As the process of gathering community feedback on a proposed new Reston Community Center to be built at Baron Cameron Park continues, several groups have formed in opposition.
There is an online petition urging RCC officials to keep the dog park, as well as a Facebook group titled Save Baron Cameron Park.
Baron Cameron Park features Reston's only dedicated dog park on its 68 acres. The park is also home to many soccer and baseball fields.
"We walk our rescue dog to this dog park seven days a weeks, year round for socializing and playtime," one resident wrote on the petition. "This dog park is heavily used and loved by the community and is one of the main reasons we moved here (green space, parks and trails). PLEASE....DO NOT take it away from us !!!"
RCC executive director Leila Gordon says there is nothing that has come up in the planning thus far that would interfere with either the dog park or the athletic fields.
"Nothing we are contemplating would necessarily infringe on the dog park or the park in its totality," she said. "It is hard to persuade people we are not talking about the new facility taking over the whole park. It would be about five acres of the 68-acre park."
RCC, in partnership with Fairfax County Park Authority, announced in February that it is looking into building a new facility. It is working with consulting firm Brailsford & Dunlavey to determine the community's wishes and the feasibility of a new facility.
If built, the facility would likely feature a 50-meter indoor pool, as well as other fitness amenities. However, Gordon says it is premature to envision what will be there.
"I think people assume we are going to build everything everyone wants," she said. "Everything about this kind of enterprise involves compromise. We are not going to completely satisfy everyone in every neighborhood. The reason the process is open is so that we make the smartest decisions we can make."
Gordon says there are three concerns the public has expressed that RCC is looking into.
*The park's ability to keep doing what it is doing (ie, dog park, ball fields, keeping open space open).
*Maintain quality of life for Baron Cameron-area residents who are concerned with traffic and parking issues.
*The cost - making sure people's taxes would not be impacted.
"We are trying to listen to concerns and respond appropriately and make sure we understand and plan," she said.
The process has a long way to go, she added. There are several more public comment sessions as part of RCC Board meetings in April. There will be a meeting with Brailsford & Dunlavey representatives at 6:30 p.m. on May 6 at RCC Hunters Woods. The Park Authority will launch its own public feedback process on May 7.
"We are a long way from a concept," said Gordon.
She added that even if everything falls exactly on schedule, the earliest the issue would go to a ballot here would be November of 2014. If that passes, work would begin in spring of 2015.
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