News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Brown's Chapel Rec Center: Powerpoint Convincingly Proves Need for Rec Center to Serve the Old, the Rich, and Juice Lovers

fancy report.jpgDuring a very special meeting -- not to be confused with a "community input meeting" -- last night, the results of the long-awaited feasibility study on the proposed $65 million "idea" for a rec center / imaginarium at Brown's Chapel Park was unveiled. Here's the report, prepared by Brailsford and Dunlavey for the Reston Association and Reston Community Center. Be warned -- it's a bit of a slog, which is why B&D thoughtfully prepared this PowerPoint presentation, which at 54 pages, or "slides," is a bit of a slog itself.

Here's what we gleaned as we skimmed through the presentation while on the phone with a third party discussing an unrelated subject and attempting to eat lunch. While our ability to multitask in this way resembles that of an "experienced journalist," consider this a disclaimer that you are instead reading a filthy "web log" and therefore not gaining the benefits of their level of expert analysis:

  • People who live in Reston are getting older! And richer! As a result, we need more facilities.
  • While people lost interest in tennis for a while after Andre Aggassi was taken off the market by an overwrought singer, it's recently become one of the fastest-growing sports in the country -- especially for the riches and the olds (see point #1).
  • There aren't many indoor tennis courts nearby.
  • B&D prepared three scenarios for the rec center, but never fear: even the most austere option would have a "juice bar."
  • Each of the three scenarios would cover between 74 and 80 percent of operating expenses. That translates into an annual deficit somewhere in the range of $3.9-$4.8 million, presumably depending on how many strawberry smoothies patrons buy.
  • No matter where or what is built, it'll probably take 3-4 years.
  • "Community input" is the next step in the process.
All joking aside, the report does prove what people have known all along -- that there is great demand for additional indoor facilities, and that building something might not be the worst idea in the world. The question that remains is where it should be built -- and who should foot the bill. Hopefully the RA and RCC will be listening to both questions as they hold their next round of meetings.


  1. I was at the meeting last night. I also own a very modest townhouse of 1100 sq ft. I was somewhat amazed that the minimum recommended facility was equal to 100 of this same unit all connected together. Good news, though. The projected construction cost of the facility (less operating expenses and service on the debt) is only 200 times the assessed value of my property.

    It boggles the mind.

  2. Anyone notice that the YMCA wasn't mentioned anywhere in the presentation materials.

    Guess RA/RCC have decided to put YMCA out of business.


  3. The consultants never talked to the YMCA - who have seen a decline in membership in recent years. They are operating at 70% capacity today.

    This seems counter to the demand data provided by the consultants. However that's the difference between data and the real world. You can make data say anything that you want it to but real world is just that REAL.

  4. As of the evening of June 2, the petition to save Brown's Chapel had nearly 1,100 signatures. Yeah, this Smudgins idea of the Wreck Center REALLY has a lot of community support behind it!

  5. We live in Fairfax County. Fairfax County has 9 indoor recreation centers subsidized by your real property taxes. Why is center number 10 not being paid for by the whole county? In terms of size and cost it will be the largest by far - but paid for by a small set of taxpayers (23,000 households in Small Tax District 5) An indoor rec center should only be built on Fairfax County land, paid for the same way as the other county rec centers, by all 381,000 households.

  6. Amazingly, when asked if they studied the utilization at the current health/sports clubs the B&D consultants said "we went in the clubs and looked at them but they didn't want to talk to us". Excuse me, this is their idea of research for which we paid them nearly $100,000. I did an informal survey of the local health clubs. I simply called them up and asked to speak to the director. I asked them what capacity they were operating at. Guess what they answered my questions and it didn't cost Reston members $100,000. Maybe the reason the B&D consultants didn't ask the question is because they DIDN'T WANT TO HEAR THE ANSWER. The answer is all of the local health/sports clubs are operating under capacity and are hurting for members. Consultants don't ask questions when they don't want to hear the answer.

  7. If the county really wants a facility in the Reston area, why don't they consider Lake Fairfax Park?

  8. Because, during these lean economic times, the county wants a facility without having to pay for it and because all of the political types would like to get re-elected.

  9. Isn't the RCC preference poll for the RCC Board coming up soon?

    Which three members are up for re-election and what is their position on the destruction of Browns Chapel?

    Are the opponents of the Browns Chapel proposal putting up a slate of candidates for the RCC Board?

  10. juice bar = Kool-aid bar = Jedi mind tricks

  11. *Insert Mauve-Colored Pseudonym Here*June 3, 2009 at 12:55 PM

    Note to Anonymous:

    Think of some creative names so we don't have to put "anonymous June 2 4:30pm" when responding to specific comments. Be brave like Amy Justice.

  12. Brave I will be! (squawked in Yoda voice). Where do we sign the save Brown's chapel petition? How do we get this onto an agenda where we can ask these questions of our elected FFCty representatives? I am mystified as to who is voting for these people each time. It sure isn't me! Representative service should not be a sinecure - it should be a privilege and a responsibility and the people elected should behave as if it is both! Remember this the next time we have an election!

  13. To sign the petition to go the website and click on the red box link to ipetition. It's on the first page.

  14. Golds in Herndon closed recently.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Sport & Health at Newton Square appears to have reduced the space it uses and the hours. I'm getting offers in the mail for local gyms for $100 a year to go to their gyms 2 times a week.

    People are cutting back on frills and going back to basics.

  15. See slide #42. The figures claim that more than 1 out of 3 Reston residents will be using fitness equipment available in gyms, such as ellipticals, treadmills, and free weights. Talk about a grossly misleading presentation. In addition, they inflate the figures by counting those respondents who use a private gym.

  16. See slide #42. The figures claim that more than 1 out of 3 Reston residents will be using fitness equipment available in gyms, such as ellipticals, treadmills, and free weights. Talk about a grossly misleading presentation. In addition, they inflate the figures by counting those respondents who use a private gym and don't need or want a public rec facility.

  17. The only thing that sucks about the petition is that I've seen some names on their twice and a few names of people who don't even live in Reston. Obviously it can't count for too high a proportion of the signatures but I'd hope that RA and RCC wouldn't discount the petition because of it.

    This whole thing is just a cluster****. If the bubble ideas weren't supported in the past, I'd think the majority of the community would support them now in favor of this monster.

  18. The Communithy Center has not yet been known to take a citizen suggestion. Surly this group of elected by a mere 200-800 should not be alowed to supervise a $65 million dollar building.
    Most of the board members represent either the Coral, Reston Players or Reston Swimmers.


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