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Reston Association Board Moves Forward With Ending Afterschool Programming at Lake House

by Dave Emke — October 2, 2017 at 2:45 pm 135 Comments

In an effort to generate more revenue, the Reston Association Board of Directors voted at its meeting last week (video) to consider the end of child care at The Lake House when tabulating the 2018 budget and assessment rates.

Summer camps at The Lake House will continue under the new direction. The Board’s decision also allows for the possibility of using the facility for spring and winter break camps, and for “general ad hoc community programming if that did not interfere with being able to rent out the facility.”

The topic was earlier discussed during a special Board session Sept. 18.

Eliminating the afterschool care at the facility will allow for more hours to be designated for rentals, the Board decided at its Sept. 28 meeting. According to the Reston Association website, The Lake House’s rental rates range from $100 to $275 an hour.

While an estimated 647 families participate in camps at The Lake House, only about two dozen children go to The Lake House after school for the “Fit Kids” program.

“In order to benefit, 12, 14, 16 families, we are asking 21,075 [households] to pay $6-$7 in additional assessments,” said Sridhar Ganesan, treasurer and At-Large director, referring to the difference in assessment rate the projected income from additional rentals would bring. “This facility has cost us between $4.25 and $4.5 million. … As a fiscally responsible Board, I would say we need to recover that money, at a minimum, even ignoring the time value of recovering that money, before we think of opening it up and giving it away free.”

The Board voted earlier this month to move forward with using reserve funds to pay off the loan on the facility, which has struggled to make money and continues to operate at a loss since being purchased and renovated by RA.

One affected parent, Erin Gable, addressed the Board to express her displeasure with their conversation.

“The Lake House is for members, not for corporations,” she said. “I get that a lot of money is still trying to be recovered from The Lake House situation, but this is a service to RA members that can be vitally important.”

CEO Cate Fulkerson also said that several affected parents had sent in letters. In the end, though, the Board determined that Reston Association should not be in the child-care business.

“It’s not that I want to take away your child care, it’s that I fundamentally recognize that we have a ton of members whose $6 is a big deal to them … to service a very small number of kids,” said Victoria White, Hunters Woods/Dogwood District representative. “Quite frankly, we’re a homeowners’ association. We’re not a child-care provider.”

Also at its meeting last week, the Board directed staff (video) to include a new position — a post-project approval inspector for the Design Review Board — in the second draft of the 2018 budget. This position, designed to help ensure that repairs and other work done on properties is completed on time and done in compliance with RA covenants, is estimated to add $55,885 (salary and benefits) to the budget. It will have a $2.65 impact on the assessment rate.

Decisions about budget items have not been finalized, as the full 2018-2019 budget is slated to be approved by the board in November.

  • Drip

    Did the RA eliminate the nighttime time restrictions as well? That prohibition against rental use beyond certain evening hours also effectively served to limit the tangible use and potential, such as it is, for the Tetra property. It is well documented that the time restriction was a little gift from Cate and Ken K to the small group of lakefront homeowners who pushed for this disastrous purchase in the first place. If that decision means those homeowners will forever have to view weddings and other events that carry over into the night so that RA members can recoup money from this, er, investment then so be it.

  • Donald

    Well, let’s see how well this goes over.

    “It’s not that I want to take away your child care, it’s that I fundamentally recognize that we have a ton of members whose $6 is a big deal to them …

    Donald

    • Doesn’t add up

      Did you watch the video? Something doesn’t add up. The program is said to net a projected loss of $10,000 for the year. How does this equal $6-7 a month per member? The program pays for its employees and the lose is based on rental income that is said to be lost because of the program being at the Lake House making it unavailable during the day. They also charge the program for being in the space. Yet, they can pay for another employee and the Pony Barn

  • dudewe

    Why does RA need another position? This past year RA hired a Capital projects guy. It seems to me that this same person could handle “post approval project inspection,”

    Good news getting rid of the day care at the Lake House. Let private enterprise handle this.

