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Park Planning Proceeds

Local residents and county Park Authority discuss Nottoway Park’s master plan.

Oakton resident John Karlson likes to take walks at Nottoway Park. Just about every day, he and his golden retriever Rusty meander down park paths and breathe in the fresh air.

"I think it’s beautiful the way it is," Karlson said, as Rusty urged him to move on.

Indeed, local residents from all over the area agreed with Karlson’s outlook on Nottoway Park, as they spoke about the park’s future at a planning workshop held by the Fairfax County Park Authority.

"Most of the people there were pretty much interested in maintaining the status quo," said Vienna resident Emily Larson, who was at the workshop.

Some 75 people attended last Tuesday’s workshop held at Marshall Road Elementary’s cafeteria. The Park Authority, in the process of revising the park’s master plan, invited locals to throw out ideas on how to improve the 84-acre park. Suggestions ranged from more bathrooms to better lighting for trails.

The Park Authority is revising its master plan for Nottoway Park for several reasons, according to Judy Pedersen, county public information officer. It is looking to make a larger maintenance facility to serve the area's parks; the master plan for Nottoway is up for revision; and changing demographics in the county bring up the need for a needs assessment.

"It's a combination of getting everything up to date," Pedersen said.

At the workshop, citizens also suggested more playground equipment, emergency phones stationed throughout the park, and more use of the Hunter House.

A handful of those attending the meeting wanted the creation of another rectangular field, which could be used for soccer and lacrosse games. There aren’t very many soccer fields in Vienna, Larson said.

"The quality of the field is really bad because of overuse," said Larson, quoting soccer field supporters.

Two representatives from the Town of Vienna came to the workshop to suggest the creation of a skate park. Council member Maud Robinson and town Parks and Recreation director Cathy Salgado said the town has been receiving requests for one for over a decade.

"The young who want this, they are good kids. They’re just young people who don’t gravitate towards team sports," Robinson said. "You really should have a balanced recreation program for all the community."

Salgado said the skate park was just one of many suggestions at the workshop.

"It will be submitted with all the other requests," Salgado said.

Although there was general agreement on many of the suggestions, one possibility that received negative response from residents was the creation of a maintenance facility for the district, as suggested by the county. Nottoway Park currently has a small maintenance facility for itself.

The suggestion received negative response because people were uncertain of the size of such a facility.

"I think that alarmed some people," Salgado said.

The next step in the process will be a hearing in summer 2003, at which the county will present a preliminary plan etched out in more detail. Park Authority staff will work on the plan, incorporate suggestions and take the plan to the Park Authority Board.

"It’s the first step of many steps," Salgado said.