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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Park perspectives: Fee increases rejected

The Annandale blog would like to introduce the first column by Marie Reinsdorf, a Falls Church/Annandale resident who serves as an at-large member of the Fairfax County Park Authority Board. Marie will be sharing news and information about Fairfax County parks and possibly other issues.

[updated April 1] To learn about Park Authority Board meetings, please visit the Park Authority’s website. On the left of the page, click on “Administration,” then “Park Authority Board.” If you select “Board Meeting Agenda,” you’ll find details about upcoming public meetings along with supporting materials. Agendas are posted the Friday before board meetings, which are on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. You can view and search document archives, too, for old agendas and meeting minutes.

Now, on to recent and upcoming items of note.

First, at our March 23 meeting, in a surprising turn of events, a motion for proposed fee increases failed, on a 5-5 vote, with two members absent. The proposal for fee increases are described in a committee item on the Park Authority Board website. It should be noted, however, that the issue of raising the fees could be brought up again, as soon as the next meeting.

Mine was one of the “nay” votes and my reason is concern for the continuing increase in recreation center fees. I researched drop-in and annual fees at six neighboring jurisdictions and found that our fees are higher, especially for youths. I’d like to see the board pursue short and long-term strategies for affordability that will encourage more young people to use our centers. Look for news of revised fee adjustments.

Second, I’d like to alert you to a public meeting scheduled for Wednesday, April 6, at 7 p.m., on a policy proposal to restrict the use of athletic fields. The Department of Neighborhood and Community Services, the agency in charge of reservations for public fields, proposes reducing the maximum number of walk-on field users, including spectators, from 40 to 20. You can also submit comments via e-mail.

Finally, I encourage you to come to Colvin Run Mill’s 200th birthday celebration Sunday, April 10, noon to 3 p.m. You can watch the miller grind corn in the water-powered mill and take part in many other activities. For your “shopping local” list, the mill’s wheat flour is excellent, and sells for $1.50 a pound in the gift shop.

I welcome comments from my fellow park visitors and citizens. You can reach me via e-mail.

Marie Reinsdorf

Any views expressed are my own, and I take responsibility for any unintentional errors in reporting facts.


  1. I love the new column about Park Authority issues and other issues that come up by Marie Reinsdorf. It’s good to be informed about what’s going on with parks--people don’t have the time to look up the meeting minutes but are very interested in knowing. Thanks for doing this.

  2. Thank you for this new feature. It will be great to be kept up to date about the parks ... and such good news about the Rec Center fees.