News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Brown's Chapel Rec Center: Signal to Noise

rec center wtf.jpgHere's yet another account of yet another Brown's Chapel rec center meeting, this time the one held by those sticks in the mud at Reston ARCH, who keep insisting on these crazy concepts of "accountability" and whatnot. The one bit of news we gleaned is that Brown's Chapel is no longer the only site being considered -- Lake Newport is also apparently under consideration. Wait, isn't that the same general neck of the woods?

Anyhoo, here's the account:

Went to the meeting last night. Very high signal to noise. Robert Goudie did a good job as moderator. Most questions went to RCC, but RA clarified several issues.

Large crowd very hostile to large cost of plan and loss of green space.

RCC did good job explaining:
a) Long lead time needed for planning infrastructure upgrades
b) Confident that planned population increase in Reston (post-Metro) can fund new rec. center
c) RCC & RA working together, not RCC and FC Parks and Rec
d) Site planning is Lake Newport or Browns Chapel
e) Baron Cameron & Lake Fairfax Parks, or North Government Center areas have "issues"
f) One detailed plan with max of 100 million in total costs over 20 years.
f1) Construction cost projected to be 50 million with free land provided by someone
g) No express desire for rec center from local businesses (pay 45% of SD 5 taxes)
h) More cost effective to have one big center
i) RCC wants a championship sized indoor pool, RA wants indoor tennis
j) Key to development direction is response to phone survey in Fall 09
k) Earliest bond (if needed) would be issued ~ winter 2011

RA added:
l) Value of land is approximately $4 million. ($2-2.5 / sq. ft. @ 12 acres) No assessment in hand
m) Only DRB approved structure is a covered tennis area at Lake Newport
n) Cost was $1.8 million in 2003. Plan cancelled then due to high cost.
o) even with approval from the residents via referendum, a planned building, and a bond issue to pay for $100 million, the DRB needs to approve design.

My note: DRB seems to be the unelected, uncontrollable ruler of what Reston becomes.

As of today, no post on ARCH or RCC sites on meeting.

Good times.
Good times, indeed! And with tonight's meeting at Lake Anne Elementary, the good times keep on coming. We've said it before, and we'll say it again -- we'd welcome the folks who are in favor of the rec center to speak up, as they appear to be nowhere to be found. At least not on this filthy "web log," anyway.


  1. I live walking distance to the proposed space and walk around the lake at least two times a day.

    I AM IN FAVOR of the rec center (1st in favor post!).

    The only people who use the two upper ball fields are cricket players on Saturday and Sunday morning. I may see a team practicing baseball, but the fields are professional size and the little league can't use them for games, or so I was told by friends who know this sorta thing.

    There are two exercise groups that use the parking lots and basketball court at 6am weekdays for their classes (they charge for the classes but I am confident they aren't paying Reston to use the space).

    Occassionally (once to twice a week) we see someone at the tot lot.

    There is green space there-- it is rarely used.

    I rather have a reasonably priced rec center available in North Reston. We know the YMCA is really a health club (pricewise) and elitist (topic for furture post?). Other YMCAs allow people to use the restroom, offer showers to homeless, etc, but not the Reston one....

    Anywoo, I live in the neighborhood and I want the rec center.

  2. I wouldn’t mind building a rec center, but NOT for indoor tennis. "God no indoor tennis" where else in the USA has a community build a Rec center just for indoor tennis. Before building a rec center Reston needs to build a police sub-station in south Reston, prefer in front of Winterthur. By the way in the past I wrote a comment for the idea of building a rec center in lake Newport park area by having a bridge run across Reston Pkwy connecting both sides of fields and pools.

  3. hmmm ... this is just getting downright smelly...

    Bill Lauer, of Tetra Partners, was proposing a large Office Building be built at Lake Newport several years ago... the fight is still ongoing...

    This is just getting absolutely ridiculous... it seems there is either a huge conspiracy among all the powers that be ... we are dealing with a group of totally dysfunctional idiots who are running the hen house...

    Reston's vision and original plan is being tarnished every hour...

