News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Brown's Chapel Rec Center: Issue instantly resolved through Facebook group, e-petition

A group of Reston residents opposed to the awesome new $65 million recreation center/roller derby arena the RA and RCC are proposing be built at Brown's Chapel has done what any group of disenfranchised citizens in the 21st century would do -- get a bunch of dopey teabags and stand in a rain-soaked field. Oh, wait -- we're thinking of another group of Right-thinking Americans, but like the teabaggers, the Coalition to Save Brown's Chapel Park has set up an online petition, a Facebook group (which links to another group with a petition to BAN HOMEWORK), and even that cutting-edge bit of technology, a P.O. box.

Let the board members of Reston Association and Reston Community Center know we do not want them to destroy this picturesque park to build a massive recreation center complex and multi-story parking garage. Reston residents will solely carry the burden for this $100,000,000.00 (one hundred million dollar) project. We don't want to lose our baseball fields, picnic areas, walking trails, basketball court and playground. Open spaces are valuable resources which require stewardship for all Restonians.

Call to Action: Come to the Public Input Meeting on May 18 at 7:30 at the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne. Show your support wear a White shirt. Kids are encouraged to attend wearing their baseball uniforms.
The wearing of color-coordinated fashions to public meetings reminds us of another awesome advocacy group, but maybe this one will have better luck. Apparently this Unstoppable Coalition has enlisted the forces of Reston Little League, which is concerned about losing playing space. Writes one:
This is a travesty - we are trading hours of fun for our children in the outdoors for a small number of people to play tennis.
Watch out, kids -- the one thing people in Reston are rabid about is indoor tennis. But maybe the RA will take a "divide and conquer" approach to shattering the coalition by offering to include in the new facility an indoor "base-ball" field, complete with fancy CFC lighting to keep young outfielders from losing the ball in the sun. Or maybe more parking. Everyone loves parking spaces. Wheee!


  1. How many dollars has RA spent on consultants for all this planning? All without asking Restonians at large if they want more debt to finance, and less green open spaces to walk in.

  2. Reston Little League gets RA's Snake Den treatment.

    After reviewing the materials on the RA site, it's clear this study was designed and intended to destroy baseball/softball in Reston to benefit tennis.

    There were no baseball people on the study committee that recommended Browns Chapel.

    The study claims baseball/softball fields that don't exist and claims credit for fields not provided by RA but other entities.

    All but one of the sites considered were Little League fields.

    The Browns Chapel 60' field is the single best Little League field that RA has.

    How come no soccer fields were considered for this boondogle?

  3. Why don't they modify or raze and rebuild on one of the Spectrum Center properties that can't keep a tenant? There's parking space, it's not in the line of sight of any neighborhoods, close to bus lines.

    Sounds like another back door 'spend money' proposal.

  4. The Convict in Gulag 4May 1, 2009 at 11:18 AM

    Are you kidding, anonymous? Didn't you know that Reston already has too few shopping venues and too few dining choices.

    Maybe we should raze Winterthur instead? Not only would we get a new sports facility, but we could take care of a significant part of our crime, gang and illegal alien problem all in one swell foop.

    On the other hand, if they did that, then where would the police helicopters go on those muggy weekend nights? I would desperately miss the whoop-whoop-whoop of rotor blades wafting over strains of Mariachi blasting from car stereos.

  5. I'm talking about the end of the Spectrum Center where Zany Brainy was many moons ago.

    Too few dining choices? Puh-leeze! They are many, varied, and mostly poorly done!

    Can't get rid of Winterthur because then our claims of "housing for everyone" will no longer be true and Reston...well, it just wouldn't be Bob Simon's dream come almost true anymore!

  6. Why is Reston going to build indoor tennis fields? The only place I know that has indoor tennis is New York City because they have too. No room. The Rec center in my view needs to have indoor turf fields. Right now Brown’s Chapel Park is use most of the time in the evening and on the weekend. The Rec center is going to be use all day, and every single day. Who ever is complaining about the trail in Brown’s Chapel Park, is called a sidewalk. People use the sidewalks to get to the baseball fields, basketball and tennis courts. There is no trail that goes through the woods next Baron Cameron Park soccer fields. If anything Reston needs to use money to build artificial turf field in Baron Cameron Park.

    My solution, if this proposal doesn’t work is building the Rec center in Lake Newport parks’ two soccer fields next to Reston pkwy. It can be a two-part Rec center. A bridge across Reston pkwy would connect the Rec center part that is where the soccer fields are at and the other where the swimming area is at across the pkwy. So that the Rec center would have a indoor and outdoor pool. Reston can replace the one of the two soccer fields they are losing by building another in the park between Walnut Branch Rd and Fairfax pkwy.
    People have to realize that Reston is not a town anymore is a city of 90,000 and growing. It about time to build a Rec center.

  7. There's plenty of room around the Lake Newport Tennis Courts to build a rec center. It was listed as a potential site in the PROS report but not studied. Why?

    The RA report claims RA has 9 grass infield 60' baseball diamonds. I count only 7: Running Cedar, Twin Branches (which isn't really 60'), Bordeaux, Ring Road, Browns Chapel & 2 @ Hook Road. Where are the other two which RA claims are on RA land?

    RA also claims there are 12 skinned 60' fields in Reston maintained by others. I count only 9: Dogwood ES, Terraset, Langston Hughes, SLHS has 2, 2 @ Aldrin ES, 2 behind Home Depot. Where are the other 3?

