67°Partly Cloudy

Opportunity to Speak Out About Pool Schedule To Be Provided Next Month

by Dave Emke — August 23, 2017 at 10:15 am 24 Comments

Reduced pool hours in the 2017 schedule drew the ire of many in the Reston community.

Now that the season is nearing its end, those members and others will have the opportunity to share feedback from their summer experiences.

The Reston Association Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee will be made available on Sunday, Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to noon during an open house at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Avenue). They will be collecting member input on the 2017 pool schedule, as well as thoughts and suggestions about what should be done in 2018.

This year, no pools were open on weekdays prior to Memorial Day. (In 2016, both the North Shore and Ridge Heights pools were open from 1-7 p.m. each weekday beginning May 14.) Through June 23, only four pools were open on weekdays, with one (Glade) open only three hours a night.

In addition, as school is starting next week — one week earlier than in past years — North Shore and Ridge Heights will be the only two pools open the week preceding Labor Day, from 4-7 p.m. each evening. However, RA has announced that Lake Audubon and Lake Newport pools will both be opened for Labor Day weekend.

North Shore and Ridge Heights pools will remain open on weekends and weeknights through Sept. 24.

Mike Leone, communications director for Reston Association, told Reston Now in April that the 2017 schedule was developed as part of an effort to “identify significant cost savings.”

“During the 2017 budget development process, the Board directed staff to identify significant cost savings in the budget to accommodate other strategic goals. Based on facility usage data collected over the past three years that shows a decline in pool attendance as well as feedback from the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors approved pool schedule options by which the proposed aquatics budget could be reduced while still serving the interests of the membership as a whole.”

Members brought up concerns about the pool schedule during general member input sessions earlier this year. Those suggestions are being considered by the RA Board of Directors as part of their budget process.

Anyone who has input to share but is unable to attend the Sept. 10 event is invited to email comments to [email protected].

The Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee is scheduled to make a report on the issue to the Board of Directors at a budget work session Sept. 18.

  • Donald

    I haven’t reviewed the most recent RA budget proposals yet, but as I recall both Pools and Tennis have never been cash flow positive. That is to say, they have never generated enough revenue to cover the expenses to operate them. Correct me if I am wrong.

    For an entity like RA, I believe it is alright to operate critical services, regardless of whether the service is “profitable” or not. Municipalities must do the same. The mission is to cover the expenses as best as possible, including looking at innovative ways to add new revenue streams to the mix.

    Looking at our annual assessments versus those of other communities and municipalities in the area, I think we are getting a good deal. I’m willing to see my assessment increased to maintain good services and amenities.

    Donald

    • cRAzy

      I’d be happy to increase your annual assessment, just not mine.

    • Greg

      ” That is to say, they have never generated enough revenue to cover the expenses to operate them.”

      Then, as many RA consultants have recommended, CLOSE them for good.

      • Donald

        If that is what the community wishes, absolutely.

        However, what is the cost of closing these facilities? They will have to be bulldozed, buried, transformed to something. Just fencing in and guarding vacant courts and pools is costly enough.

        Donald

        • TRS

          I maintain that declining communities abandon their pools and other amenities. Reston, with its phenomenal growth spurt, is not a declining community.

          • Donald

            I agree. And I prefer we maintain our facilities accordingly and keep them open. Our home values will decline if we start seeing abandoned, decaying facilities in our neighborhoods.

        • The Constitutionalist

          The cost of closing these facilities is literally zero. You just close them. What you are actually asking is what is the cost to demolish and replace these facilities.

          • Donald

            You obviously could care less about the equity in your home. RA’s fiduciary responsibility is protecting home values.

            Money would have to be spent to eliminate these closed assets. You just don’t let them sit there abandoned — a horrible idea for our community.

            Donald

          • The Constitutionalist

            People don’t use these facilities now – which is why we are even having this discussion. I care about not spending my liquid assets to maintain such a facility. I wish you would stop advocating for subsidizing failure with my cash. Here’s a crazy ass idea, one that doesn’t sink in to people who skipped economics. Treat these facilities like businesses that have to balance a budget. You’ll see very quickly that no one wants to pay for these things, maybe that should signal to you that if no one is willing to pay for it, there is no demand for it. My money is put to much better use being spent on myself, stop making me spend it on you, no, scratch that, stop making me spend it on the imaginary people that frequent the many pools.

            Is there really a legal liability to the community? When someone hurts themselves trespassing on private property are they going to sue all of us in a giant class action lawsuit? What’s worse, paying to maintain a facility no one uses or not paying to maintain a facility no one uses?

          • The Monarchist

            As I entered the pool area and scanned the rim for an empty chair I soon realized all of those filled chairs were paid actors by the RA. Not a single person in these poolside seats were my neighbors. My eyes darted to the pool and witnessed the throngs of children “playing” were also paid by the RA. I did not think the RA could stoop so low as to institute child labor. I am the only true Restonite. Look at my RA card, ye paid actors, and despair!

