News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Indoor Tennis Back For Another Round, or Match, or Set, or Whatever

TennisX_030310_rgb.jpgWhen it meets Thursday, the Reston Association Board is expected to decide whether to go forward with a referendum that would let residents vote on whether the RA should build the long-discussed indoor tennis complex at Lake Newport.

The RA has been looking to build a $3.8 million complex, but a group of residents opposed to the proposal has been posting messages saying that the cost could be "up to $13 million." It's not clear if that figure accurately reflects financing costs, or includes something else not currently being discussed, like a juicery or a bunch of automatic ball machines capable of lobbing balls at speeds approaching Mach 2, or whatever.

A new wrinkle to the issue is that the RA has been quietly discussing "public-private partnerships" involving indoor tennis, including a closed-door discussion at a recent board meeting. That would be a departure from the RA's attempt to partner with RCC on the Brown's Chapel fiasco -- and from the go-it-alone proposal currently on the table.

During the Thursday meeting, the board could vote to go forward with the $75,000 referendum, postpone it for additional staff research, continue exploring other options, or hold off on the project indefinitely.

A fancy, if not statistically accurate, poll posted by our BFFs at Patch showed that a slight majority wants to table tennis (get it?) Personally, we don't play tennis -- arena hang-gliding is our sport of choice -- but think that RA will ultimately have to invest in additional amenities to serve a population that's about to explode. Given that this has been a contentious issue, and that the RA is often accused of cowtowing to vocal minorities, we think that a referendum should probably happen at some point. We'll find out soon enough if it will in 2012.

The RA Board meeting will be at 7pm on Thursday.

Update: Apparently the fancy massive Lifetime Fitness health club proposed for Business Center Drive near the post office has been approved by the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals. Purely conjecture, but could this be just such an opportunity for a public-private venture?


  1. The $13 million number comes from a bundle of projects including the indoor tennis facility. RA at one point was considering borrowing the money by using a bond. It is not clear to me if they will be voting Thursday to move the $13 million project bundle ahead to referendum, or just the stand-alone indoor tennis building. Bonds are actually loans and they have to be paid back. Bonds are not free money. The homeowners are the folks who will be paying the money back through our assessments.

  2. RA has discovered the Fairfax Couty secret -- just keep coming back again, again and again. Eventually everyone will tire of complaining, and you can just do what you want.

  3. If a demand for a product or service rises as the population increases, than nothing precludes a business owner from creating a business that satisfies that demand. If there truly is a need, that business will be hit. If not, the business will go under. That seems to be a more accurate way of accessing consumer interests than a referendum. Look what referendums have done for the state of California. Perhaps we need a referendum on referendums.

    Lifetime Fitness is looking to build a gym on Sunset Hills. Maybe they will have indoor tennis courts. Worldgate has indoor tennis courts. Herndon Community Center has indoor tennis courts. A facility on Club Mill road has indoor tennis courts. There are options.

    Why should Reston as a whole pay for indoor tennis courts for tennis lovers? What makes tennis so special?

  4. In the spirit of compromise, I will vote for indoor tennis, if they will put it on the property currently housing Winterthur.

  5. What part of NO do the RA board doesn't get?

  6. Amen Convict, I've been thinking the very same thing since the Brown's Chapel fiasco. Why can't Fairfax County/RA seek eminent domain and raze Winterthur and put the tennis courts there. Seems like a good fit with the Reston National down the street.

  7. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonDecember 15, 2011 at 8:57 AM

    Without getting into the merits, or lack thereof, of an indoor tennis complex, can someone explain why it costs $75,000 to hold a referendum? Seriously. Assuming the RA sends out by mail a ballot, and has to pay its accounting firm something to tabulate the results, does it really cost $75,000? Can anyone shed some enlightenment?

  8. Well, there are all of those bribes they have to pay for ballot stuffing. Have you learned nothing from Putin's last bid?

  9. Reduce Milton's $220K+ salary by $80K and there you have the funds for the referendum.


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