    Why were no rectangular fields studied as locations for this facility?

    Why did RA's study committee have no one from Little League on it?

    The fix was in, I guess.

  8. What is clear is that the supporters of various sports each have an agenda important to them. It reminds me of my college professors saying, "this is the most important class you'll ever have." They all said it and they all believed it. They could not all be right.

    The RA website says the hearings are just beginning. I suggest the sports supporters take their teams to the meetings so as to instruct the youngsters on what "open meetings" in a democracy mean!

    My kids played LL in Reston, so I'm in your corner questioning this move on RA's part -- I just think that no one will be pleased with whatever outcome occurs.

  9. The Convict in Gulag 4May 2, 2009 at 4:17 PM

    Look, we already have baseball diamonds, soccer fields, indoor and outdoor pools, ice skating rinks, and gymnasiums. We don't need more of these, especially since none are overused. Well, all except for the soccer field near my house that seems to be owned by the futbolistas every weekday evening and most weekends.

    But I ask again, how many banked track roller rinks or even flat tracks does Reston have? How many bowling alleys? How many pinball arcades? We talk about tolerance and diversity in our society but our choice of sports seems to be same as every other community. In fact, it seems to me that Reston's choices in recreation seems to be pretty much the same as, say, Herndon.

    We could also use an outdoor curling venue.

    And I still vote for razing Winterthur. There were two angry helicopters buzzing around again at 11 pm. If we must have diversity, then I think that North Reston is under-represented in the Section 8 housing category.

  10. If you oppose this idea and you belong to RA, the answer is simple: don't vote in the referendum.

    That's how the idiotic office building was defeated.

    RA needs over 10,000 votes for the vote to be valid. If less than that number vote, the proposal goes down no matter the split between yea and any.

    Defeat the $65m boondogle, don't vote!

  11. I have to disagree with Anonymous just above:

    First, it is not clear that it will be an RA issue. It could be presented as a Tax District #5 referendum. It then doesn't matter how many vote; a majority vote wins.

    Second, if it is an RA capital initiative requiring a referendum and you don't want the center, please vote "NO." It is too great a risk to not vote if you have a clear opinion. All it takes is a mere 30% vote of which 2/3s must vote "YES" to get this passed. It would be far simpler and more certain to vote "NO" because it will take two votes to counter yours.

    My bet is that this will be framed as a tax district referendum for the capital investment of tens of millions of dollars because it will be simpler to pass. Whether RA or RCC assumes the steep ensuing operating costs is still not clear.

    Either way, Restonians take in the wallet for the tennis special interest group.

  12. It's interesting to see how various sporting special interests around here somehow always manage to push their agenda on the rest of us. The biking lobby has succeeded in reducing traffic lanes when Lawyers Road, a major thoroughfare, is repaved and restriped so they can fulfill their Tour de France fantasies (look for all the Lance Armstrong wanna-be's on late Tuesday afternoons in spring and summer, cycling en masse several abreast and blocking everyone behind them). And now this proposal for a rec center that, as I understand it, primarily benefits tennis to the detriment of baseball and softball.

    I play none of these sports, so I have no direct stake in what does or does not happen at Brown's Chapel. However, for those who oppose this plan, I suggest you make your opposition as public and as large-scale as possible. Turn out en masse for any public meetings (and bring you kids in their team outfits -- good photo opp for the media). When Fairfax County came up with its lame-brain scheme to turn the Reston South park&ride into a huge apartment complex about three years ago, the fact that more than 300 neighborhood residents jammed a public meeting to oppose this scheme was IMHO a decisive factor in defeating it. I think Cathy Hudgins, who was there and maintaiend a studious neutrality at the meeting, saw which way the electoral winds would be blowing if she supported the idea.

  13. North Point BabeMay 3, 2009 at 6:06 PM

    Reston tennis advocates have been trying to get indoor tennis for a hundred years. They could never get it done because the numbers don't justify the cost. Now they got in bed with the folks at RCC who desperately want a bigger empire. They are the major driver behind this mess. They are suffering from YMCA envy and have dreamt up this scheme to rule the biggest Rec Center in all of Fairfax County. Our tax dollars are burning a hole in their pockets. Read the minutes from their April board meeting and you will see them all drooling with excitement. Community input -- that's a complete sham. It should be called community brainwashing. Don't put up with it, attend the May 18 public input meeting at 7:30 at the Lake Anne Branch of the RCC.

  14. This project will require a vote of both Small District #5 and RA.

    If the "nos" stay out of the RA referendum, the "yeses" will have to find over 10,000 votes. RA couldn't do that for its new office.

    Thus, the sure strategy to defeat this mess is not to vote in the RA referendum.

  15. Hey anonymous tell Bob Simons to move to Winterthur or Stonegate projects. Since his dream was to live with al types of people. Maybe after that he will change his mind. It’s also not fair that north Reston doesn’t have a project-housing program. Also tell Simmons once he is in Winterthur to hide his GPS that is in his car or else it might get stolen.

  16. Yo El -- It's Simon. Not Simmons or Simons.

    Anonymous No. 6 -- An RA referendum requires about 5,300 votes. I know that's not the exact number but it's definitely not 10,000. About 5,000 people voted in the referendum on the headquarters (which required 2/3 majority) but they missed their mark by about 200-some votes.

    Also -- The RCC/RA joint venture will require a small tax district five referendum vote and it will be funded by capital bonds.


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