  4. Sorry to hijack the thread, but what is the genreral concensus on the Silver Line? Is this a done deal or will it be bogged down in funding/politics beyond the 2013 date? What will be the impact on Reston? I see it being good for property values. Thanks!

  5. I fairly new to Reston and not very knowledgable on the local governance. It seems that the views and policies held by the leaders are in stark contrast to the views and preferences of the people. Are these leaders - the leaders of the Reston Association and the Reston Community Center - elected officials? If so, what is their motivation for instituting polices that nobody wants? Normally, one would suspect campaign donations, but I can't imagine there is that much money or need for money in Reston politics.

  6. If the Silver Line is delayed or cancelled the new tax revenue from the build-out of the Whiele station will not materialize. Guess who will be holding the bag? Not RA. The good 'ol taxpayers are the sheep that will be shorn.

  7. Let' face it -- FFX County officials work for the developers... just look at the buisness corriders in the county to see if there is any rhyme or reason ove the years. .. other than free-for-all land development.

    I just wish this set of crooks in office were competent...

  8. apologize for (sp) on last post -- "corridors" -- thank you...

    Hey Restonian -- get a spellchecker on this thing...:-)

  9. Yes, FFX County officials work for the developers, but aren't these proposals coming forward via Reston Association leaders?

  10. I could've sworn I saw Reston Youth Soccer league and Babe Ruth baseball hold games at Browns Chapel before they mowed down those corn fields.

    There's also a good reason for green space to exist in conjunction with the path system. It provides relief from traffic and development for walkers, joggers, and other path users. If you go to Sterling or Vienna, you don't see people using the sidewalks for power walks.

  11. Correcting Anonymous 7/9 9:50

    The 90' fields are used for games and practice by Babe Ruth and Senior Babe Ruth teams, i.e., junior high and high school aged boys.

    This proposal would also wipe out the 60' Little League field which is the best 60' field that RA has.

    Cover the Lake Newport tennis courts for the 8 weeks a year that there might be snow or ice on the courts, fine.

    Let the cheap skate masters swimmers rent the underutilized Olympic pool at the YMCA.

    Enough with the grandiosity, RA & Bill Bouie

  12. I agree, cover Lake Newport tennis courts and Lake Newport pool, and hell any others they want...

    I read where this was considered, but determined not feasible... I find that hard to believe, unless they were dumbfounded it would be a fraction of the cost, and just didn't know what to do...

    I remember the fight in the late 80's and early 90's, over covering Lake Newport tennis courts... I was adamantly opposed, due to the cost... hell I’ll let them do it now and call it even...

  13. I attended the meeting and I do not concur with the posted account.

    First regarding the cost, RCC said THEY were confident that the planned population increase would fund the rec center. However, when pressed they admitted that 1) There are no actual projections for tax revenue beyond next year so this is really a GUESS. 2) The tax revenue would have to double to cover the cost of the rec center without increasing the tax rate. 3) As a resident of Reston why would you want such a population increase. Can you just imagine how long it will take to drive from South to North Reston at rush hour?

    Second, regarding the RCC/RA partnership. RCC and Cathy Hudgins who is their real boss see it this way: it's a great deal for Fairfax County if RA is dumb enough to give away their valuable land for free and SD5 is generous enough to pay for a rec center for all of Fairfax County.

    Third, RCC wants one big rec center because they want another empire to run. IF RA covers existing facilities, then RCC is out in the cold. They gain nothing. From RCC's perspective the more facilities they have, the more tax money they get, the better for them.

    Fourth, beware the survey. RCC is not a neutral party. You shouldn't have the organization that will benefit most from building a rec center conduct the survey to decide if we need it.

    Fifth, since when is 22 acres of land in Reston worth 4 million. A more realistic estimate is 45 million. Remember too that they will have to get the land rezoned to build a rec center so we are not talking about the value of parkland, but land zoned for building a rec center.

  14. Sixth, once ground is broken on a Rec Center, there is no turning back. The project is large enough to bankrupt RA at a later time. They'll exploit the emergency to ram special assessments and dues increases on the homeowners to bail them out.

  15. In this video, the board is challenged for assuming the facility will be utilized at 90% for financial modelling and then admits that the number is fictitious.


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