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.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 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.
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."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.
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."
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.In conclusion, please to be enjoying this video our BFFs at Patch shot last night:
"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."
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."