          • RestonAssurance

            Your name and comment are fantastic!

    • TheKingJAK

      The money we pay is far above that it used to be, and still above what is necessary.

    • The Constitutionalist

      How about no.

  • MakeRestonBetter

    I wonder if has RA considered going to using the summer work travel international program? http://j1visa.state.gov/programs/summer-work-travel/ If much of the cost is labor (i.e., lifeguards), this might be more cost effective.

    • RestonAssurance

      I’ve worked with students from these programs. Nice kids, neat experience, but let’s keep the jobs local. Please.

      • MakeRestonBetter

        Part of the challenge is getting local kids to take these jobs. My kids’ friends who were swim teamers were mostly indifferent to working at RA pools — a steady job with good pay (better than they would make doing anything else). I was completely flabbergasted by it – lifeguard was the “ultimate” job when I was a teen. Maybe some % division of jobs between the International program and local teens would help – I don’t know whether that’s even possible. But paying the lifeguards is a big part of the expense and if local supply constraints is driving up the cost, RA should be looking at every possible permutation of keeping the pools open at an affordable rate.

  • TRS

    This is an important issue for our family as we love having the pools part of our lives throughout the season. Some suggestions:

    Replace Lethargic Teens With Retirees — I cannot tell you how many times life guards faked hearing thunder claps in order to vacate a pool (e.g, twice we called a pool just a block away where no one heard a thunder clap under blue skies); were rude about the confusion regarding pool openings per online schedules versus updated schedules posted at the RA website (this issue must be addressed as so many families rely on the schedule posted “online” and not at the RA website); and generally zoning out and unaware while on watch — e.g, just last week I witnessed one Dad yelling just under a life guard’s vantage point, “He’s getting in the pool!” then “He’s underwater! He’s underwater!” with NO response as a three year-old was clearly drowning — the good news is the Mom — who was getting his life jacket ready and didn’t realize he followed his sister into the pool — saved him. Why not reach out to retirees to ask them to consider life guarding, especially when are pools close due to “lack of available help” when teens go back to college or school? This allows parents to feel better knowing “adults” are watching over their children AND keeps the pools open longer.

    Recognize Reston Is Experiencing The Largest Tax Spike In Its History — If you seek to understand Reston’s tax position, simply look about you. Relying on “the budget” as an excuse to limit service is an outrage when clearly the tax base from so many commercial and residential developments is skyrocketing.

    Adopt a Policy Where Children, Teens and Adults Can Co-Exist — There is a decidedly “adults only” policy for the few adults who want to experience the pool without children during “Fitness Hours” that basically excludes families from the pool most mornings, weekdays and evenings. Candidly, I have a similar attitude where I’d like to experience the pool without adults harrumphing in my direction as we play a game of Marco Polo or ring toss. Instead of allowing this “adults only” policy, why not adopt a “come one, come all” attitude so that everyone can experience the pools when they are open? For example, during “Fitness Drop In Hours” — have teens only in the diving board area (age 13-18); young children (age 0-8) only in the kiddie pool area; kids only (8-12) in the non-swim lanes; and adults only in the swim lanes?

    OR dedicate one or two pools to swim lanes only — all adults, all swim lanes all the time.

    Trust me, there would be no decline in attendance if all the pools are truly open to ALL.

    Ensure Lifeguards Are Maintaining The Pool and Premises — Has anyone noticed some pools are covered in mold and crud with half hanging shower curtains, no toilet paper and disgusting toilets while others are well maintained? I would encourage the Parks & Recreations Advisory Committee to exercise their “right” to exercise the “other duties as required” clause in most any employee arrangement.

    In conclusion, if I had to pick one solution that I’ve recommended, hiring retirees would be it.

    Thanks for reading and considering.

    • Reston Now

      To ensure these comments are seen and considered by RA, you should send them by email to [email protected].

      • TRS

        Hi, I’ve shared them with RA and also with large online groups including Reston Children’s Online Yard Sale with +6,000 members.

      • The Constitutionalist

        Yeah, wouldn’t want you to delete them…

        • Reston Now

          Why would we delete meaningful comments? I’m sorry you’re still upset your obvious trolling on another article was deleted.

          • The Constitutionalist

            Uhmm… I’m fairly certain that #armedrobberyhasnohomehere is meaningful.

    • TheKingJAK

      The lifeguards I’ve dealt with so far this year were great, as they were last year. My biggest gripe was simply the scheduling, and RA did address some of that with an updated schedule this summer.

  • Guest

    I know its boring to hear it again but…can we puh-leeze get RA to stop spending our assessments on white elephants such as Lake House so we can get a few extra bucks to maintain and staff our pools? Neighborhood pools are a great asset to the community at large, and to property values too. The Lake House…not so much!

×

Subscribe to our mailing list