By RCA President Colin Mills

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2014 is the “Year of the
Horse.”  But in Reston, it seems like
it’s shaping up to be the “Year of the Master Plan.”  In February, the Board of Supervisors
approved changes to Reston’s Master Plan
to allow for mixed-use development
around the Silver Line stations.  And
now, the County Park Authority is preparing a Master Plan for Baron Cameron
RCA and our Reston 2020 Committee is very interested in what
happens at Baron Cameron, particularly in light of the projected athletic
field shortage
in Reston when the aforementioned mixed-use development is
built.  But more importantly, we’re
interested in hearing what the community has to say. 
That’s why Reston 2020 is holding a “ResTown Hall Meeting”
on the Baron Cameron plan on April 7th on 7 PM at the Aldrin
Elementary cafeteria
.  This is your
chance to speak out about the proposed changes to Baron Cameron: what you like,
what you don’t like, what you think should be added, and what unanswered
questions you have.
Baron Cameron Park has a bit of an interesting history.  The site was original owned by Fairfax County
Public Schools, which intended to use the site to construct a middle and/or
high school for Reston.  In the mid-‘70s,
with no school yet built on the site, the school system allowed the Park
Authority to build and manage some temporary recreation facilities on the
site.  Over time, these facilities
included athletic fields, a community garden, a playground, and an off-leash
dog park.    In 2006, with no school ever
having been built on the site, FCPS turned Baron Cameron over to the Board of
Supervisors, which in turn transferred it to the Park Authority in 2011.
Historically, no one’s paid that much attention to Baron
Cameron.   But interest in the park has
increased dramatically in the last year or so. 
The news that RCC was considering the park as a possible site for its
proposed indoor
rec center
generated a great deal of public discussion.  More recently, some of the park’s neighbors
filed a law suit to shut
down the dog park
due to the noise.
With public attention focused on the park, the Park
Authority has come up with a draft
Master Plan
, which it will formally present at a public meeting on
Thursday, March 27th at 7 PM at Aldrin Elementary.  The draft plan includes a number of changes
to the park: adding artificial turf and lights to the fields, increasing
parking, adding a picnic pavilion and restrooms, expanding the community
garden, including multi-use courts, and building a trail network that connects
to Brown’s Chapel Park next door.  There
are also plan alternatives, which would allow construction of an indoor rec
center and relocation of the dog area to an interior part of the park.
I encourage everyone to attend the Park Authority’s meeting
if you can.  But I also hope you’ll come
out to the ResTown Hall Meeting on the 7th to learn more, make your
voice heard, and talk with your neighbors about the plan and what you think.
Our meeting will begin with a recap of what’s in the plan,
for those who couldn’t attend the Park Authority’s presentation.  But we’ll also provide additional
information.  We’ll attempt to put the proposed
changes at Baron Cameron in the larger context of Reston’s coming
redevelopment.  We’ll also discuss any
issues that were raised by the public at the Park Authority meeting, and fill
you in on the research and analysis Reston 2020 has done on the rec center and
the athletic field situation in Reston.
But the main purpose of our meeting is to listen to you,
Reston’s citizens.  So after providing
this background information, we’ll break into small groups to talk in detail
about the plan.  Each group will have a
chance to talk about the strengths of the Baron Cameron Plan, any concerns
about it, suggested additions to the plan, and any questions that might arise.
After the small groups have had the chance to provide their
feedback, we’ll report out and try to identify the most important comments,
suggestions, and concerns that the community shares about the plan.  Reston 2020 will then take the contributions
received at the meeting, consolidate it, and present it to the Park Authority
as a community response to the draft Master Plan.
Why is this meeting so important?  Because the proposed changes to Baron Cameron
are significant, and time is of the essence. 
After the Park Authority’s meeting on the 27th, there is a
30-day window for public comment on the plan. 
Once that window is closed, the Park Authority Board will be able to
approve the draft plan, and then it will be locked into place.  Once approved, the Master Plan will guide the
Park Authority’s vision for the park for the next decade.
So if there are things you think should be added to or
removed from the plan, now is the time to speak up.  By consolidating the citizens’ comments and
thoughts into a single community response, Reston 2020’s document will speak
with a louder and clearer message than a bunch of individual comments.  The document should give the Park Authority
something to consider carefully, if the citizens believe that changes are

I look forward to seeing all of you at the ResTown Hall
Meeting on April 7th at Aldrin. 
If you want to learn more about what the Baron Cameron plan means for
Reston, or if you want to speak out about anything you want to see preserved or
changed in the plan, you’ll never have a better opportunity.  This is your community; make sure that your
voice is heard.