A $60 million parks bond referendum being proposed for Fairfax County this fall would pay for major improvements to county and regional parks over the next five years.
That amount is being cut to $32 million, however, in the county executive's proposed fiscal 1983 budget, to be presented Monday to the Board of Supervisors.
The park bond cuts, along with similar reductions proposed for bond issues to finance construction of schools, highways, the Metro subway and a new county government center, are being recommended to keep a $60 million-a-year lid on bond issues and thus maintain the county's premier AAA bond rating.
That rating, which means lower interest rates for the county on its bonds, is given to fiscally conservative and secure municipal governments.
The total value of the bond issues voters will be asked to approve in November will be set by the Board of Supervisors in April.
The original bond issue proposal would allocate $50 million to the Fairfax County Park Authority and $10 million to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. The county executive's budget, however, would give the county parks $25 million and the regional park authority $7.5 million.
The county park agency's proposal, for a five-year bond issue, would pay for improvements to parks in virtually every part of the county. Each of the county's eight magisterial districts would get $1 million annually for five years to upgrade its parks with the remaining $9.5 million reserved for county-wide projects.
Those county-wide projects would include two new, indoor recreation centers and major improvements to one or two other centers.
If supervisors uphold the recommended 50 percent cut, the park authority is expected to use priority lists to determine what is cut back.
The regional park authority proposed a $10 million, five-year bond issue to pay Fairfax County's share of a $17.4 million, five-year capital improvement program for regional parks. Arlington voters approved a park bond issue last fall, and the four other members of the regional park authority raise their share through means other than park bonds.
Regional park authority spokeswoman Dorothy Werner said this week the authority "could live with" the proposed 25 percent reduction. The agency, which already derives almost two-thirds of its operating budget from park admissions fees, estimated that the proposed five-year development program would entail no additional operating costs.
The current emphasis in both park systems is on developing park land rather than acquiring new sites. Little additional land is proposed for either system under the five-year capital improvement programs.
The county park bond money would pay for features such as playing fields, trails and landscaping, primarily in local parks. About 75 percent of the county's 14,000 acres of park land remains undeveloped.
The regional park authority's capital program proposes further improvements along its new and already popular W&OD trail, a complex of overnight cabins at Algonkina Regional Park on the Loudoun-Fairfax County line, an outdoor swimming center at the new Cameron Run Regional Park in Alexandria and major improvements to almost all of the other regional parks.
Public hearings on the parks budgets, held jointly by the county and regional agencies, begin next week. They will be held March 3 at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, March 11 at Falls Church High School, March 18 at Hayfield Secondary School on Telegraph Road and March 24 at Madison High School in Vienna. All hearings will begin at 8 p.m.