I read with interest the coverage of the County’s interest in replacing Blake Lane Park in Oakton with a school. There is limited green space remaining in the county and the top priority of county residents identified in a 2016 Park Authority needs assessment was preserving green space. In fact, the Park Authority’s own service level standards seek to increase the number of community parks from the current 4.93 acres per 1,000 residents to at least 5.0 acres per 1,000. I fail to see how eliminating this park will move the county closer to its goal.
As disturbing as the Blake Lane park issue is, more troubling is that it fits into a pattern of the county gobbling up parkland to use for county facilities. Here in Lorton, the 5-acre Lorton Park is slated for almost complete elimination as well. It is the only park between I-95 and Richmond Highway in Lorton and serves the more than 10,000 Lorton residents boxed in between I-95 and Richmond Highway.
I guess the County just figures, “what the heck, we are only at 10 percent of our service level standards here anyway, so we might as well just get rid of the whole thing, these people in Lorton will never complain.”
The sad reality is that there is a far more suitable piece of county owned land available for the facility they want to build, but Fairfax County would prefer to sell that land to a developer. So, they are selling the only park in this community—paid for with park bonds—to a developer.
As was already pointed out in the coverage, this is a One Fairfax Issue. The One Fairfax equity policy guarantees an equitable distribution of park resources. It is starting to appear that the Board of Supervisors see’s One Fairfax as a slogan rather than a policy. After all, does anyone really believe that these types of park land grabs would happen in McLean?
A review of the County's park master plan database suggests they have designs on other parks as well. No candidate running for supervisor should get the support of the voters unless they sign onto one very simple pledge: “once a park, always a park.”