A business acting as a trading post for outdoor gear is ramping up for a big unveil in Herndon.
The business is focused on backpacking, camping and hiking gear and features brands such as Arcade Belts, Cotopaxi, Gregory, National Geographic Maps and Rumpl.
It’s been operating by appointment only but will have its grand opening from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16. Once open, it will have store hours fr0m that same timespan Tuesdays through Saturdays.
“When people ask why we decided to open Good Wolf Gear, the truth is that we were inspired by our friends: they helped set up our first tent; they shared their scary stories around the campfire; and they let us dig into their Dutch Oven breakfasts while we struggled to get our contacts in,” owners Margaret Kim and Tana Sarntinoranont say on the Good Wolf Gear website.
The owners say they created Good Wolf Gear for those friends and anyone else willing to share those experiences while helping people become better stewards of nature. That’s why they prefer reselling items — to keep them from landfills.
“I hope we can inspire people to connect with a part of nature they never even knew existed,” store manager Spencer Horn says in a news release. “Ultimately, we’re storytellers, and we want to inspire others to become storytellers as well.”
Resellers can get 25% of the resale price in cash or 50% of the resale price in store credit.
“Good Wolf Gear’s goal is to build community through sustainability,” the company says. “Has your toddler outgrown her kid carrier? Trade it in for credit towards her first pair of hiking boots, and tell us about the adventures you’ve shared. Has your family pup learned to stay on the trail? Stop by for a local trail map and get advice on favorite hikes from other dog owners.”
Photos via instagram.com/goodwolfgear
The developer behind Halley Rise, the mixed-use project currently under construction, is now offering more details about amenities: a dog park and an outdoor fitness park.
The parks will be open to the public during daylight hours, and the dog park will have separate sections for small and large dogs, developer Brookfield Properties tells Reston Now.
The combined 4,500-square-foot dog area, just under the size of a basketball court, will also have wooden bridges and other elements for canines, benches for people and water fountains for dogs and their owners.
Meanwhile, the 8,000-square-foot Apex Fitness Park will include Trekfit outdoor equipment such as a cargo net as well as push-up, pull-up and parallel bars.
The over $1 billion complex began construction in October 2019 along Sunrise Valley Drive and Reston Park, which will place it next to the forthcoming Reston Town Center Metro station.
The parks are expected to open this fall, the developer says.
Other amenities for the complex include a Wegmans and over four football fields’ worth of retail space.
Parts of the project are slated to open this year and next, including move-ins for The Edmund, a luxury apartment building there, starting in the next few weeks, spokesperson Laura Montross says.
Faced with challenges from providing affordable housing to mitigating flooding, Fairfax County has its hands full, but it’s currently armed with vacant property assessed at tens of millions of dollars.
Currently tax-exempt, the properties could be used for commercial development, environmental preservation, housing projects, recreation, or stormwater drainage, among other purposes.
“There is a critical shortage of affordable housing options in Fairfax County,” Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said when asked about what the county should do with its vacant properties.
The total financial value of vacant, county-owned properties exceeds $50 million, as calculated based on a public records request and assessments in an online county database for over 100 parcels that could be used for commercial, residential, or other uses.
It wasn’t immediately clear if other restrictions, such as environmental issues, setbacks, and prior plans, limit the use of those properties.
The $50 million-plus figure includes at least $10 million in assessed property that was listed as vacant but nonbuildable, but it excludes properties in floodplains as well as parcels already in use, such as parking lots, parks, or school areas.
One of the largest vacant property acquisitions is across from the Fairfax County Government Center: a 2.6-acre property bordered by Legato Road and Post Forest Drive that cost around $50 million in 1994. It currently has an assessed value of around $11,450.
“One of the elements of the County’s Housing Strategic Plan is to utilize vacant parcels as well as to repurpose land, such as existing parking lots, to increase the supply of housing,” Foust noted by email.
Created in 2018, the Communitywide Housing Strategic Plan calls on Fairfax County to make vacant or underutilized, publicly owned land available for affordable and mixed-income housing “to expand housing options without direct public financial subsidy” through public-private partnerships.
