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FairfaxNewsBlake Lane parcel will remain park in perpetuity

Blake Lane parcel will remain park in perpetuity

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Blake Lane Park in Oakton will continue to host recreational activities and will not be converted for use as an elementary school, the Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed April 13.

Supervisors voted to transfer the property to the Fairfax County Park Authority and in exchange will receive a land-bank credit worth the site’s tax-assessed value.

The park, located at 10033 Blake Lane, consists of two parcels totalling about 10 acres. The Fairfax County School Board initially owned the site, proffered in 1977 for use as a school, but had no immediate need for a school there and allowed the Park Authority to develop recreation facilities under an interim-use agreement.

The Park Authority over the years developed a dog park, butterfly garden, play area and two rectangular athletic fields at the site. (The county also collected recyclables there, but removed those containers in September 2016 because of chronic illegal dumping.)

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The School Board in 2006 transferred the site to the Board of Supervisors in order to obtain more bond funding for school construction.

The School Board in 2017 received public push-back after identifying Blake Lane Park as a possible site for a future $35 million elementary school.

Because data showed that schools near Blake Lane Park were not suffering capacity problems, School Board members on Jan. 5 this year instead decided to use the Dunn Loring Administration Center as an elementary school.

The Park Authority sought the land conveyance to preserve existing recreational offerings at the park and allow easier development of future park features there, county staff said.

As part of the conveyance agreement, supervisors required that Blake Lane Park be used for public-park purposes and maintained according to the Park Authority’s standards.

Park Authority master-planning policies will guide future initiatives at the park and these will be the subject of a community-focused process, said Supervisor Dalia Palchik (D-Providence).

Supervisors reserved the right to allow public entities and utilities, plus telecommunications and cable-television providers, to serve the site. The county also will continue to own and maintain its sanitary sewers and stormwater-management facilities there.

All six residents who testified at the April 13 public hearing favored the park’s conveyance. The action dovetails well with the county’s One Fairfax policy, which requires balanced distribution of parks and facilities, said Jennifer Pradas of Save Blake Lane.

Oakton’s south side, where she lives, has only two parks, including the one on Blake Lane, she said.

“The north side of Oakton not only has large parks listed on maps, but smaller community parks that only neighbors seem to know about,” Pradas said.

With more people working and studying from home during the pandemic, “it is more important than ever to have a green space to throw a Frisbee, have a picnic or just run around,” said Michael McDonald, secretary of the Cyrandall Valley North Homeowners’ Association.

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