News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Acronym Madness: RCC Issues REC FAQs For STD5

TajMahal-OJ.jpg.jpegThe Reston Community Center has released more information (PDF) about its recently revived plans to consider building an indoor recreation facility at Baron Cameron Park, using the frequently-asked-questions format more typically seen when someone is trying to figure out why their fancy new HD teevee won't plug into grampa's old rabbit ears antennae. We especially like the first Q in the FAQ:

How did this come about?
"Well, let's see. First the earth cooled. And then the dinosaurs came, but they got too big and fat, so they all died and they turned into oil. And then the Arabs came and they bought Mercedes Benzes. And Prince Charles started wearing all of Lady Di's clothes. I couldn't believe it," the FAQ did not say in response. And why, YouTubes, why is there no clip from this seminal recreational facility public input documentary?

But we digress. Some real facts from the FAQ (say that three times fast):
  • There have been no decisions about what might be in this facility -- be it swimming, indoor tennis, a rollerdrome, or a juice bar. "Reston Community Center is seeking input from the community about the programmatic features a new indoor recreation facility should include," the FAQ says, although it later adds that "Reston Community Center is committed to providing the best solution possible to the unmet demand for indoor aquatics and fitness amenities."

  • As it is currently conceived, the Fairfax County Park Authority's financial contribution to the project is the 68 acres of Baron Cameron Park land it recently was "given" by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors; "funding for the capital and operating costs would come from Small District 5/RCC revenues (user fees and taxes.)"

  • Current activites at Baron Cameron Park -- "The fields, dog park, and community gardens… are also considered in the planning going forward."
Along with market studies, RCC is planning on spending five months collecting input "from citizens, partners, and stakeholders," starting with its regular monthly meeting on March 4. (A full schedule is listed in the FAQ itself.) The FAQ also states that:
The Board of Governors of Reston Community Center will not act on a major capital project to realize an indoor recreation facility for Reston without determining that:

• The community supports such an endeavor and has had the opportunity to participate in discussions of what an indoor recreation facility should provide and how it should operate.

• The market, demographic and financial contexts of Reston today and in the future are well
understood and considered.
"If new RCC facilities are built, they will be Reston-focused, environmentally friendly, and sensitive to the community’s concerns and needs," the FAQ states. It's nice to see that the RCC is far more committed to transparency than during its last time at the rodeo, and there's no doubt that additional amenities are already needed, even without the additional people who will soon call Reston home. Here's hoping this process yields a project that we can all feel good about -- and maybe fulfill our lifelong dream of opening an Orange Julius franchise in the process, the end.


  1. Since homeowners and business owners of Small Tax District 5 will be paying for it out of our property taxes, I would like to know how much it will cost. $50 million is the pre-construction high estimate. Very likely that will double before it's actually built.

    Restonians already paid for our community center at Hunters Woods(and are still paying for it, although I don't know why since the bond was paid off). We also pay for recreational facilities in the rest of the county. Does that mean we pay double? It does.

    The county is going to expect homeowners in Reston to pick up the bill for new roads in the Dulles corridor around the new Metro stations through a special "service" tax district. In Tysons that means a 10 to 20% increase in property taxes for those homeowners unfortunate enough to live inside the "service" district.

    The tolls on the Dulles Toll Road will go up to $2,000 a year in two years, to $3,000 a year in five years.

    Very soon it is going to be too expensive to live in Reston.

    If the county wants the new facility, they should pay for it our of their general fund.

    The good thing is that we will get to vote on a new indoor rec center.

    We don't get a vote on "service" districts.

  2. I will be really upset if they develop on Baron Cameron Park. That park is great the way it is - in fact it is one of the reasons I moved to Reston from Vienna. Why can't we just let this land be???

  3. It's about time that we all recognized that Reston is part of Fairfax County, and not a self-contained community. Reston is not expected to pay for its own schools or police. We contribute to county-wide services like everyone else. Why should recreation be different? Our taxes help support the Park Authority. It should be building a new facility, not Small Tax District 5. It's more than a little ironic than even with a Restonian, Bill Bouie, as chairman of the Park Authority, the County's first instinct is make Reston pay for its own recreational facilities

  4. It must physically pain some people to see dirt covered in grass instead of asphalt. The only green they want to see is the dollars they can screw out of the homeowners.

  5. The SD5 tax was originated to pay for the construction of a community center. That cost was paid for long ago. Of course once they've got a tax in place they will never give it up, so we continue to pay and pay. Unlike other county rec centers which pay their operating costs with the revenue they generate, RCC runs at a deficit and used tax revenue to makeup the difference. RCC doesn't have any idea how to run a facility that pays for itself. If they can't manage it with the smaller facilities they own now, is there any hope they will manage it with a larger facility?

    If Fairfax County sees the need for a new facility they can build it and pay for it. What about moving the location from Baron Cameron to Lake Fairfax? Baron Cameron is surrounded by residential neighborhoods. There just isn't room to build a large facility without literally putting a parking lot and pole lights in someone's backyard..

  6. RCC loves to talk about their commitment to getting community input. What that means is they would love to hear about what you want in a new facility. They have no interest in hearing that you don't want the facility or that you don't want to pay extra tax to get it or that you don't want to build on the little remaining green space in Reston.

    With a huge new fitness center with indoor and outdoor pools, Lifetime Fitness, opening soon and located in walking distance from the new metro stop -- why is building a new rec center such a high priority ? I work out at the YMCA and no matter when I go there never seems to be more than a handful of people using the pool. If our population is going to grow so much that we need another rec center than why aren't we thinking about more important things like new schools and better roads.

  7. I hope they build it. We need a real community center in North Reston. The hunters woods one is a joke, a dump, and could take an hour to get to from north Reston during rush hour. The YMCA and lifetime fitness are way too expensive. I will be at these meetings encouraging them to build it. Reston still has plenty of open land and most of that park land just sits there unused and ugly. I will however encourage them to keep the dog park. I think all the developers building in Reston should more then be able to fund the construction of our new community center. Can we get a chip and putt like oakmar? lets all hope.


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