Reston Association Begins Meetings On Pony Barn Pavilion

Reston Association Begins Meetings On Pony Barn Pavilion

Reston Association seeks community input regarding redevelopment.

Reston residents, including Mary Ellen Erickson and Kelley Westenhoff, attended a public meeting at the Reston Association building regarding possible development of the Pony Barn Picnic Pavilion.

Reston residents, including Mary Ellen Erickson and Kelley Westenhoff, attended a public meeting at the Reston Association building regarding possible development of the Pony Barn Picnic Pavilion. Photo by Ryan Dunn.

Surrounded by a secluded wood at the intersection of Steeplechase and Triple Crown Road in Reston is the Pony Barn Picnic Pavilion, a 2006 square foot picnic pavilion near Glade Stream. Located in south Reston, the location is being reviewed by the Reston Association (RA) for possible renovations. In November of last year the RA Board of Directors marked $30,000 in the 2014 Capital Expense Budget for renovations to the Pony Barn area. Public meetings have been held to reconsider the uses of this location.

“The goal of the community engagement is to determine, what, if any changes could and should be made at the Pony Barn Recreation Area to bring greater value to the whole Reston community,” said Larry T. Butler, Senior Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Resources Reston Association. The original pony barn at Steeplechase and Triple Crown burned down more than 30 years ago. When Reston founder Robert E. Simon was developing the location, he expected horse owners would purchase homes in that area.

Today visitors will encounter BMWs or Volkswagens.

IN PLACE OF AN EQUESTRIAN CENTER, Reston Association opened the Pony Barn Picnic Pavilion near the Glade Stream. There is also a swing set, a grill and an open lawn area. “Here pretty much everybody knows everybody,” said neighborhood resident Ryan Benedetto, an upcoming junior at South Lakes High School. Benedetto worked as a summer lifeguard at Deepwood Pool which neighbors the Pony Barn. “I’ve lived here all my life,” said Benedetto. “If there were some changes or additions to the park it might be visited more.” The Pony Barn Pavilion is one of five RA picnic pavilions available for rental. Currently, the Reston pavilion which has received the most reservations and been most popular is North Hills pavilion which has 20 parking spaces.

The Aug. 18 meeting was held so Reston residents could express ideas and interests in the development project. Approximately thirty persons attended meeting, including Reston Association Board President Ken Knueven, and Reston Association Board members Lucinda Shannon and Rachel Muir. Amongst the various concerns mentioned by some attendees were accessibility and issue of parking. Currently there are only 11 parking spaces at the location. Although residents in south Reston have expressed interest in the beautification of the area, many do not want to generate more traffic.

The Initiative for Public Art Reston (IPAR) proposed funding a garden at the location. “IPAR is grateful to the Reston Association for receiving our request to consider the Pony Barn site as a possible location for a garden of reflection, and for consulting with the community concerning our request for consideration of the garden of reflection as a possible use for the site,” stated Anne Delaney, Executive Director for IPAR. “IPAR will stay abreast of the RA community engagement process. It is our hope that a garden could be integrated into the Pony Barn site. We will, of course, respect the RA community engagement process and its outcomes.” The IPAR Memorial Garden committee was formed in 2011 after the death of IPAR supporter Ann Rodriguez. It envisions a site with natural beauty, wooded elements, with walkways and benches. If IPAR obtains the location, they will pay for the ongoing garden maintenance.

For many residents in the area, the question is about the character of the site. “I can see the pony barn from my window,” said Mary Ellen Erickson, a resident of Reston since 1997. “It has been a picnic and community area for over 25 years,” said Dale Erickson, who attended the August public meeting. “You are taking away a community space if you dramatically redesign it.”

DEVELOPMENT IN FAIRFAX COUNTY has left some feel concerned about tree coverage and green space. “The wildlife and open space are some of the greatest resources of Reston,” said Lucinda Shannon. “It would be good if the community would get together to make a plan for the proactive use of our natural areas.” Both Shannon and Rachel Muir were intrigued by the idea of Reston Walker Nature Center utilizing the Pony Barn space.

“I thought Monday’s meeting went well, and really believe the people were engaged in thinking creatively about what broad themes should guide the process as it moves forward,” said Butler. “There was not much discussion about IPAR’s proposal for some type of garden, and there is a lot of work left to be down as we move from broad themes to specifics about what might happen there.” Reston Association intends to continue holding work group meetings to discuss matters on the Pony Barn space from September through December. To access an online comments portal, visit and navigate to Inside RA > Development & Redevelopment > Pony Barn Recreation Area.