News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Brown's Chapel Rec Center: An "Experienced Journalist" Weighs In, Plus Another "Web Log" Post From the RA

TajMahal-OJ.jpg.jpegSo an actual "experienced journalist" has finally weighed in after Monday's awesome unveiling of the feasibility study on whether it makes sense to have an idea that might someday lead to the construction of an awesome $65 million rec center / juicery at Brown's Chapel Park in North Reston. His account shockingly omitted the juice bar revelations in the report -- an error known to "experienced journalists" as "burying the lede" -- but did reveal a few bits of new information:

  • Carol Ann Bradley, chair of the RCC Board of Governors, assured the crowd that the project would only go forward with the consent of the community and if it could be done without raising the tax rate in Small Tax District 5, which supports the RCC. RCC plans to issue a survey in the fall that will touch on whether people want a juice bar recreation center, plus where it should go.

  • Former RA President Rick Beyer is now co-chair of the grassroots group Save Brown’s Chapel. The group has now retained legal counsel and said Monday it would take action if the RA and RCC tried to build the center without putting it to a referendum.

  • We haven't heard much from the pro-rec center crowds, which don't have a nifty "Web site" or anything, but they did speak at Monday's meeting, and even wore nifty stickers saying "Yes! Support the rec center."

    Reston Masters Swim Team President Gordon Gerson said his group — and the community — badly needed more indoor swimming. "A most excellent planned community should have a most excellent recreation center," he said. Gerson said the community center at Hunters Woods was not designed for athletics and the pool was too small. If half of the 118 members of his team showed up for practice, he said, they would be swimming 10 to a lane. Meanwhile, practices could not be split up because too few available hours existed. He said there were too few lanes for individual swimmers to use for exercise and nowhere for Reston children to swim during the winter.

    "We’re not against anything," Gerson said. "The only thing we’re against is not doing anything."

    Evan Bass, chair of the RA Tennis Advisory Committee, said Reston needed to fight the growing problem of childhood obesity by providing a place to exercise during winter and in bad weather.
Let's hope that juice bar offers low-calorie drinks then.

You can also see lots of video action from Monday's meeting on the YouTubes, all collected here, if you're into such unspeakable filth.

Meanwhile, RA President Robin Smyers Administrator Account has updated her "
Web-blog" with a "post" asking residents to envision Reston 40 years from now, only without the earth-toned cyborgs that will have enslaved us all by that point.
We love the natural areas, tennis courts, pools, pathways, camps, the diversity of housing and the ability to live, work and play. All of us want to preserve what we have come to expect.

But we also need to preserve and improve our facilities. Face it. Our newest pool is more than a decade old. We have incredible staff that maintains our pools, tennis courts and open areas. Covenant helps property owners keep their homes up to standards. But many of our properties are as old as Reston itself.

We have to be ready to accept and plan for our impending growth. Metro will bring people and despite the bleak economy now, there will eventually be an improvement. This will not only bring jobs to our beautiful community, but we will welcome more neighbors who will live and work here.

So, now is the time in look at ways to improve and re-invest in Reston. What amenities will we need to provide to the community in the next four decades? One option that people have indicated an interest in is year-round recreational facilities that would allow them access without having to travel. Over the years, we’ve discussed enclosing tennis courts, covering a pool to be able to accommodate year-round swimming, and tried to light baseball fields to meet various community needs and interests.

Now, we have an opportunity invest in the next 40 years and build something for the next generation.

The RA Board has not made any decisions about building an indoor facility or a potential location. There are plenty of ideas. The most important are those we will get from you. Please plan to attend one of the four community sessions scheduled for each of our districts. We want to hear from the entire community on your vision of Reston in the next 40 years. I hope you will have time to attend.
Something tells us the board will get its wish.


  1. "We have to be ready to accept and plan for our impending growth. Metro will bring people and despite the bleak economy now, there will eventually be an improvement. This will not only bring jobs to our beautiful community, but we will welcome more neighbors who will live and work here." Robin Smyers

    The developer JBG wants to replace 346 townhouse apartments with 940 units at Fairway Apts in a mid-rise and high-rise (10 stories) development that looks a lot like Market Commons in Arlington. That is an addition of about 1,500 new neighbors to drive along North Shore Drive at morning rush hour.

    Just how many more neighbors are we talking about Robin?

    If you would like to have something to say about that question please sign up for the Reston Land Use College (it's not a college, only a couple of classes about planning and zoning)that starts June 16 at 7 pm, Lake Anne Elementary School. Email and tell him to add you to his list.

  2. There are 20 landowners along the toll road in Reston that want to redevelop their current land and buildings into mixed use housing office and retail.

  3. Is Robin so naive as to believe that we won't see her latest offering as a pure bs/pr effort to sell the rec center, she obviously advocates? Nope, she hasn't made any decisions. Riiiiiight.

    She must think we are all labotomized seedpods.

    The only ones supporting your Walmart sized sweatshop, Robin, are the Master Swimmers. All 111 of them in a population of 65,000.

    That's $900,000 per master swimmer. How about we write them each a check for a lifetime membership at the Reston YMCA and spend the rest to rehab the old swimming pools and properly equip the Browns Chapel and Hook Road baseball fields with plenty left over to enclose the Lake Newport tennis courts.

    Notice that the $90,00 report projects that the demographic for baseball players stays same and the one demographic falling are the age groups most active in tennis: 25-44. So eliminating facilities for a stable population to make room to build $100 million facilities for a fading population makes lots of sense. Not!

    Robin, your own survey says 68% of Restonians are fine with the recreation facilities we have. But lets us ignore the overwhelming majority of Restonians and waste $100 to put the underutilized YMCA and the commercial health clubs out of business.

    Great job fulfilling your fiduciary duty to preserve the value of RA's assets. Not, again.

  4. A deserves no defense but Madam President's message contains at one grain of truth. A healthy community does need to continue to invest in its facilities, if only to replace/maintain what it has. You don't want Reston to become like some Philadelphia or New York suburbs that refused to invest and woke up one day to find their amenities were not so wonderful any more. The problem is that RA will never have the money to invest properly -- largely because its fees are artificially capped. RCC can raise money more easily, but it's a sad relic from the days when Fairfax County tried to pretend that Reston didn't exist. Why should Reston have to pay for its own recreation facilities? Isn't that why we pay Fairfax County taxes? Wouldn't a recreation center (like Oak Marr) at Lake Fairfax Park solve this problem?


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