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
The Virginia High School League is currently working with the governor’s office to potentially get a waiver that would let public school students compete in sports starting on Dec. 7, even if the state remains in Phase 3 of its reopening plan.
Signs point to Virginia public schools “likely” getting permission to proceed with a truncated winter sports season, Fairfax County Public Schools student activities and athletics director Bill Curran said in a virtual town hall on student athletics hosted by Hunter Mill District School Board representative Melanie Meren on Wednesday (Oct. 28).
“VHSL has worked very closely with the Virginia Department of Health and governor’s office with regard to opening back up and what guidance and changes would need to be made so we can have high school sports on Dec. 7,” Curran said.
Virginia has been in the third phase of Gov. Ralph Northam’s Forward Virginia plan for guiding the Commonwealth through the COVID-19 pandemic since July 1.
Under Phase 3, both indoor and outdoor recreational sports are limited to 250 people, including players, staff, and spectators. Those individuals are also expected to maintain 10 feet of physical distance “where practicable.”
As it is now written, Phase 3 “basically does not allow for high school sports” beyond optional workouts for individual teams, Curran says.
As the nonprofit that serves as Virginia’s governing body for student athletics and activities, the VHSL has spent the past several months developing guidelines that it hopes would enable high school sports to resume this winter with Phase 3 restrictions in place.
After voting on July 27 to delay all sports and activities until mid-December, the VHSL executive committee unanimously agreed on Sept. 17 to adopt a condensed schedule with winter, fall, and spring sports.
The proposed “Championships + 1” Condensed Interscholastic Plan would generally unfold as follows:
- Dec. 7-Feb. 20: winter sports, including basketball, gymnastics, indoor track, swim and dive, wrestling
- Feb. 4-May 1: fall sports, including football, volleyball, golf, field hockey, cross country, and competitive cheerleading
- Apr. 12-June 26: spring sports, including baseball, softball, tennis, lacrosse, soccer, and track and field
“I know how important it is for kids to be active,” Meren said. “Sports can be a gateway to scholarships, academics, and careers.”
Moreover, there are potential equity concerns when public schools are abstaining from athletic competitions, but private youth and club sports have continued to operate. Curran says those leagues obtained waivers to proceed, while the VHSL has opted for a more cautious approach.
If high school sports do return this winter, FCPS is currently operating under the assumption that there will not be any spectators, at least initially, though a plan to live-stream competitions is in the works, according to Curran.
Curran says that students and staff have been consistently following health protocols during the limited workouts that FCPS has been conducting since June, and there have been no reports of COVID-19 spread between athletes so far.
However, limited resources mean that FCPS will not be able to test athletes on a daily basis like professional and even college sports have been doing, and while a single COVID-19 case might just affect one player or team, a serious outbreak could jeopardize entire seasons.
Staffing shortages could also present a challenge, with only 70 percent of officiators expected to be available for the upcoming basketball season, according to Westfield High School student activities director Terri Towle, one of two FCPS workers on the VHSL executive committee.
Even if VHSL gets approval to go ahead with its planned schedule, the ultimate decision about whether to engage in sports will lie with individual students, parents, and school divisions.
Towle says that two jurisdictions in Virginia have already notified VHSL that their schools will not participate in winter sports.
“There are going to be certain things out of our control depending on how things go across the county, across the state, across the country,” Towle said. “We’re working toward the goal of as many student athletes playing as possible.”
Photo via Fairfax County Park Authority
ABC Stores Now Offering Curbside Service — Of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority’s 15 stores in Northern Virginia that are now offering curbside pick-up, one is in Herndon (378 Elden Street) while another is in Reston (1454 North Point Village Shopping Center). [Inside NoVa]
Sports Stalled —“The Virginia High School League’s Executive Committee voted Thursday to cancel the spring sports season altogether for rest of the 2019-20 calendar year due to the coronavirus outbreak.” [Inside NoVa]
Hospitalizations Rising Again in Virginia — “The number of coronavirus patients in Virginia hospitalized and on ventilators has increased since Tuesday, according to the latest data from the state hospital association. Despite the increase, the number of ventilators in use in Virginia represents only 20 percent of the total number in the state.” [Patch]
Photo courtesy Marjorie Copson
South Lakes High School students won the boys and girls titles at the 6A Northern Region D Indoor Track and Field Championships this week.
