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).
Heat Wave Continues — It was hot over the weekend and high temperatures are expected to get into the 90s again for the next couple days. Fairfax County wants residents to be aware of the dangers of extreme heat. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/Fairfax County Emergency Information]
Volunteers Still Needed for ‘Taste’ — Organizers of the Taste of Reston, scheduled for this weekend at Reston Town Center, say they are still in need of some volunteers for Friday and Saturday night shifts. [Taste of Reston]
Utility Work Starts Tomorrow Night — Crews will be doing utility relocation work at the main entrance to the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride, located at the intersection of Sunrise Valley Drive and Roark Street. The work is expected to be take about three weeks. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]
Park Authority Unveils Web Feature — Fairfax County parks including nearby Frying Pan Farm Park and Riverbend Park are part of a new interactive webpage that includes photos, videos and more. [Fairfax County Park Authority]
Appian Going Public — Reston-based software developer Appian Corp. has filed for an IPO, making it the first DC-area company to do so in 2017. They are looking to raise up to $86.25 million. [Washington Business Journal]
Reston Expo Event Coming Up — Reston Association’s Home and Garden Expo is slated for Saturday, May 13. It will feature a variety of interior and exterior home improvement vendors and retailers; music, workshops and kids’ activities; and food trucks on site. [Reston Association]
Herndon PD Plans Another Coffee Meetup — HPD officers will meet informally with community members Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Guapo’s (1042 Elden St.). [Herndon Police/Twitter]
County Park Authority Readying for Eclipse — A solar eclipse Aug. 21 is expected to cover 80 percent of the sun in Fairfax County. County parks are partnering with schools and libraries to provide eclipse learning opportunities. [Fairfax County Park Authority]
The event at Lake Fairfax Park is one of nine around the county scheduled for 9-11:30 a.m. April 1. The cleanup effort is a partnership between the Park Authority and The Nature Conservancy to attempt to prevent trash from reaching the Chesapeake Bay, the nation’s largest estuary.
Snacks, giveaways and other incentives will be offered to volunteers.
For more details or to register, visit the Fairfax County Park Authority website.
Photo via Fairfax County Park Authority
Also on the ballot is a county park bonds question. If that referendum passes, it will provide $94.7 million for the Fairfax County Park Authority.
Here’s the question posed to voters:
Shall the Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County, Virginia, contract a debt, borrow money and issue bonds, in addition to bonds previously authorized for parks and park facilities, in the maximum aggregate principal amount of $107,000,000:
(i) $94,700,000 principal amount to finance the Fairfax County
Park Authority’s cost to acquire, construct, develop and equip additional parks and park facilities, to preserve open-space land, and to develop and improve existing parks and park
and (ii) $12,300,000 principal amount for Fairfax County’s contribution to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority to
acquire, construct, develop and equip parks and park facilities?
Bonds are one of the main funding mechanisms for the park authority. Park fees cover about 60 percent of all park operating costs. The remaining operating funds are derived from taxpayer contributions, including developer proffers.
The sale of bonds helps Fairfax County spread the cost over the years that the facilities are used. Fairfax County has a AAA Bond rating, which ensures low interest on the loans.
The Park Authority is currently operating under a plan of $15M bond sale for FY 2017, and increasing that amount to $18.5M in FY 2018.
If passed, this will be the third bond program of the last 10 years for the park authority. The last bond referendum was in 2012; the park authority says it is still in the process of allocating that $63 million. Of that $63M, the park authority has sold $14.8M, leaving a current balance of $48.2M in bonds authorized, but unissued.
With a bond sale coming up in January, the park authority anticipates that an additional $15M will be sold, reducing the available balance to $33.2M.
The park authority says the 2016 bond would be allocated this way: 56 percent for park renovations and upgrades; 28 percent for new park development; 8 percent for natural and cultural resources stewardship; and 7 percent for land acquisition and open space preservation.
See more about the bonds and some of the improvements planned by the park authority on the Fairfax County Park Authority website.
Graphic courtesy of Fairfax County Park Authority
That’s what officials want to know as they conduct a community survey this fall and make recommendations in Spring 2017.
The Park Authority will hold a public information meeting on Wednesday to present information on its systemwide study that will guide future redevelopment and growth of the RECenter system throughout the county. The meeting is at 7 p.m. in Conference Room 106/107 of the Herrity Building, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax.
This meeting is an opportunity to learn more about the study, how to provide input into the study and how to stay informed of the study’s progress, says Park Authority Chair Bill Bouie.
Last year’s Needs Assessment Survey revealed that residents put a high priority on recreational facilities and see a general need for upgrades across the park system.
The Park Authority has hired Brailsford & Dunlavey, Inc. (B&D), CENTERS, and Hughes Group Architects (HGA) to develop a system-wide sustainability plan for the RECenters. The project team will look at potential future operational and facility improvements that effectively and efficiently help to meet the indoor recreation needs of Fairfax County residents, Bouie said.
A Community Interest Survey will be conducted later this month. The survey will be distributed to RECenter users and pass holders and other Fairfax County residents.
A second public meeting will be scheduled this winter.
Bouie said Reston is still on track to get an indoor recreation facility in the Reston Town Center North area during that area’s future redevelopment.
Reston’s Lake Fairfax Park is about to get a new outdoor amenity: a pump bike track near the Lake Fairfax soccer fields.
A pump track is a continuous loop of dirt berms and “rollers” (smooth dirt mounds) that you ride without pedaling. The name comes from the pumping motion used by the rider’s upper and lower body as he or she rides around the track, say Fairfax County Park Authority officials.
Pump tracks are suitable for cyclists of all ages and skill levels, and almost any bicycle will work, including BMX bikes, mountain bikes, and kids bikes.
The pump track is being built by MORE (Mid-Atlantic Mountain Biking Enthusiasts). Funding for the project was provided through a grant from PeopleForBikes.org and donations raised from The Bike Lane, The Bike Lane Race Team, and the Capital ‘Cross Classic.
Lake Fairfax will hold a ribbon cutting for the track on Oct. 8.
There are some other improvements heading to the park:
Stream Restoration — A new pedestrian bridge is scheduled for construction as part of the Colvin Run restoration project now underway.
This project will restore 1,700 feet of Colvin Run below the Lake Fairfax dam, and almost 500 feet of tributaries. It will also provide better access to the stream for recreation and environmental education but protect banks from excessive foot traffic that can kill vegetation and cause erosion.
Project construction is scheduled to run from Sept. 16, 2016 to May 26, 2017. During this time the stream below the lake dam will be fenced off. Road and bridge construction will require Lake Fairfax Drive across Colvin Run below the dam to be closed from Jan. 1 to Mar. 31, 2017.
Campground Improvements: Lake Fairfax’s campground is getting a new bathhouse that meets modern-day standards for efficiency and accessibility. The restroom near the picnic area is also being replaced.
The current bathhouse closed Aug. 15 and will reopen on May 26, 2017. The picnic area restroom is also now closed and will reopen in May 2017.
The park authority’s “Women Unplugged” Weekend is Sept. 3 and 4.
Here’s the deal: Participants in the program, which runs from 8 a.m. Saturday to 2 p.m. Sunday, will kayak from Algonkian Park to Riverbend Park and have an outdoor dinner with a bonfire. Bring a tent and spend the night under the stars or “camp out” in the FCPA Nature Center.
On Sunday, participants will explore birds, edible plants, and learn to shoot a bow and arrow.
Cost is $200; most meals included.
For more details, visit Parktakes online.
Reston 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.” (more…)