News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, July 24, 2009

Breaking: RA Board Takes Brown's Chapel Park Off The Table for Indoor Rec Center, Juicery

No TajMahal-OJ.jpg.jpegWell, it just might be safe to open that Orange Julius franchise after all. During its meeting Thursday night, the Reston Association Board of Directors voted 8-2 7-2 to take Brown's Chapel Park off the table as the location for the proposed $65 million rec center/juicery that, frankly, no one has paid much attention to. Cheryl Beamer and Tom Vis were the sole votes against the motion, which was first raised by Joe Leighton at the RA Board's last meeting back in June, only to be tabled until last night.

Because we're just filthy "web loggers" and only hear about these things secondhand, while watching hilarious animal videos on the YouTubes, it's not clear what the fate of the rec center itself might be, or whether the RA will continue to work with the RCC on the project, or maybe just cover a bunch of tennis courts at Lake Newport with a giant plexiglass dome and call it a day. The irony is that the decision to take Brown's Chapel off the table might actually help its supporters get the rec center built in the long run, as it makes moot a lot of the bad blood from the ham-handed miscues that started this whole mess. It would be a shame if the entire project was dead in the water, as the folks who've demonstrated a legitimate need for indoor facilities weren't the ones holding the secret meetings and funding the fancy studies.

We'll update as we hear more, maybe from one of those "experienced journalists" we keep hearing about.

They're already celebrating at the Save Brown's Chapel "Web site," where they've posted a quote by Margaret Mead. At first, we were surprised that the quote wasn't "frankly my dear, I don't give a damn," but then we realized that was a different Margaret. It's late and we sure could go for a glass of juice right about now.

Update: The text of the RA motion is in the comments. The Cliff's Notes version: RA loves it some open space, and they're canning their consultants, but will continue to work with RCC to identify "responsible options" for additional rec facilities "in the future." Okay then!


  1. Here's the full text of the motion:

    Given the Association's strategic goal of protecting its natural resource and open spaces, it is hereby resolved that the Board cease all discussions regarding leasing, deeding, transferring, assigning, or conveying Brown's Chapel Park, or any part thereof, to Fairfax County, or any other entity, and to discontinue further discussions of constructing an indoor recreation facility at Brown's Chapel Park. This resolution shall not be construed as preventing any future enhancements to existing facilities, to include upgrades to ball fields, pavilions, play equipment, or picnic facilities, at Brown's Chapel Park by Reston Association.

    It is further resolved that staff initiate closing out the Brailsford and Dunlavey consulting agreement in accordance with the terms and conditions of that contract. This resolution shall not be construed as preventing any future engagement of B&D by this or any future Board.

    It is further resolved that the Reston Association shall continue to participate with RCC in an ongoing effort to identify responsible options for delivering additional recreational programming to Reston Association Members in the future.

  2. The Convict in the GulagJuly 24, 2009 at 12:02 PM

    I'm glad to see that they didn't completely close the door on future expansion and improvement of Reston's recreational facilities. As long as there's still hope for bringing Roller Derby to Reston, I guess I'll hang onto my little piece of paradise in the Gulag.

  3. I heard the empty Chubb Institute building could be had for a song and dance. A whole bunch of people were thrown out of work when they closed the school. They could be hired back as pilates instructors, towel boys, and bartenders for a new state-of-the-art athletic facility behind the Skating Rink.

  4. The sneaky folks on RA & RCC who pursued this idea without any community support still need to be voted out of office at the next opportunity.

    First the Snake Den fiasco, then the HQ failure and now the Rec Center travesty.

    This collection of folks can't shoot straight and need to be gone. Especially Robin, Mike & Bouie. Three more arrogant people will rarely be found.

  5. There was a typo in the immediately preceding post: "Mike" should read "Milton."

  6. You definitelty have that right.

    I call for the resignation of all three:

    milton matthews (especiall as he is paid in excess of $200,000).
    robyn smyers
    and bouie

    This entire array of things has gone from bizarre, to comical, to disgusitng, to abusrd to being a complete out-of-control nightmare.

