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RA To Look At Indoor Tennis, Other Community Recreation Needs

by Karen Goff May 14, 2014 at 9:30 am 9 Comments

Rendering of Lake Newport Tennis facility 2010/Credit: RA

Is 2014 the year indoor tennis moves forward in Reston?

Reston Association’s  Tennis Advisory Committee has urged the RA Board put indoor tennis as a high priority for this year. The board said at a planning meeting this week that it will make indoor tennis part of a broader conversation as it looks at the community’s recreation needs as a whole.

“We should talk about what amenities [Reston] needs to support a diverse community,” said At-Large Director Michael Sanio, who has been an advocate for tennis in Reston. “We have a whole slew of amenities here. But there are clearly amenities that would make us a world-class community. We need to look broadly and prepare for when someone says they want to build here, we’ll be able to say ‘this is what we want.’ ”

Reston Association currently has 52 outdoor courts, but no indoor courts. Indoor tennis has been a much-debated topic in Reston over the last several years.

In 2008 and 2009, RA and Reston Community Center jointly studied building a $65 million recreational facility at RA’s Brown’s Chapel Park. That was met by resistance from neighbors and ultimately dropped by the board.

In 2010 and 2011, RA researched covering five courts at Lake Newport at a cost of $3.8 million — much of which would be borrowed by RA. After board debate and feedback from the community, the RA board voted in late 2011 not to put the issue to referendum and to direct RA staff to look for public-private partnerships in the future.

Meanwhile, Reston Community Center has been studying building an indoor recreation facility at Baron Cameron Park for more than a year. That facility would feature a 50-meter indoor pool, but indoor tennis is not currently part of the plan. Baron Cameron Park, owned by the Fairfax County Park Authority, is also undergoing its own Master Plan revision that may or may not include building the indoor rec center.

RCC currently has a 25-meter indoor pool at Hunters Woods, but RCC officials and the swim community say the 35-year-old facility is outdated and overcrowded.

The Baron Cameron indoor pool plans have also been met with mixed reaction from community members. Big issues often mentioned: cost (about $30 million) and the location’s impact on noise and traffic.

Sanio says indoor tennis is just one of several amenities Reston could use, along with the 50-meter pool, basketball courts and an indoor track.

With major development planned for Reston as Metro’s Silver Line prepares to open here, the timing may be right to not only assess Reston’s needs, but also obtain developer proffers to held finance them.

“RA staff, with the assistance of the re-created [RA] Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, will develop and implement a community-wide needs assessment to evaluate future amenities of all types,” said Sanio.

“The data compiled will not only assess the current needs of the community, but will also assist the board as it addresses future development, redevelopment and the impact and benefits of all proposed projects. Having organized and structured input from the community will provide a road map for RA priorities which we can then share with developers, the county and with our community partners and stakeholders.”

Photo: 2010 rendering of Lake Newport indoor tennis/Credit: Reston Association

  • ewild

    We can do a lot better with that funding than a giant indoor tennis center. Reston is flush with tennis courts, but field space is hard to come by. The center would not only be a huge expense of RA resources, but would also create further imbalance in recreational facilities. Another sports field would be a much better option.

  • Brenda Louis

    I think we should buy the golf course and put some facilities there. Then we’d know it would be our forever.

  • Kent

    If there’s so much demand for indoor tennis courts, a private operator should build and operate the facility. Reston doesn’t need to do everything for everybody, and it especially doesn’t need to do really expensive things for relatively small groups of people that will require continual funding to stay in operation.

  • Terry Maynard

    How many times does the RA Board have to waste its time (and ours) on this ill-advised decade-old proposal? It’s the expensive dumb idea that won’t die.

    It is no more than an annoying and oft-repeated effort by a small special interest group to force ALL RA members to pay the cost of their entertainment (RA currently estimates $3.8M construction cost, but count on that total doubling if this measure is approved–plus operating costs). As another commenter states, the tennis players should finance and build their own indoor tennis center, maybe even on a commercial basis, rather than demanding that Reston residents build, operate, and pay for one for them. Same goes for the RCC Board of Governor’s addiction to a County-wide 50-meter indoor aquatic center paid for ONLY by Reston taxpayers (at a cost of $35-$40MM, plus operating costs–but also under-estimated).

    My suggestion to both the special interest advocates and the Boards: It is easy to spend other people’s money; try saving some money for a change. Then, use YOUR own money to build and operate these baubles if you want.

    And while the RA Board is wasting its time on this topic, it has been locked out (along with the rest of Reston’s stakeholder groups) of planning the future of our community in Phase 2 of the Reston Master Plan study–which looks at our residential areas, village centers, and more. It expected “a seat at the table.” It got a seat in the corner, and there is no table–no task force with all the stakeholders present to re-think suburban Reston. See more on the Phase 2 effort here: http://www.reston2020.blogspot.com/2014/05/did-you-know-that-reston-master-plan.html

    • Tammi Petrine

      I couldn’t have said it better, Terry!
      Thank you for your succinct analysis of the Reston disease: making our community “world class” when our middle class is being eliminated by escalating fees and special taxes. School, library and transportation improvements deserve a much higher priority than special interest recreation amenities during these stressing times. And wait until the Dulles tolls skyrocket! That will be a topic around which the entire community, residential and commercial, can rally. In the meantime, RA, please stand down. Please do reference the Reston 2020 blog for details on all of these real issues.

  • Phil Lilienthal

    Talk about providing heat and not much light! If a community waited until private businesses put in facilities, the cost would be high and it would truly serve only those able to afford it. When the costs of a popular, community activity, such as tennis or swimming, is enjoyed by thousands, provides fitness, recration, and social glue to a community, there is a tremendous reason to build it. The easy way is to say it is too expensive (see, The Reston Community Center) or serves an “elite.”

    When did children, whose only expense is a tennis racket, sneakers, and some tennis balls constitute an elite. Surely it is much more expensive to outfit a Little League football, baseball, or even a basketball player, than a tennis player

    Get off it nay-sayers and recognize that tennis is a great year-round sport, it can serve the needy as well as the more well to do, and it is a great developmental activity for kids to get to a higher level of competition, if they choose.

    In any case, it provides a lifelong sport, unlike the more “popular” sports (which I also loved as a child) of football, baseball, and basketball.

    • Adrian Havill

      Indoor tennis is neither a “need” nor serves the wants of the Reston community. Certainly there are a few hundred who would like an indoor tennis complex but that is the minority rather than the majority, If you believe it otherwise, let’s put it to a vote as an addendum at the next RA election and act on the results.

      • Phil Lilienthal

        Adrian, If we had waited for a majority, we would never have had an American Revolution. There are probably not a majority for most issues we face, but we do them because they make a better community.

        Perhaps a referendum is the best we can get and hope that the voters will see that there are things they may not use, but their friends and neighbors will use and are in the community’s interests to have.

        • Adrian Havill

          Phil, the outdoor tennis courts are largely empty between Monday and Friday. Try taking a tour of them in the middle of the week and let me know how many are occupied. Indoor tennis is very expensive–Four Seasons in Fairfax has an average fee of about $30 an hour–and I can’t see a Reston facility charging less. So yes, maybe all you would need is a racket and sneakers but make sure your pockets are lined with sawbucks. Most families don’t have that kind of discretionary cash which would leave it open.to the whims of tech titans and construction execs–the gang you see every evening at the outside bar of Jackson’s.

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