Controversy brewing in Fairfax County over park that could become school

Green space or school? It's the debate dividing a Fairfax County community that only has two parks and may soon lose one of them.

There are only two parks in this part of the Providence district of Fairfax County between Chain Bridge Road and Interstate 66.

Blake Lane Park is typically packed in the evenings because many of the people who live in the area reside in townhomes, condos, or subsidized housing and most don't have their own backyards.

Forty-two years ago, Blake Lane was designated as a school site -- now, it may actually become one.
Fairfax County School Board member Dalia Palchik says Fairfax County is in the planning phase and looking to build a brand new elementary school to address overcrowding in the district.

Palchik said they have seen growth, especially in the middle of the county, but opponents suggest otherwise, citing a five-year projection that shows enrollment actually decreasing at three nearby schools. They suggest increasing programming options and changing boundaries to shift students toward existing schools.

On Thursday night, the Fairfax County School Board sent FOX 5 the following statement:

"Based upon community feedback, FCPS staff continues evaluating the merits of the Blake Lane site for the new Fairfax/Oakton elementary school. Staff review of the Blake Lane site includes parking, traffic, pyramid enrollment trends, boundaries, instructional programs along with park and community use and could take up to a year. The review will coincide with the planned renovation/expansion at Mosby Woods Elementary School.

The elementary schools in the Oakton High School pyramid do not have room for all the students who reside in the pyramid. The proposed school will address the projected enrollment growth and current capacity challenges in that area. The proposed school site is included in the Capital Improvement Program for FY 2020-24 and the project has been identified for more than 6 years within the FCPS CIP."

The group "Save Blake Lane Park" will be holding a community event to raise awareness about their cause. It'll be held Saturday, April 27th from 11:00 am-3:00 pm at 10033 Blake Lane in Oakton.