    Better yet, get rid of the Lake House and the RA CEO….

    • Arlene Krieger

      dudwe, could not agree with you more both have to go. I’d advocated selling the place last fall, even if we take a lose, and we will, it’s an burden that we RA members should not have to put up with. And the person responsible should gently be let go. We should give her a chance to find another position and a good severance package because in the end it is RA who hired her, not a good fit, and we are responsible. As we al know in business and every kind of undertaking often we hire a good person who does not work out for us.. I can’t imagine any rational reason to keep her. It is really is insane that we can’t fess up to this mistake that RA made. We need to cut our losses..

      • 40yearsinreston

        Raze it and turn it into a dog park

    • Greg

      The RA does not need another position.

    • Cindy

      The CEO is not the one that voted to hire new employees the board did. The board is also voting to dump tons of money into Pony Barn and voted to purchase $900 trash cans. What’s the difference between and after school program and camp? That’s fine if you don’t want an after school program, but to just cancel it in the middle of the school year and leave the parents to scramble for childcare(in the middle of the school year when its all taken) and leave employees(the program not RA pays their salaries) without a job is heartless. Why not allow them to finish the school year?

      • Greg

        The board did not source the $900 trash cans, the RA staff did. The board votes on that which the staff presents it.

        And, the problem is that your daycare cost is just that — yours. And you should fund 100 percent of it — not the Reston home-owners’ association.

        The RA, based on the CEO’s incompetent direction, spent at least $2.5 million (more than twice its value) on this unneeded dilapidated facility — and it is supporting just a few members’ child-care needs at best.

        • Donald

          The board needs to demonstrate an iota of common sense. More than they are capable at moment.

          Donald

        • Cindy

          Way to throw a whole Reston Association staff under the bus. Things like this couldn’t pass if the board didn’t vote on it. They could of voted NO.

          Should we get rid of camps also? Isn’t this childcare? If they didn’t believe we were in the childcare business then why allow it to open in the fall and then leave families stranded? They could of voted NO and not even opened the program this fall.

          I don’t live on a lake, yet I pay for the maintenance. I don’t play tennis yet I pay for courts. I’ve never been to the pony barn yet I’m paying for the project. It’s amazing at how people pick and choose what the rest of us pay for based on themselves. If all Reston home owners paid for only what they used there wouldn’t be a whole lot funded around here to include lakes, tennis courts, ball fields, etc. NONE OF THESE ITEMS GENERATE RENUE OR A PROFIT.

          My issue isn’t stopping the program. My issue is closing it mid year leaving parents and employees stranded. That’s heartless and isn’t how Reston should operate

          • Donald

            Well said.

            Donald

          • Greg

            You’ve never seen us advocate for anything but fee-based, self-sustaining or, better yet, private entities providing most of RA’s services. By your own admission, the RA does a terrible job at them and wastes millions of dollars in the process.

            But for the lakes, which are really stormwater management systems, some of the paths and the open areas, the rest of those things and services should all be self-sustaining or left for the private sector to provide — and the users of them to fully pay the costs of providing them.

            The pools and tennis courts do generate some revenue, but not enough to warrant their continued existence and funding by the RA members, so your statement is false.

            Sorry about your issue, but it should not be my, or RA’s, cost to bear.

    • 40yearsinreston

      The Capital Projects Manager Director is busy liasing with the Board and CEO while inflating his empire to actually do any real work

      • Livedinreston30years

        You clearly have no idea what you are talking about.

  • Mike Heffner

    Since I’ve got a daughter at Fit Kids right now, I’d buy this argument – if there were a huge backlog of rentals that the RA is missing out on by the kids being in the building from 3:30-6:30pm weekdays. If you’re trying to tell me the RA is missing out on $2000/week (the shortfall of 21K households x $6/$7) because of Fit Kids – that’s dubious at best.

