News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Lake Anne: A Few Suggestions

Poor Lake Anne, Reston’s original town center. Over the years, there have been consultants, charettes, and other conversations about taking its brutalist concrete glory and making something... more. 

Of course, the real solution has always been the same – build more dense housing around the Plaza, as Bob Simon originally planned, to ensure that the businesses there get enough foot traffic to be economically viable, and maybe deal with some... internal issues that haven’t changed a whole lot over the decades. But aside from one legitimately exciting proposal back in ought-thirteen, not much has happened.

Last month, yet another consultant provided two visions for the future of Lake Anne. One envisions Lake Anne more or less sealed in amber as the “original village”—essentially embracing the quirk. The other involves Lake Anne as a “destination landmark,” which would involve adding fun new cultural attractions, such as an amphitheater or giant pickleball arena/farmer’s market and maybe a fun parking garage to accommodate the newly teeming masses (sadly, the report makes no reference to a companion parking app).

But why stop there? We forwent our usual consultant's fee to come up with a few additional options:

1. Ye Olde New TowneThe Plaza already has a historic marker, so why not go all out? Instead of donning Colonial garb, paid reenactors could wear leisure suits and paisley frocks and demonstrate how to use a pay phone or 8-track. More fun than candlemaking!

2. Xtreme Lake AnneFor the outdoors enthusiast and thrill-seeker. Jump off the concrete statuary into tepid lake water! Mountain bike past the “no bicycles on the Plaza” signs! Take cold showers in the buildings without heat! 

3. The Mauve Light DistrictA while back, an enterprising businessperson had plans to sell exciting nighties and whatnot at the Plaza, but the High Sheriffs put the kibosh on that before the first feather boa was sold. Why not go all in, while still respecting the DRB color palette? 

4. The Global HOA Hall of Fame. Come to think of it, that’s pretty much the “original village” concept above, the end.

This post was originally published in the Reston Letter.

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