This story was updated at 11:15 a.m. on April 1.
Reston residents are continuing to debate the merits of adding a recreation center with an Olympic-sized pool to Baron Cameron Park.
The discussion was the biggest point of contention during a March 27 public comment meeting on the draft master plan for the park, with swimmers and swim coaches saying that there is a great need for a new pool facility and others saying that the park is not the appropriate location for this facility.
Users of the Reston Dog Park, which is located within Baron Cameron Park, also came out to oppose a proposal to move the dog park to a different area.
The dog park has been the subject of noise complaints from some residents on the opposite side of Wiehle Avenue, so Fairfax County Park Authority officials have outlined an option for moving it deeper into the park.
However, dog park users say the proposed new location is too small. If anything, they said, the popular facility needs to be enlarged.
“There are certain times on weekends when I don’t go because I think it can be dangerous when it is overcrowded,” said dog park user Martha Mason. “I think it is safer, cheaper and easier to keep it where it is.”
Other components of the master plan revision generally seem to have support: converting athletic fields to lighted, synthetic turf fields; adding basketball courts, a picnic area and restrooms; and increasing the number of community garden plots available.
If the recreation center is included, it would reduce the amount of space available for athletic fields, although the roof of the building could potentially be used for additional outdoor space, according to Jay Rauschenbach, a project manager with the Park Authority’s park planning branch.
The Reston Community Center has been tossing around the idea of building a new indoor recreation facility for several years. Baron Cameron Park offers a potential partnership opportunity in which the Park Authority would provide the land and RCC would finance the building.
RCC is funded by a special tax district on Reston residents and currently has two locations, at Lake Anne and Hunters Woods.
“The flawed assumption is that Small Tax District 5 is the bank account for Fairfax County,” said Rick Beyer. “I would challenge the Fairfax County supervisors to support Reston like it supports the balance of the county.”
The financing of the rec center was one of the concerns expressed at the meeting. Some said it should be financed by the county, like rec centers in other areas, or funded by developer proffers as redevelopment begins around the new Silver Line stations.
Others said that Baron Cameron was not an appropriate location for a rec center, citing concerns about the additional parking and traffic associated with the facility, as well as the loss of open space. Several speakers suggested that the Reston Town Center area would be a better location because more people will be able to walk there.
“We believe that the rec center ought to be put where the people are,” said Terry Maynard, a member of the Reston 2020 committee.
For those in the swimming community, however, the chief concern is the need for additional pool space. Representatives of youth swim teams and the Reston Masters adult swim club said there is not enough available pool time and space in the Reston area to meet even current demand for aquatics programs.
The public comment period on the draft master plan for Baron Cameron Park will remain open through April 27. The Park Authority Board is expected to vote on the final master plan this summer, although no changes will take place at the park until funding is identified.
The original version of this story included the wrong Small Tax District for Reston.