    Out with the liberal buffons and in with reasonable, BALANCED, people.

  7. I think Snake Den is beautiful and wonderful. I love the bench down past the 7-11. How can you call it a fiasco? It only took 10 years to get it back to where I can walk my dog again.

  8. Anon 12:23

    Its a fiasco because we had a closed canopy woodland stream valley which is exceptionally rare in Fairfax.

    Scores of other people had no problems walking their dogs down Snake Den paths in the 25 years I lived adjacent to Snake Den.

    Hundreds, if not thousands of mature trees were needlessly removed to create a Disneyfied artificial replica of a stream valley.

    All of this to put $100ks if not $1ms into Rolband's pocket.

  9. $70 million minus costs. Which might be going up for him.

  10. Anon 9:50

    You might be interested to know that among WSSI's outlays is a $1,000 donation to Ken Plum's re-election campaign. This can be checked out at the Virginia Public Access Project Website,, which lists all contributions to politicians. Put Plum's name in the search box, and you'll see on page 2 of his list of donors that Wetlands Streams and Solutions (WSSI) gave him $1,000 on May 14 of this year. Comments, anyone?

  11. Ken Plum is chairman of the board of the Dulles Corridor Rail Association which seeks the transformation of Reston into a high-density, transit-oriented CITY. If you want Reston to remain in some fashion as it is now, perhaps you might consider supporting Plum's Republican opponent, Mark Whited. The work WSSI is doing to "restore" our streams is preparing our watershed for the additional impervious surfaces that will come as result of redevelopment.

  12. No, it's to restore our streams back to what they were BEFORE all the development we already have. Look at the 8 foot chasms we have behind the catholic church. Look at what runs off from HW shopping center. Redevelopment is coming whether there is rail or not. And don't even get me started about the need for rail.

    Ken Plum has an outstanding record serving Reston, and Virginia, for over 20+ years. Mark is probably a great guy, but your tacky inference that Ken's support of stream restoration is attached to campaign contributions is obnoxious.

  13. Ken Plum went to the state legislature, I believe in 1998, and had them revoke the Wiehle Charter without public hearings. The Wiehle Charter was purchased by Bob Simon with the land when he bought Reston. That charter allowed us to become incorporated as a town and to have the ability to control our own zoning independent of Fairfax County as Herndon and Vienna currently do. It was always part of Bob Simon's plan that we be self-governing. The stream restoration being done now will enable Reston's streams to carry storm runoff when our population reaches 100,000 or perhaps as high as 180,000 with redevelopment. Sorry if you find that obnoxious. I don't have anything against Ken Plum personally. I have voted for him. His actions with regard to Reston that I have recently learned about are problematic for me.

  14. Umm... the county already has like 20 applications from landowners along 276 in the Reston/Hunter Mill district for redevelopment. Everyone who owns a chunk of land there is going to be trying to make it bigger in preparation for Metro so they can all make more money -- doesn't matter who's in office locally. It's about the money. Just watch. Twenty years and this place'll be all sky-high, multi-purpose, transit-oriented redevelopment.

  15. Please see my post on about the Land Use College meeting tomorrow night.
    Kathy Kaplan

  16. Anon 9:37

    The only thing that's tacky and obnoxious is that Plum accepted $1,000 from WSSI -- three months after WSSI's nuclear winter plan for Snakeden caused an uproar in Reston. And let me guess, Mike Rolband contributed the money purely out of the goodness of his heart, not expecting anything in return.

    I agree with you that on the whole Plum has served the Reston community well, and no one is saying he was "bought" for $1,000. But the fact he accepted money from WSSI reeks of surprisingly political ineptness on his part. I'm not naive enought to think that this doesn't go on all over the U.S. -- just look at the latest New Jersey corruption scandal -- but let's not kid ourselves that northern Virginia politicians haven't been in bed with every special interest grouop there is, especially developers.

  17. Make that Anon 11:04, not Anon 9:37 :-)

  18. Please see info on Plant Save tomorrow, Glade Stream, Reach 4 on


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