Currently, the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority has three such properties that are slated to be developed through public-private partnerships:
- The Oakwood Senior Housing Project, which will provide affordable units for the elderly near Alexandria
- Autumn Willow Senior Housing, a 10.88-acre property near Centreville
- The Route 50/West Ox Affordable Housing Project near Fair Oaks Mall
The county’s more sizable vacant lots include five adjacent properties along South Van Dorn Street in Franconia that occupy around 3.7 acres located near Thomas A. Edison High School.
The county also has a 9.63-acre parcel near the Innovation Center Metro station that will eventually open in Herndon as part of the much-delayed Silver Line extension.
Foust says part of the property includes a community playing field, but its proximity to the Metro station could make it a candidate for future affordable housing.
“Placing affordable housing on the site could be a good use of the land,” he said. “If that came about, the playing field would need to be relocated.”
In McLean, the county has two properties in a residential neighborhood at 7135 and 7139 Old Dominion Drive that have been assessed at a combined $2.06 million. They are slated for a traffic improvement project at the intersection of Old Dominion and Balls Hill Road. The project is currently in the design phase.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in a Washington Business Journal story about affordable housing that land is the county’s “single most useful tool.”
“Reallocation of Board-owned property can occur in a number of ways,” McKay said in a statement. “However it is often at the request of a County agency and is followed by an extensive review of the property. Within the last year, the Board was proud to authorize the transfer of two properties to the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority for the potential creation of affordable housing.”
Photo via Google Maps
The Reston Community Center wants residents to share their leisure and recreational needs as well as their thoughts on social and racial equity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the pandemic temporarily stalled the effort, RCC launched a six-question survey on June 10 to get public input on its 2021-2026 strategic plan, which will guide the organization’s approach to funding and programming over the next five years.
RCC previously commissioned the University of Virginia to conduct a community survey in 2019. The goal of that survey was to gauge how people used the community center’s activities and facilities, along with their opinions on the possibility of a new Reston performing arts venue.
This new online survey will serve as a “kind of temperature check” on whether the issues identified in the 2019 survey “had been dramatically altered in any ways” by the pandemic, according to Reston Community Center executive director Leila Gordon.
RCC also plans to convene focus groups this summer to help craft the new strategic plan.
According to Gordon, the RCC Governing Board initially planned to meet in January to determine the core “pillars” of the strategic plan, but with Fairfax County seeing high COVID-19 transmission rates at the time, those discussions were postponed until April.
The board ultimately settled on six main themes for the strategic plan: facilities, equity, programs and services; community connections, communications, and stewardship and accreditation.
“Its goals and objectives will help us allocate resources, assess opportunities, establish priorities and hold ourselves accountable,” Gordon said.
One of the questions in the survey addresses social and racial equity issues in the community, asking, “How do you think RCC can help Reston continue to be a welcoming, inclusive and accessible place to live, work, learn and play?”
Gordon says RCC approaches social and racial equity from a variety of angles, from programs that deal with racism and related issues to an emphasis on diversity when it comes to hiring staff.
However, former police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020 and the nationwide protests for racial justice that followed that summer served as a reminder that more work needs to be done.
“RCC has had programming focusing on racial and social equity for several years as an outgrowth of our long-time commitment to meaningful celebration of the King holiday, as well as honoring the values established by [Reston founder] Bob Simon at the outset of Reston’s creation,” Gordon said in an email. “With the response to the murder of George Floyd, it was clear that this journey for the community, county and country is far from over.”
After the survey closes on July 16, RCC will hold focus group meetings, which will include translation services for people the survey was unable to reach, to get feedback on the identified themes the survey discusses. A follow-up presentation from the University of Virginia will take place July 26.
Staff will draft the strategic plan and finalize it with the community center’s board in September, when the public will be able to weigh in on the plan itself.
The final plan is slated to be approved at the board’s Oct. 4 meeting.