The girls’ team defended their title, scoring 116 points and just enough to win a third consecutive championship. The boys’ win, with 96 points, for the Northern Region title was the first for the team since 2011.
Here’s more from SLHS on the win:
Hannah Waller won the 55 meters with a region record time of 6.95. The previous mark of 6.96 was set by Alyssa Aiken of Chantilly in Feb. 26, 2000. Waller also won the 300 meters (40.05) and was second in the triple jump (38-08.25). Waller anchored the 4×200 meter relay team of freshman Julianna Byrd and sophomores Megan Luczko and Jillian Howard, that finished third (1:46.73).
Emily Lannen, who was third in the 1,000 meters last year, won the event in 3:05.89 this season. She also teamed with senior Caitlyn Morris, sophomore Annika Yu and freshman Annalise Williams to win the 4×800 meter relay (9:43.68).
Mary Gregory won her third consecutive 500 meters with a time of 1:16.57. She was also third in the 55 meters and 4×400 meter relay with teammates Lannen, Yu and Luczko (4:05.52).
Jackson Cooley dominated the horizontal jump events winning the long jump (21-05.50) and triple jump (43-07.25). He also finished second the 55 meters (6.59).
Mira Cuthill won the girls high jump (5-01.00) while Caleb Miller successfully defended his title in the boys shot put (50-08.50).
David Ramirez was third in the 500 meters (1:09.13).
The regional championship took place on Feb. 12 in Landover, Md.
The school plans to send two dozen athletes to the 6A State Championship on Feb. 28-29 in Hampton, Va.
Photos by Deborah Lannen
A new business has opened up shop in Woodland Park Crossing in Herndon.
US Taekwondo College is offering classes and programming at 12950 Highland Crossing Drive, Suite 8. A grand opening celebration took place last month.
Here’s more from Myers Public Relations, which represents Rosenthal Properties:
The USTC instructors are champion Taekwondo practitioners with years of experience, offering classes and programs for adults, children, and families. USTC also has Spring and Summer Camps and an After School Program that offers pick-up at 15 elementary schools in Reston and Herndon. Children can enjoy martial arts classes and have time to read, play games, and/or do arts and crafts, all under the watchful eyes of highly qualified staff.
The business is located above Visionworks in the mixed-use center, which is anchored by Harris Teeter.
In recent months, the retail mix in the center has been in flux. In 2018, four businesss left Woodland Park Crossing in Herndon.
The field, which is located behind Reston Community Center, is no longer used by the Reston-Herndon Little League due to its distance from the nearest parking lot.
RA’s Board of Directors approved a motion to reallocate funds previously approved for pathway lighting at a meeting last Thursday (Sept. 26) to design, study and implement the project.
In tandem, RA plans to install 16 lights near the village center and the ball field. The roughly $100,000 project uses $81,300 in proffer commitment funds from the developer of Hunters Woods at Trails Edge, a senior living community on Colts Neck Road. The proffer is designated specifically for path lighting and cannot be used for any other purpose.
Larry Butler, RA’s Chief Operating Officer, said staff will work with the community to brainstorm possible ideas for the ball field. The Hunters Woods Neighborhood Coalition — which has long advocated for pathway lighting to improve safety in the area — requested that RA examine the issue.
“We could do a lot of things there,” Butler said, adding the plan is in its early phases.
In a July 19 letter, the county’s planning staff indicating the ball field is classified as open space, which is designed for scenic or recreational purposes.
Meanwhile, RA is working with Dominion Energy to develop preliminary design plans for the pathway lighting project. The latest plan — which Butler said addresses the “area of most concern” — is a scaled-back version of a 2014 plan to install 52 lights, which faltered due to limited funding.
The cost of the study is unclear, especially because RA will likely engage with a design architect to determine constraints on the site, including utility polls, Butler said.
The preliminary design calls for 16 LED, shoebox lights likely spread out by about 80 feet. The original plans did not call for LED lights.
Once plans are in place, the project will head to RA’s Design Review Board for a discussion and a vote.
A new Reston Sports Council, which includes 13 representative organizations, is seeking to becoming a unified voice for the interests of the local sports community.
The council, which grew out of focus group discussions and meetings by Reston Association’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee in 2016 and 2017, held its first meeting in February. Members involved the initiative presented updates to RA’s Board of Directors last week.
