with the Park Authority Board either at the meeting, via correspondence or by email.” [Fairfax County Government]

New Trail Cycling Teen Ride Kicks Off with Free Class — “New Trail Cycling Studio, located at Lake Anne in Reston, is launching its teen program on January 22. Classes will be offered every Wednesday at 4pm for teens ages 12-17. ” [Patch]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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The Fairfax County Park Authority has launched an in-depth study of dog parks in the county.

The study will examine current and future needs for dog parks throughout the county and include strategies for long-term planning, development, and management.

Currently, FCPA is seeking feedback through an online survey, which is available through Dec. 15.

Residents can also submit comments via email at [email protected]

More information about the study is available online.

Photo by Jay Westcott

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Monday Morning Notes

Community Meeting on Lake Thoreau Project Today — Reston Association staff will meet with members to discuss future plans for the pool, which will be closed for the 2020 season. The meeting is set for 7 p.m. tonight (Monday) at RA headquarters. [Reston Association]

Metro’s Budget Proposal to Increase Fares, Restore Night Service —  “Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year would increase peak fares, offer a flat weekend fare and expand late-night service for the first time since a 2016 moratorium.” [The Washington Post]

Season Extended for Local Farmers Markets — “The Fairfax County Park Authority will extend the season at three farmers market locations; Burke, Reston, and McCutcheon/Mount Vernon Farmers Markets.” [Fairfax County Government]

Photo by Ray Copson

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Baron Cameron Park’s facilities have reopened after a death investigation last week prompted a brief closure.

Fairfax County police received a call around 1 p.m. last Tuesday (Sept. 3) about a dead body, a police spokesperson told Reston Now. Police conducted a death investigation and said that there was no threat to the public.

Judy Pedersen, a spokesperson for the Fairfax County Park Authority, told Reston Now that the park’s facilities were closed “for a short time on Friday” in connection with the police investigation.

Pedersen said as of yesterday (Monday) morning that the park’s facilities have now all reopened.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of self-harm, call 911 or the Department of Human Services’ emergency services line at 703-527-4077. 

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The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax Park has been named one of the region’s best waterparks by Washingtonian Magazine.

The publication, which made different selections based on the type of waterpark, wrote that the water mine was one of the best in the area for children between ages 7 and 11.

“Older children beeline for the three lengthy, winding water slides standing three stories tall,” the magazine wrote. “There’s also a log walk, a lazy river, more slides, and a splash area for younger kids.”

The Fairfax County Park Authority wrote the following about the waterpark:

The Water Mine captures the excitement of the Old West’s Gold Rush with themed attractions including more than an acre of slides, flumes, sprays, showers, floatables, and an interactive water playground. Kids can careen off covered wagons, float on wild animals, dash through showers tipped from water-filled ore carts, or float along the Rattlesnake River, a 725-foot lazy river. The centerpiece is Pete’s Peak, a craggy mountain featuring water slides of various size and intensity. 

Although the water mine will be open tomorrow (Friday) from noon to 6 p.m., it goes to the dogs with a season-ending event on Saturday (September 7) to benefit the Fairfax County Animal Shelter and the Fairfax County Park Foundation.

Photo via FCPA

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The Fairfax County Park Authority is honoring John Foong for a major environmental project at Frying Pan Farm Park.

Foong received the 2019 Sally Ormsby Environmental Stewardship Award for creating and implementing an ambitious plan to remove invasive plants and replace them with native plants.

The student, who describes himself as an avid naturalist, worked five separate workdays to oversee 150 volunteers as they removed 120 large bags of stilt grass.

Volunteers came from ten different Fairfax County Public Schools and ranged in age from 5 to 80.

The project was developed as part of Foong’s efforts to earn a Boy Scouts of America William Hornaday Award.

He will be honored by FCPA in November.

The award was established in 2007 in recognition of Sally Ormsby’s service as a citizen steward. It recognizes individuals and organizations “whose actions embody the spirit and values of stewardship and result in tangible environmental benefits.”

Photo via FCPA

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