News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

As New Reston Rec Center Hearings Continue, RA Remains on the Fence

You really can't blame the Reston Association for being a bit cautious about the Reston Community Center's plans to maybe build an awesome new rec center at Baron Cameron Park. After all, the RA was RCC's partner in the failed attempt to build a similar facility at adjacent Brown's Chapel Park a few years back, which didn't exactly end well for anyone involved. This time around, RCC has a new dance partner, the county park authority, and has made a point of holding multiple public hearings, including one last night during which our BFFs at Patch said "tensions ran high."

Today, the RA issued a press release saying it has yet to take a position on the proposed rec center, adding that "before finalizing a position on the recreation facility, the RA board and staff will continue to attend meetings and gather more information about the proposal."

During yesterday's meeting, RCC's consultants outlined their preliminary findings (executive summary: people who swim like swimming pools) and shared the two options currently on the table for the Baron Cameron facility. Give us some good blockquote, BFFs at Patch:

One option features a 25-yard pool, a 5,000-square-foot leisure pool, a gym, two multipurpose rooms for 62,850 square feet of space on 0.72 acres.

The other option is a 50-meter pool, a 7,500-square-foot leisure pool, a larger weight room and other features for 98,000 square feet of space on 1.12 acres.

Both layouts would need an estimated 200-250 parking spaces on 1-1.2 acres, Levin said.
What, no juicery? Also, apparently no indoor tennis, which gives the RA the chance to put its own proposed facility at Lake Newport back on the table at some point in the future.

The consultants don't yet have a financial analysis, which is good, because it allowed for more time for attendees of Monday's meeting to accuse each other of NIMBYism:
"We live there. We can't get to the park," said Longwood Grove resident Jill Gallagher, who told the board that the idea is poorly planned. "Traffic is so bad.When you pull out of Longwood Grove and take a left, you are taking your life in your hands."

Some residents accused pool opponents of being dramatic.

"There is no threat to the dog park and fields," said one speaker. "But there is threat from the neighbors about too much noise from dogs barking. They would prefer completely open space. I don’t know why our neighbors at Lake Newport are so concerned. This open space should be used."

Said resident Sheila Casey: "I think there is a lot of dishonesty about the opposition about this park. It is a small group of homeowners. That park is busy at one time only, and that is Saturday mornings."
There is, of course, an online petition calling for the preservation of the Baron Cameron fields; to date it has 60 signatures. Others have pointed out that this attitude is why kids from North Reston go to Herndon High School instead of the school that was originally planned for Baron Cameron; in fact, the school board was the "owner" of the park until very recently, once the rec center plans got rolling in earnest.

Other locations have been suggested, including Lake Fairfax Park, an area closer to the Town Center, and even more out-there ideas like Tall Oaks Village Center, Isaac Newton Square, or even the Reston National Golf Course(?). It's not clear if any of these suggestions are being considered seriously -- or at all -- by RCC, the park authority, and their consultants. That's a shame, as it focuses all the heat and energy on the location rather than the need for the rec center as our earth-toned community continues to grow. As Tammi Petrine of the Reston Citizens Association said at the meeting last night:
"I am really astonished when I started looking into the proposal to find out that both Spring Hill and Oak Marr adding on huge additions to their pools, racquetball courts and other facilities," she said. "Of 14 districts, Hunter Mill is the only one that does not have its own FCPA rec center. We have a problem here. Our taxes are paying for Spring Hill and Oakton to add on. These are not impoverished communities.

"We have 40 percent of county’s subsidized housing here," she said. "If you are supporting this population, rest of community needs to support you in that effort."
In conclusion, please to be enjoying this video our BFFs at Patch shot last night:

Our heads hurt.

Update: Our BFFs at Reston2020 weigh in with a post on possible locations for the rec center, including the importance of "adhering to Reston's core values, including protecting the environment."


  1. Love the guy in the video threatening "those swimmers out there." So much for skinny-dipping in Lake Newport anytime soon.

  2. If there is one thing Reston needs, it is another weight room. I mean, I only have the YMCA, Fitness First, Sport and Health, Lady of America, One to One Fitness and the upcoming Storm Fitness and Lifetime Fitness. Obviously, the market is underserved.

  3. Tammi brings up a good point. Maybe instead of more facilities to serve the subsidized housing, perhaps we should reduce the amount of subsidized housing instead, or at least spread it out more evenly throughout the county.

  4. "We have 40 percent of county’s subsidized housing here," she said. "If you are supporting this population, rest of community needs to support you in that effort."

    My solution: move the subsidized housing to McLean and Great Falls, and skip the rec center in Reston.

    1. My sentiments exactly, Bah. Better yet, move it right next to wherever Ken Plum and Janet Howell live. And for good measure next to Gerry Connolly also.

  5. A Rose By Any Other NameMay 7, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    What is the documented source for that "40 percent" figure? Where does Tammi get that number? I don't believe that it is real at all, that it represents only latent racism and discriminatory attitudes toward those who are low-income and receive public assistance.
    Even if the number were accurate, why is it held up as some sort of shibboleth in this discussion? Is it even relevant to the discussion?

  6. More troubling that the subsidized housing is the idea that what people are really asking us to do is subsidize the activities of upper-middle class kids. Less than 1/3 of Reston residences have children and yet what people keep talking about is having swimming available for their precious children. I don't mind making sure kids have access to reasonable amenities but I'll bet that we'll have restricted hours to ensure swim teams have access and the only adult only times will be during the business day when a large portion of the tax base is working to pay for the damn thing.

    1. I have two kids and I don't want the wretched thing. The RA-maintained open-air pools are good enough for me. If I wanted them to swim indoors for some reason, I'd buy a membership at the YMCA.


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