At the meeting, Jeremy Lee, the newly appointed chairman of the council and a Reston resident of more than 20 years, said the council is an independent entity and intends to speak as a single voice to RA the Fairfax County Park Authority and the county.
Organizers hope the council will also help sports organization — including those that are not formally organized — coordinate the use of RA facilities, consider bulk purchasing, review industry standards, and collaborate to solve shared challenges, according to Laura Kowalski, RA’s director of recreation and environmental education.
Former RA Board Director Jeff Thomas and current RA Board Director Julie Bitzer, who is also the board’s PRAC liaison, pushed for the formation of the council.
Bitzer, who lauded the initiative, said the council will be a productive way to ensure “all sports have a voice” and prevent one sport from dominating conversations.
Larry Butler, RA’s director of land use and planning, cautioned that only Reston-based organizations are allowed to use RA facilities based on RA’s resolutions and by-laws.
The council is in the process of developing its bylaws, operational procedures and website. It plans to hold monthly meetings that are open to all.
So far, the council serves 6,000 constituents involving in local sports, including Reston, Herndon and Great Falls.
Photo via Reston Association/YouTube
Two Restonians took home top honors at the National Senior Games in Albuquerque, New Mexico last month.
Regina and Bill Bouie won gold medals during the games, where more than 14,000 athletes from around the country convened for two weeks to compete against one another in a mix of sports.
The residents qualified for the competition after earning awards in the state games.
During the games from June 11-25, Bill and his partner Steve Quatro won the gold in the men’s 65 doubles. Quatro also won gold in the men’s 65-69 singles. The Bouies won the gold medal in mixed 60 doubles and Regina won the gold medal in the women’s 50-54 doubles.
Regina is a personal trainer whose practice focuses on helping seniors above 50 remain active. Bill is the chairman of the Fairfax County Park Authority.
“As we continue to grow and age in the County, it is important that we recognize that people recreate in different ways, so we continue to try to meet those challenges by offering as many programs as we can and try to have something for everyone, from cradle to grave,” Bill wrote in a statement.
According to its website, the games are a 20-sport, biennial competition for men and women age 50 and over. It is the largest multi-sport event in the world for seniors.
Photo via Sky Communications
Registration is now open for the first-ever Lake Anne Stand-up Triathlon.
The event, which replaces the traditional triathlon event, aims to introduce different sports to the community by replacing swimming with a stand-up paddle board experience. It will take place on Sunday, Sept. 15.
The triathlon will consist of a seven-mile ride on a New Trail Cycling stationary bike, a 5k run around Lake Anne on Reston pathways, and a one-mile paddle board. Paddle boards will be provided.
A celebration party at the plaza will follow the event. All proceeds will benefit CORE Foundation. Fundraising for the event is optional, but highly encouraged.
Athletes can take part in a solo or a three-person relay. The cost is $110 for solo athletes and includes a T-shirt, use of a New Trail Cycling bike for the event, use of a paddle board, craft beer after the race, and other prizes.
Partnering organizations include Surf Reston, New Trail and Lake Anne Brew House.
Registration will be closed once 150 people register for the event.
Photo via CORE Foundation
Optimal Motion Physical Therapy, a new physical therapy clinic, is now open at 950 Herndon Parkway.
The clinic offers “specialized treatment in various areas, including sports injuries, chronic pain, and other orthopedic issues,” according to its website.
The business was founded by Secilli DeStefano and Matt Barnes. Although the clinic is now open, a grand opening event is set for Friday, June 7 from 5-8 p.m.
More information about the practice is available online.
Photos via Jackie Yencha
A new, publicly accessible athletic field is a key component of the redevelopment of Isaac Newtown Square, which is located on the north side of Sunset Hills Road and west of Wiehle Avenue.
Peter Lawrence Cos. And MRP Realty are working together to convert nearly 33 acres of the suburban office park into a residential campus with up to 2,100 units. The proposal is making its way through the county’s approval process.
The athletic field will be located next to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, according to an April 9 proposal to the county. The publicly-accessed field is required by Reston’s Comprehensive Plan, which aims to meet future demand for active recreation facilities in Reston’s Transit Station Areas.
