This is an important and exciting time for Reston. As we celebrate our community’s 50th anniversary and our founder’s 100th birthday, we’ve been looking back at our past and ahead to our future. And as we look ahead, it’s clear that major change is in store for our community.
The Silver Line will soon be open, and that will trigger major redevelopment that will bring great opportunities and great challenges for Reston.
Our original village center, Lake Anne, is about to begin a major revitalization. Our other village centers may have redevelopment awaiting them as well. We’re going to see thousands of new residents and new jobs in the coming decades, which will bring new vitality, but also new demands on our infrastructure. We’re going to need roads, schools, fields, parks, and open spaces for those new Restonians, and we’ll need to provide them with limited resources and without damaging the quality of life for existing Restonians.
There’s a lot going on! And it’s a great time to be involved. There’s no better evidence of that then the large field of candidates (myself included) who ran in the recent Reston Association election. If you’re interested in all the change in Reston and want to be involved, I’d encourage you to get involved in planning our community’s future by running for the RCA Board.
RCA and our 20/20 Committee have been on the front lines of the planning and development issues that are shaping our community. We were active participants on Phase 1 of the Master Plan Task Force, and we’ll be back again for Phase 2. We’ve done studies and issued papers on how to meet the transportation, recreation, and environmental needs of the coming development. We’ve stood up for our citizens to protect our resources, whether that means standing up for our libraries or working with Rescue Reston to save Reston National Golf Course. And we’ve held forums to inform our citizens and listen to their opinions on issues like the Master Plan and the proposed changes at Baron Cameron Park.
If you want to represent the community on the issues that will affect our future, there’s no better place to be than RCA. We recently added some fresh voices to our Board; why not add yours too?
If planning and development isn’t your focus, don’t worry; RCA has a broader focus than that. Since 2008, our Reston Accessibility Committee has been a strong and tenacious advocate for Restonians with disabilities. Our new Reston 411 series provides quick facts to keep our citizens up to speed on what’s going on. And we’re continuing to work hard on our community-positive traditions like the Citizen of the Year Award and our candidate forums.
If you have a community issue that you believe needs more attention, we’re always open to expanding our portfolio to better serve our citizens. Join us and lead the way. And we’ve planning to make a big push on improving our communications and fundraising in the next year; if you’re skilled in those areas, we would love to have you on board.
Naturally, you’ll want to know about the candidacy requirements. In order to run for a seat on the RCA Board, you must be at least 16 years old, and you must live in Small Tax District 5 (the tax district that funds the Reston Community Center). That’s it. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve lived in Reston for 30 days or 30 years, whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, what political party you belong to (RCA is non-partisan), or whether you’re younger or older (as long as you’re at least 16). If you want to improve Reston’s quality of life, and you have the drive to get involved, you can throw your hat in the ring.
There are five seats up for election this year: North Point Director, Lake Anne/Tall Oaks/Town Center Director, South Lakes Director, Hunters Woods Director, and At-Large Director. How do you know which district you’re in? It depends on where you vote in state and federal elections. I’ve got a handy chart below:
North Point: If you vote in North Point, Stuart, or Aldrin Precincts (at Aldrin or Armstrong)
Lake Anne/Tall Oaks/Town Center: If you vote in Reston I, Reston II, Reston III, or Cameron Glen Precinct (at Lake Anne or Forest Edge)
South Lakes: If you vote in Sunrise Valley, South Lakes, or Terraset Precinct
Hunters Woods: If you vote in Dogwood Precinct, Hunter Woods Precinct, or Glade Precinct (at RCC Hunters Woods)
In order to run for a District Director seat, you must live in that district. To run for At-Large Director, you may live anywhere in Small Tax District 5. All Directors serve 3-year terms (this is a change that we’ve made this year to bring RCA in line with other Reston organizations like RA and RCC).
If you’d like to learn more about RCA and what we’ve been doing, you can read some of my past columns on Reston Now, or you can check out the RCA website. The candidate filing period opens on April 28 (next Monday) and closes on May 23, so don’t delay if you want to run. The candidate form will be up on our website once the filing period opens.
Once you’ve filed as a candidate, then it’s time to start campaigning. Thanks to the online voting system we implemented in 2012, it will be easier than ever for your supporters to cast votes.
If you love Reston and want to be involved during this exciting time, consider running for the RCA Board. There’s a lot going on, and we need our citizens to be involved. I hope you’ll take this chance to help shape Reston’s future.
Colin Mills is the president of Reston Citizens Association. He writes weekly on Reston Now.