News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hey, Nice Package! RA Considering a $15.8 Million Bond Referendum for Indoor Tennis, Pools, Paths, Public Art, and Playgrounds

TennisX_030310_rgb.jpgThere now appears to be a way forward for the longstanding proposals for indoor tennis and swimming facilities in Reston. Thanks to several Confidential Restonian Operatives and our BFFs at Reston 2020, we now know that the Reston Association's Parks and Planning Commission has recommended that the RA Board combine "multiple park and recreation improvements into one referendum package" that would be financed by a fancy bond issue, presumably nice suitable-for-framing bonds with stock art of trains and Monopoly-style houses and hotels and whatnot along the margins.

Along with the $3.8 million indoor tennis facility that would be built at Lake Newport, the proposed projects that would be funded by the bond issue, which would top out at $15.8 million, include a range of other recreation and outdoorsy kinds of stuff:

  • A 50-meter indoor pool to be built at an undisclosed location (but possibly at Lake Newport), and possibly in cooperation with the Reston Community Center
  • Field upgrades at Brown's Chapel
  • A turf soccer field at Hunters Woods Park
  • Completing the "missing links" to Reston pathways
  • Funding for the Reston Public Art Initiative
  • Gateway and entry signs
  • Drainage and stream work
  • Upgrades to pool renovations
  • An accessible "destination playground" with parking at Lake Fairfax Park, in partnership with Fairfax County.
Hey, nice package!

The commission touts the benefits of this all-in-one approach as reducing the cost of conducting multiple referenda, and -- and this is probably just as important -- offering something for everyone, not just the small but vocal group of tennis players that have dominated parks and rec discussions of late. The recommendation also suggests that bonds represent a new funding approach for RA projects.

Especially given the high price tag, we're all in favor of putting something like this out for a referendum. The reality is that Reston is soon going to be home to a whole slew of new people, like it or not, and someone is going to have to provide additional recreation opportunities for those teeming masses new residents if we want to maintain the quality of life that has made Reston a better place to live than most of the surrounding particleboard wastelands (cough cough Ashburn).

The proposal will be discussed by the RA Board during its meeting on May 26.


  1. Reston has NEVER issued bonds. As much as I would like to see these inspiring megabuildings in our community which will be empty most of the day, I do NOT want to pay interest on them for 30 years as well as items that might not make it the full 30 years (or however long they will issue them).

    A very clever move on the Parks & Rec to pack in as many special interests into one vote.

    Have we not learned from our own county debt in which the entire budget crisis is less than the interest we pay on the bonds for the likes of Lake Fairfax?

  2. Field upgrades at Brown's Chapel? Like paving them?

  3. I see that The Powers That Be have decided to accessorize our $14/Toll Road fare with $1000/year RA dues. Do we also need matching Small Tax District 5 rate increases in order to complete the set?

    Here's a novel thought: if you don't build it, they won't come. Capiche?

  4. Bob Simon's Metallic Alter EgoMay 11, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    Unfortunately, more people are coming whether we build fancy new things or not, Convict. We might as well try to make the best of it.

    On the bright side, more people paying RA dues could translate to lower dues for all of us -- if the RA doesn't go on a massive spending spree. One of the few concessions the county was able to pry out of Comstock was that the residents of its Metro development will be RA members, which is a Good Thing.

  5. Ah, yes, the always useful "omnibus budget" approach to spending: Something for everyone--pork in every pot--and the budget bill/referendum gets passed.

    And you can see where that has put the US budget deficit and debt.

    I'm hoping--no, betting--that Restonians are smarter than Congressmen, which frankly isn't a very high bar to set, and will vote against a bundled referendum whenever it shows up.

  6. It appears that in politics, how loud you scream for a cause is more important than the legitimacy of the cause or even overall popularity of the cause. I can't help wonder if the indoor tennis courts are an example of this.

    I say we test my hypothesis and form group that demands, very loudly, for indoor badminton courts. Unless somebody has a less important cause they can suggest.

  7. North Reston already has a 50-meter pool. Put the new one in south Reston, where we're starting to realize we need to exercise more than just our stabbing arms.

  8. I'm surprised no one has suggested adding roller derby to the list. So now I have.

  9. Roller Derby is, of course, always welcome. Recently, though, I've been getting into watching Women's Tackle football. I'm really beginning to think that what No Va needs is a Lingerie Football League expansion team.

  10. The residential units at the Comstock station at Wiehle may not end up paying dues to RA. The proffer statement simply says that Comstock has to "negotiate in good faith" with RA. I doubt very much the county can compel property owners in the Dulles corridor to force new residents to become part of RA. Don't count the assessments from new residents until they have hatched. You can hope new residents will help pay back a $16 million bond, but you might get stuck with the tab yourself.

    Let the county pay for a 50 meter pool. We have been paying for our own community center for years through Small Tax District 5 and at the same time for the other community centers in the county.

    RA diverted money from the repair and replacement fund several years ago to balance the budget. That was the first time that ever happened. So what that means is that the RA budget is in the red.

    Now RA wants to borrow more money? The RA board is like an irresponsible teenager loose with the family credit card.

  11. Life is just more fun with Anon back, thanks Restonian.

  12. Badmitten, Badmitten, Badmitten!!

    actually a table tennis stadium would be great to see if my Wii skills transfer over.

  13. I saw in the Comstock proposal that they have to pay the county $40,000 for this and $50,000 for that . . . increase usage on local facilities from their residents such as schools, road, etc. I'm sure the county doesn't actually transfer these funds into the appropriate columns in the budget but allows it to go into the current year's general fund.

    Wonder if the RA could start charging large fees to developers for the increase of usage for additional densities . . . but that would make it too tempting to allow higher density. I would require developers to build their own paths to connect to the RA paths.

    As I understand it, the Tall Oaks pool was built by the developer then given to the RA but I could be wrong.

  14. FYI, being opposed to paying interest on bonds for 30 years does not make me a NIMBY or someone with an axe to grind.

  15. I am Anon 2:54, i didn't write anon 6:51 but I play one on TV. Completely agree. Thanks for the back up.

  16. What's with the idea of building a playground at Lake Fairfax Park? Last time I checked, it's not in Reston.

  17. For ages, it seems like this conversation has been dominated by two small groups -- the tennis folks on the one side, and the NIMBYs and people with an ax to grind against the RA on the other side.

    It's time to move this forward to a referendum to see what the rest of Reston thinks of the idea. Or at least the plurality of people who would actually take the time to vote.


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