What Will Happen to Reston's Dog Park?

Dog owners organize petition to ensure play area stays if new Reston Community Center is built at Baron Cameron Park.

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.

Click here to see important dates and FAQs.

"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.


RCC Sizing Up 50-Meter Pool Competition

What's on Your RCC Wish List?

Tennis Not Likely at Potential New RCC Facility


RCC Outlines Process for New Community Center 



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Are you concerned about the impact of a new RCC on Baron Cameron Park? Tell us in the comments.

DGeorge April 09, 2013 at 10:44 AM
Again, no one mentions Tall Oaks. Perfect place for a Community center. It is now an empty eyesore. It is already paved over. There is no need to destroy any more of our open spaces.
Brian April 17, 2013 at 01:15 PM
At this point there is no proposal on the table that would eliminate the Baron Cameron Dog Park. Whether you support the RCC proposal for an indoor facility or not, keep in mind the specifics of the plan are not yet developed. It is possible, even likely, the indoor facility would not threaten the dog park. Personally, I echo the many sentiments here and elsewhere. I think a modern indoor recreation center is critical to Reston's future. But Baron Cameron is the wrong location, mainly because it is really the only major outdoor open space park we have. Michael's point is well taken, but Baron Cameron is very different from say South Lakes park or individual ball fields. I also am completely against any small tax district to pay for a Fairfax County rec center. Other parts of the county have facilities financed by the entire county. Why should Reston have to pay YET ANOTHER special tax for something that is not exclusive to Reston. The "discounts" offered to those of us in the tax district are not sufficient to justify another layer of taxes and fees.
Tom G. April 17, 2013 at 08:28 PM
I agree with your other points in the last paragrapn. But I visit Baron Cameron Park almost every day, sometimes more than once, and it is often extremely crowded. Sure you can find times (e.g., when kids are in school or winter) when there are empty fields, but almost anytime the weather is nice and kids aren't in school, the park is quite full. The dog park is heavily used year-round (should be many more).
Restonresident April 17, 2013 at 09:33 PM
There are 9 Recreation Centers in Fairfax County funded by the County. Fairfax County has approximately 1.2 million residents. Reston and small district 5 has approximately 60,000 resident and these residents pay extra taxes just to have RCC. As far as i can tell the only difference between RCC and the other county Recreation centers is that RCC has a small theater and a few meeting rooms. Surely these additional facilities are not worth the current extra taxes. If that is not bad enough now RCC and FCPA want to build another Recreation Center! That would give the 60,000 residents TWO recreation centers whereas elsewhere approximately $125,000 residents share one Recreation center. This is just a waste of our tax dollars. We then the have the issue of doing away with open space, soccer, lacrosse, flag football, softball fields and the dog park. This whole process is being driven by a very small group of individuals and is not representative of the community at large. In my opinion this project makes no sense on several levels: -facility not needed based upon population -a waste of tax revenues -loss of open space -loss of athletic fields when there is a chronic shortage -loss of dog park - additional density in a residential community
gj May 06, 2013 at 08:11 PM
I moved to Reston in August 1988 and was drawn by the open spaces and lack of commercial enterprise. I personally hate what has become of this planned community. Now a $35 million "facility" is being suggested mostly being backed by RCC and a small group of swimmers called the Master Swimmers. At the same time that RCC wants to further burden our overcrowded roads, our heavy tax base and take away the last large open green space ... a private enterprise Lifetime Sports [I believe] is planning a 100,000 sq ft sports facility near the skating center on Sunset Hills Road. There will be water features inside and out. We certainly have enough pools in Reston and, in fact, some have been closed due to lack of use. WHY do we need to kill our last large green space for a small percentage of people. Baron Cameron Park is green space, not commercial space. This recreation facility is NOT needed in Reston. We must insist that this not go in. The intersection of Baron Cameron and Wiehle Avenue is one of the most dangerous intersections in Reston now. Once the Silver Line is open, use of these roads will skyrocket. To add a commercial facility at Baron Cameron park will make these roads almost impassable and accidents will soar. Gail Jordon


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