News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

RA's Magic Treehouse: Just One of Three Million-Dollar Projects Whose Timing Couldn't Possibly Be Better

So it's been a while since the Reston Association has suggested major new capital projects, maybe because of their semi-recent track record. But we can say this: when they dream, they dream big!

Last month, the RA proposed building a nifty new barn to hold hoedowns events, a treehouse to teach kids about the tree canopy, and an inclusive playground for children with disabilities -- all of which is great. They wanted the Friends of Reston to help raise money, which they did for earlier projects at the Nature Center. Only each of the projects would cost more than $1 million, which didn't go over quite so great, what with the maintenance backlog and pressure to close pools and the whole global pandemic putting the economy on a highwire thing. Give us some good blockquote, BFFs at Reston Now:

However, the RA and FOR boards both expressed hesitation and even frustration at the appeal, citing a lack of membership feedback, COVID-related sensitivities, and an ongoing budget crunch.“For any kind of capital campaign, we’d have to see that 80% of the community wants this,” FOR President Carol Nahorniak said. “I’m concerned about the cost…Looking at that price tag, we always know it will cost more. There are certain things I’m just not comfortable with.”
RA Director Sarah Selvaraj-D’Souza said she had heard only about the event barn prior to the meeting with FOR, calling it “embarrassing” that the board of directors wasn’t made aware of the other projects sooner.
RA interim CEO Larry Butler downplayed the pitch, saying all of this was simply “brainstorming” based on examples of potential major capital projects from staff.

All three projects would have to be approved by RA members through referenda, which has happened before, and it's not the first time we've seen some blue sky options thrown out to the public by the RA with little warning. But let's see what this most recent round of brainstorming came up with. First, our favorite Correspondent, the Peasant from Less Sought After South Reston, shared this image of what the treehouse might look like, asking "yew want it or not?" 

Ha ha. The funny thing is that the actual proposal doesn't look that different, with the possible exception of the hot tub:

Then there's the barn, which could be used for "weddings, concerts, and community events." To be planted somewhere between Brown's Chapel and the ballparks, the facility would look like a DRB-approved paint color violation something out of an Andrew Wyeth painting -- at roughly the same cost. 

Maybe if we had an old fashioned barn raisin', we could shave a bit off the $1.1 million price tag.

Then there's the inclusive playground, an ADA-compliant space modeled after Clemyjontri Park, which has ramps and other materials that allow children of all abilities to play. The pity is this is the one that probably makes the most sense, as families of children with disabilities 'round these here parts have long trekked to (shudder) McLean to visit the park. But it too would cost more than $1 million, and given its inclusion on this list will probably be unfairly lumped in the same category as these other projects. Even the other two projects could conceivably make sense, especially if they were funded as necessary amenities by developer proffers as Reston continues to fill out, an idea which has resulted in tons of new playing fields, green space, sidewalks, and -- oh, wait, we forgot -- that's exactly what hasn't happened.

Maybe it's time to read the room—even if the room is 20 feet above ground in a treehouse, the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment

(If you don't see comments for some reason, click here).