To the Editor:
I am writing to express my concern regarding the current proposal to build a new indoor recreation center at Baron Cameron Park. Our open spaces and parkland are limited. Once our open spaces and parkland are replaced with buildings and parking areas, cement and asphalt, they are gone for good.
Baron Cameron Park currently provides a variety of recreational amenities, including football fields, soccer fields, community garden plots, a dog park, and open parkland.
Reston and Fairfax County already have plenty of buildings, with many more buildings on the way. We need more open space not less. Reducing the open space at Baron Cameron Park is in opposition to the Fairfax County Park Authority’s own recognition of the importance of providing open space. To quote from the FCPA’s policy plan posted on their website: “As residential densities rise and individual yards become smaller or disappear, the need for public open space, woodlands, trails and open play areas increase.”
The FCPA and Reston Community Center do not need to reduce already limited open space and parkland to provide new indoor recreation facilities. There are a number of opportunities in Reston to develop private and public indoor recreation facilities that would enhance and revitalize existing centers. As just one example, Tall Oaks shopping center has been struggling for years. An indoor recreation center could stabilize this area, bringing in people and revenue that could attract and keep businesses and restaurants.
The FCPA and RCC need to look for other options to meet indoor recreation needs without reducing outdoor recreation opportunities. To quote again from FCPA policy:
“Collaborative efforts between the private and public sectors, especially through the land development process, can result in better appreciation, protection, and stewardship of natural and cultural resources, as well as the provision of adequate recreational facilities and amenities to serve residents.”