    • Bethany

      I was wondering how many rentals they really were missing out on at that time of day during the week…

    • Caul Shivers

      Sorry to hear about losing childcare, especially during the school year. Another parent said they had increased the fees significantly, and could no longer compete with SACC which, if I’m being honest, seemed a lot more convenient than driving to the Lake House for pick up. Was the program any good?

      • Cindy

        The program is awesome. my child loves it, the staff is great. I’m unsure who said the fees were increased, they have been the same and even have sibling and school year discounts. You also don’t have to pay extra for childcare on teacher work days

    • Donald

      I would have to agree.

      • dudewe

        The pools and tennis courts were “inherited” by RA. We are probably “over-pooled” and “over-courted” but at least such amenities are typical homeowner associations functions. And yes, some of them should probably be closed. Day care should not be a function of a homeowner’s association. But the real point is that RA and staff lacked due diligence in justifying and buying the Lake House.

        • Cindy

          Dudewe, what’s the difference between camp that RA has ran for years and an after school program? They are both “child care”. You can claim them both as a child care expense on your taxes. The same teachers teach both and during the camp season before and after care is offered and has been offered for over 20years. So, I ask you again what’s the difference? I can answer that for you, one makes a lot of money for RA and the other was doomed from the start only because people hate the Lake House and anything that was slated to go in there, so families have to suffer. Why even start the program to stop it mid year leaving families up the creek?

          • Donald

            I have to agree with Cindy. And if you ever knew Bob Simon, you’d know one of his biggest efforts during his latter years was to focus on taking care of “latchkey kids.”

            I’d argue tennis camps, swimming camps, soccer camps, baseball camps, nature camps, etc., are no different.

            And while we’re at it. The Nature House — is it profitable?

            Donald

        • Kate are you there?

          i voted yes and I still think the lake house was an ok deal except for the lies.

          you cannot blame the seller for lying; a rent back agreement should have secured the promised revenue

          you cannot blame the voter for saying yes to the deal; the RA board lied about the escalating costs and mismanaged them

          so why do we still have to deal with these same people on the RA? one already got shamed into resigning, when is the rest going to leave?

          • dudewe

            Kate is the tail that waves the dog. She thinks she is the “mayor” of Reston….

            PS The vote would have failed by not having the necessary percentage of RA members voting, but when Kate realized this, they “beat the bushes” to get out more pro Lake House advocates to vote. This is not the first referendum such shenanigans have happened.

    • Mike M

      I was sorry to hear about your grandfather. Hugh and I had some great . . . cigars together.

  • Ray Wedell

    Amazing how the following was slipped through the back door via “budget discussions” and nobody has raised an eyebrow,,,,,,, RA is moving forward with the decision to pay off a sweetheart 3.25% loan on the Lake House, using reserve funds. You remember that sweetheart loan from Access National Bank: it was one of the main selling points used to buy the property.

    So you set aside a “rainy day fund” for years, protect it and grow it (the former RA Treasurer was adamant about how we needed a strong reserve fund and should protect it/ grow it), and now raid the fund in one swoop to try to make the Lake House stigma go away? Over 20 years of building that reserve fund now gone? With simple, back-of-the-napkin “analysis”. Anyone with rudimentary knowledge of finance knows the tricks salespeople can play using time value of money “analysis.”

    The big winner here is Access National Bank, which gets kudos for providing the funds in a questionable loan to begin with, and now gets bailed out of a loan backed by property worth a fraction of the loan balance. It can now put the money to more profitable use elsewhere, and get this low-yielding albatross off their books. The reason for this RA decision is a sham to try to sell people that their assessments would go down this year. A cheap political maneuver. Maybe some real financial people can get to some Board members and point out the folly in this before there is a final, official vote. Not a single ICFA member I know would have gone along with this: pay off an amazingly low interest loan on an underwater property using your reserves. Outrageous…..also outrageous is the “in house legal” savings promoted. Personnel costs remain nearly 70% of RA’s budget. No fundamental changes of any significance were made to reduce assessments, just okie-doke games with almost no discussion, not even internally among Board members.

