*Cub Run Rec Center: Sully District's first-ever recreation center opened its doors to the public in May 2005. The $19.2 million, 65,000-square-foot facility is on 37.3 acres next to Westfield High, at 4630 Stonecroft Blvd. in Chantilly. It contains a 9,600-square foot weight-training and cardiovascular-fitness area, 25-meter competitive pool, separate leisure pool with slides and play areas, whirlpool/spa, locker rooms, multipurpose rooms and offices. It also offers a mix of recreational classes including aerobics; yoga; martial arts; tumbling; tap, ballet and ballroom dancing; swimming and arts and crafts. Group fitness classes include strength and balance training and cycling, and "parent and me" classes in aquatics, sports, art and nature are for moms and dads to enjoy together with their preschoolers. The center is open Monday-Friday, 5 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday, 6 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., and the whole shebang is handicap-accessible. Call 703-817-9407 for pool hours and fee information. In addition, in the Sully Woodlands right outside the building are 5,000 feet of trail, a stream crossing and walkways. So the rec center's naturalist offers a whole variety of related, natural-resource programs. See www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks for Parknet to see rec-center class information and to sign up for indoor and outdoor classes, trips and work toward Scouting badges; or call 703-222-4664.
*Arrowhead Park: For years, there's been a serious shortage of fields for local youth sports teams, but the opening of Arrowhead Park in Centreville goes a long way toward easing that problem. Six new athletic fields — three, irrigated rectangular fields — two of which are lit, one irrigated rectangular field and two lit and irrigated diamonds — opened for use there in mid-April. Counting them — plus the three, rectangular fields just across Stringfellow Road from Arrowhead — nine total fields have been added to the inventory here in the last 18 months. The new fields came about because of a unique agreement between the county, Park Authority, school system and developers Pulte Home Corp. and Winchester Homes. In exchange for permission to build the FairCrest residential community, these developers donated 17 acres for Colin Powell Elementary, 4 1/2 acres for a Metro lot and 23 acres for an enlarged Arrowhead Park. At the start, the park was just 13 acres with two rectangular fields and an open play area. But combined with the two playgrounds on the school property, there now exists a public green space of 40 acres — providing $3 million of new recreational facilities to Sully District residents.
*Off-Leash Dog Park: The Centreville Dog Park is on three acres at 15150 Old Lee Road, off a gravel road leading from Old Lee, near its intersection with Braddock Road. This off-leash playground for pooches just opened in March and was made possible by CentrevilleDogs and the Fairfax County Park Authority. CentrevilleDogs, a nonprofit group of 350 area residents and businesses, sponsored and maintains the 65,000-square-foot facility. It's free and is open from dawn to dusk. A chain-link fence surrounds the park, and it's divided into 2 1/2 acres for larger dogs and 1/2-acre for smaller dogs. And dogs need not reside in Centreville to come and have fun. All licensed dogs are welcome, since that also means their shots are up-to-date.
*Clifton Town Park: Since the playground equipment in Clifton's town park was installed in the 1970s and '80s, over time, the wear and tear of countless children took its toll. The metal showed signs of fatigue and, with only mud or dirt underneath, children had no safe place to fall. So all the old equipment was taken out, some pieces are being renovated and made safe, and some new pieces were added.
Three pieces of equipment retained for refurbishing because they're uniquely Clifton are a truck, a watermelon-painted see-saw and a three-legged spider climbing toy. They will be reinstalled this fall. Six swings (two bucket-swings for toddlers, plus four belt-swings); a climbing/playhouse/slide structure for children, 5-12; a train; and three spring ponies were installed new in May. The playhouse has a pitched roof echoing the roof line of the town's Victorian homes, and it may eventually be covered in tin like Clifton's metal roofs. The train has a caboose and engine geared toward toddlers. It'll allow for imaginary play and climbing, while reflecting the town's railroad history. Cushioning mulch was placed under the equipment, and a children's garden will be added to the middle of the playground. Actually, the whole park will be revitalized — including new picnic tables, benches, trees and plants — plus an updated basketball area.
*Quinn Farm Park: To meet the tremendous demand for soccer fields in the Sully District, the Fairfax County Park Authority intends to build nine, lighted and irrigated soccer fields in Quinn Farm Park at Old Lee and Braddock roads in Centreville. And in 2004, the Park Authority board approved interim use of four fields in this area by both the CYA and SYA youth sports associations. Also planned are 450 parking spaces — 50 per field — and two bleachers for each field. Also planned are a fishing pond, playground and picnic area, plus paved trails along Braddock, Pleasant Valley and Old Lee roads and a hiking trail encompassing the site. In addition, the county transportation plan calls for the upgrading of Old Lee Road there, from two to four lanes, from Willard to Pleasant Valley Road. Old Lee will also be realigned with Braddock through the site, and a new entrance road will come off of Braddock.
*Mount Gilead Park: In March, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors transferred ownership of the historic Mount Gilead property from itself to the Park Authority. That cleared the way for the Park Authority to someday create a Mount Gilead Park — a cultural-resource park and open-space parkland — in Centreville's Historic District. However, the Park Authority doesn't currently have the funds to develop this 7.4-acre site, so Mount Gilead may well be on the 2008 park bond.
*Sully Woodlands: In the largest planning process ever undertaken by the Fairfax County Park Authority, an all-encompassing vision is being created for some 4,400 acres of parkland in the Bull Run and Cub Run watersheds. This includes the Sully Woodlands Regional Master Plan, dealing with about 2,150 acres of parkland in western Fairfax County, plus another 2,250 acres of existing parkland encompassing the Cub Run Stream Valley, and Ellanor C. Lawrence and Richard W. Jones parks. The Park Authority wants to create a system of park areas joined by green space and trails. Detailed information about the project may be found at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/sullywoodlandsplanning.htm.
The finished product will also coordinate with ongoing Cub Run and Bull Run watershed planning efforts to protect and restore the county's streams and watersheds. Goals include identifying areas containing natural and cultural resources to be protected and managed, as well as places appropriate for development.