“Similar to urban parks in the District of Columbia located adjacent to, or near, high density residential and commercial uses, the athletic field will be easily accessible to pedestrian and vehicular traffic and its attendance foot traffic will help drive local commerce around the civic plaza and village Main Street,” according to the application.
The synthetic turf field will have 50 parking spaces allocated specifically reserved for field visitors. A 0.3-acre warmup field will be located next to the athletic field and a 1.5-acre civic plaza next to the athletic field is “intended to foster social interaction and create a visual identity for the Isaac Newtown Square Civic Plaza,” the application says.
The plaza will also house a 600-square-foot pavilion, picnic areas and shade structures, according to the application. Developers described the athletic field as a “destination” for the public.
The project heads to the Fairfax County Planning Commission on July 24.
Photo via Reston Association/MRP Realty
In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Reston Historic Trust and Museum will bring together four women from a variety of athletic programs to discuss how Title IX affected their careers and women’s sports overall.
Enacted in 1972, Title IX had a dramatic impact on women’s sports by guaranteeing by law equality in federally assisted athletic programs.
Since its founding, Reston’s recreational facilities have been available to all of its residents, according to the museum.
The free event features the following panelists:
- Vicky Wingert, a documentary producer and former coach for college and high school basketball teams
- Skye Eddy Bruce, a collegiate and youth All-American goalkeeper, state champion track athlete and founder of the Soccer Parenting Association
- Valerie Lister, the South Lakes High School assistant coach for track and field and a former sportswriter
- Jennifer Volgenau Wiley, a former varsity soccer and basketball player at South Lakes High School in the 1980s. She also played Division I soccer at William and Mary.
“Women Playing in Reston: The Effect of Title IX on Women’s Sports” is set to take place on Wednesday (March 13) at 7 p.m. at the Jo Ann Rose Gallery (1609-A Washington Plaza).
A temporary exhibit at the Reston Museum to accompany the panel discussion will be on display throughout March.
Deep dive into Reston sports — Bill Bouie gave a presentation on the history of sports, pioneers, players and playing fields in Reston’s sports. A complete recording of the event, which was organized by the Reston Historic Trust & Museum on Nov. 8, is available online. [YouTube/Reston Historic Trust & Museum]
The Lake House open house today — Reston Association continues its marathon of open houses today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Residents can enjoy light refreshments and chat with staff to learn more about multipurpose uses of the space. [Reston Association]
From Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins — In a note to Reston Now, Hudgins offered a few words about the coming of Amazon’s HQ2 to Crystal City: “As often partners in many regional endeavors, I am glad to acknowledge Arlington’s success and note that the entire Commonwealth is advantaged by the HQ2 announcement. Look forward to Fairfax County continuing to work together for the betterment of the region and the Commonwealth.”
Photo by Twitter user @MrErrett
The business takes up up the former location of bebe, a women’s clothing store, at 11957 Market Street. The store’s first day of business was on August 24.
An official grand opening is planned for September 9 from 9-10:20 a.m. A complimentary yoga class will be led by the store’s mindfulness ambassador, Jafar Alexander, in Reston Town Square Park.
Snacks will be provided for all attendees and participants of all levels are encouraged to attend. Registration is required online.
Photo via Facebook
Boston Properties’ Reston Gateway project, which sets between Reston Town Center and the future RTC Metro Station, will include plans for an athletic field.
Reston Gateway, the first major development on the north side of the station, will bring four office buildings, three residential buildings with 2,010 units, two hotels and 162,300 square feet of retail and restaurants, to the north side of Sunset Hills road between Town Center Parkway and Reston Parkway.
The development has triggered the need for a new athletic field, according to Fairfax County officials. The county’s Board of Supervisors approved the project in July. Several options are included in Boston Properties’ plans.
A full-size, synthetic turf field on an offsite property was pitched by Boston Properties’ officials as the preferred option. Information on the property under consideration has not been publicly disclosed. If the deal, which is currently under consideration, falls through, the developer may build a new field on top of the Purple Garage in RTC. Another alternative is pitching money that would go towards building a new field — a proposition that has some residents concerned due to limited developable land in the planned urban core of Reston.
If no alternatives are feasible, Boston Properties may dedicate 50,000 square feet at Reston Gateway for a performing arts center in lieu of the field.
As of late July, developers have committed $10.3 million to help fund athletic fields in the greater Reston area. All funds are unspent.
Photos via Fairfax County Government