Photo via Reston Community Center/Facebook
The Reston Association’s Recreation Facility Work Group has determined that a number of decades-old facilities are in need of work, and a “significant increase” in funding is required for the improvements.
The Reston work group released its findings and recommendations on Wednesday (March 10) after undertaking a year-long, comprehensive evaluation of Reston’s recreational facilities, including pools, lakes, and tennis and pickleball courts. The review focused on the condition, use, and associated costs of the facilities.
The nine-member work group determined that, while past development was “generous” in terms of providing facilities, many are now more than 30 years old and are in need of improvements.
However, funding and the cost of those capital projects may not be “sustainable” without a “significant increase to the annual assessment,” which is $718 for 2021.
According to the findings, the costs of operating and making capital improvements on pools and tennis courts are projected to top $22 million over the next five years and $37 million over the next 10 years, despite pool usage trending downwards and maintenance projects generally staying on track.
The group also focused on lake access and determined that there’s currently a lack of lakeside facilities.
Another major recommendation is that an updated Reston Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan is needed. The most recent plan was established in 2005, more than 15 years ago. Often master plans of this nature are done every decade.
The work group recommends that the Reston Association hire a professional parks and recreation firm to develop the master plan in consultation with RA staff.
The need for a new plan should be a “priority” in future budget considerations, the work group notes.
Photo via Reston Association/Facebook
Reston Community Center has passed a major milestone for parks and recreation programs.
The center received its accreditation through the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies and the National Recreation and Park Association.
The accreditation is specifically designed for park and recreation agencies and indicates the agency’s service quality and management.
RCC demonstrated compliance with 151 standards and documented policies and procedures to receive the accreditation.
“RCC has long pursued excellence in our programs and services,” said RCC Board Chair Beverly Cosham. “CAPRA accreditation validates our efforts and provides the people of Reston with confidence that their tax dollars are being wisely spent, they are part of our engagement processes, and that our work is conducted at the highest standards of accountability with the best practices established by the field.”
Here’s more RCC on the honor:
The process for accreditation involves a formal application, self-assessments, a site visit by a team of trained visitors that results in a written report, and a hearing with the commission to grant accreditation. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s visitations were held virtually. Once accredited, the agency must uphold the standards by submitting an annual report and is reviewed again in five years
“We look forward to maintaining our accreditation status and continuing to meet these standards in the years ahead,” notes RCC Executive Director Leila Gordon. “Achieving this milestone is important and maintaining accreditation is equally vital to our success. We were able to succeed in large measure as a function of Fairfax County Government excellence and with the support of our colleagues in the Fairfax County Park Authority.”
The Commission is comprised of representatives from NRPA, the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials, the International City/County Management Association, the Academy for Leisure Sciences, the Armed Forces Recreation Network and the Council of State Executive Directors.
Photo via RCC/Facebook
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
The new pickleball program, as well as a new gardening program, were approved at Thursday night’s RA board meeting.
Beginning and advance pickleball clinics will be offered in the near future alongside the usual tennis programs at the Colts Neck recreation area. Each clinic would be able to accommodate between 3 and 8 people, and would cost $36.50 for Reston residents and $38 for nonresidents.
The classes aim to “teach the fundamentals of pickleball, including game rules, scoring and basic strategies to give you all the tools you need to play,” according to the RA proposal documents.
A new gardening program was also approved, to feature classes taught by a Master Gardener. The classes will offer instruction and tips for gardening, utilizing Reston’s existing community garden plots.
Tips from the Master Gardener will also aim to help people interested in growing their own gardens. Students will learn how to determine what kind of garden their land is best suited to, the best placement for it, how to choose the best soil, and what to plant, as well as where to plant it. Help for everything from new plants to transplants will be given, in fruit, vegetables, herbs, flowers and more, including how to deal with pests.
Instruction in basic plant knowledge will be given, including the different parts of plants, how they bear fruit, and why “composting is a gardener’s best friend.”
According to the proposal, the classes will be able to accommodate between 5 and 12 people per class, and will cost $40 for Reston residents, or $45 for nonresidents.