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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Park Authority Board updates

The following report is the latest in a series of occasional updates about Fairfax County Park Authority Board matters by at-large member and Annandale/Falls Church area resident Marie Reinsdorf.

Greetings! Since my last update in early January, the Fairfax County Park Authority Board voted to approve the following:
  • The Park Authority Board approved an agreement with the City of Alexandria to allow the city to construct and maintain the Chambliss Crossing over Holmes Run to connect walkers and cyclists from the Holmes Run Stream Valley Trail to the Alexandria Trail network. The Stream Valley Trail is accessible from an entrance on Columbia Pike directly south of the Lake Barcroft Dam. Alexandria is paying for the construction and for subsequent maintenance. Project details can be accessed online.
  • Repairs/reconstruction work will be carried out at the Pinecrest Golf Course dam and at Providence RECenter.
  • The board adopted new fees March 14 for recreation centers, golf courses, and other places. The details can be found in an Administration, Management and Budget Committee package dated Feb. 22. 
  • The National Golf Federation submitted a report recommending improvements in Fairfax County golf operations. This comprehensive and well-written report was commissioned by the Park Board and is part of the Feb. 8 Board Package.

We also had an excellent update from Park Services manager John Berlin and his staffers, Ellen Werthmann and Mike Bonneville, about our 40-year-old Rec PAC summer camp program. Rec PAC offers structured, week-long recreation programs for six weeks during the summer at schools at an affordable and sliding-scale fee.

The Fairfax County Park Foundation generously funds scholarships to help ensure that no child is turned away. Among other features, the camps are located within walking distance for many children in low-income areas, provide inclusion sites with specialized staff for children with disabilities, are very easy to sign up for, and are focused on high-quality experiences that will bring campers back for more. Each week has a theme, and every year, one week is dedicated to the theme “Rec PAC Gives Back” where campers undertake community service projects.

Current challenges to the Rec PAC program include a 10 percent fee increase this year, aging equipment, and the loss of field trips.

The Board of Supervisors on May 1 approved a parks budget for fiscal year 2013, which runs from July 2012 through June 2013. We will receive $22.6 million plus $7.8 million in what is known as the General County Construction Fund. This is less than 40 percent of our total budget; the remainder comes from fees.
Any views expressed are her are Reinsdorf's, as are any inadvertent errors. Please feel free to contact her by email using the online contact the FCPS Board feedback form. 

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