    The RA Board insiders knew I had issues and wanted full discussion on both the legal in-house issue and especially on the ludicrous idea to pay off a cheap loan with a huge hunk of rainy day funds. They deliberately worked around me to keep the discussion from ever seeing the light of day. But it will. As Martin Luther King said, “You can drive the truth into the ground all you want, but it always eventually makes its way back up.”

    Here is the simple everyday analysis on this Lake House loan payoff. Let’s say your spouse just absolutely loves this new 700 series BMW and buys it getting 3% financing for 6 years. After a few months, you tire of the payments and demand it gets paid off. Not having the money, you go into your IRA and take out 75% of it to get the funds needed to pay off the BMW loan. Make sense? The decision to pay off the Lake House loan with the RA Association version of an IRA makes about as much sense.

    • .o2 cents

      honestly Ray. I think you should work with the FBI perhaps in exchange for a lesser sentence.

      • Ray Wedell

        Ha! Ha! You are so funny! Hey, who are you? One of the Board members posting anonymously, by chance? Maybe a familiar face in these rooms who has taken his sarcasm under cover? Guess what….it won’t work. C ya. What I just said has great value to those who really care and want some idea what really is going on….sorry if that bothers you.

        • .o2 Cents

          just wanted to see if you have any sense of humour left which would qualify you for a “re-run”

          based on what you provided this appears to be of a lesser probability now, just a guess

          • Ray Wedell

            When I saw your name “.02 cents” my first thought is that you were attempting to show a sense of humor. Subsequent commentary has proven otherwise: 2/100 of a cent is about right.

          • Caul Shivers

            Ray with the petty response. Surprise, surprise.

          • .o2 Cents

            you know what Ray, when you get to the pearly gates of heaven I wish you a parking lot

          • Ray Wedell

            Oh, i get it. You are one of those who “protested” that I supposedly wanted to turn Hook Road into a parking lot? You actually bought that story and went along with it? Hey Hook Road people who want to keep things as is and NOT spend high six figures/low seven figures to make it a miniature version of Nationals Park on one side and Forrest Hills on the other…… you are welcome. That WAS coming until one person stopped it in March. One person who said that it should remain as is, and adequately maintained. Just one person, 2/100 of a cent….just one person. Let that thought sink in and remain indelibly on your mind.

          • “rerun”

            thanks for the giggle. i think you qualify.

    • JoeInReston

      I don’t claim to be an expert in any area related to finance, hoa, or optimal local governance policies, so permit me some noob questions…

      – what is the difference between the rate of return on the rainy day fund monies and the loan rate on the Lake House loan? I presume the Lake House loan rate is higher.

      – what are the risks of an event that would create a need for the rainy day fund monies? What is the reason for RA to have a large rainy day fund?

      • Ray Wedell

        Ask the people of Texas why on earth they needed a $10 billion “rainy day fund”. Events happen that are unforeseen. “You don’t know what you don’t know”. Reserve funds are there for emergencies. Past Boards have guarded it like Fort Knox, and slightly grown it each year. I am not saying that is necessarily correct, and I am not claiming to know what the proper amount is to leave in reserves. But, I do know they were funded with member money. And I do now that once upon a time (like in every other Board before this one), the thought of raiding a reserve fund to pay for The Mistake on the Lake would never have been considered. Especially not when we are carrying a 3.25% under water loan.

      • Ray Wedell

        Also, Joe, who knows where interest rates are going in the next 8 years. We are giving up a fixed rate at 3.25%.

        And we need to ask ourselves this simple question: If it is such a great idea to pay for this out of reserve funds and eliminate the loan, why was the referendum and discussion before the Tetra vote often citing the “favorable financing” as a reason to vote “yes”? Why did we not simply propose to pay for it out of reserve funds to begin with?

        • Jill Gallagher

          “Why did we not simply propose to pay for it out of reserve funds to begin with” – totally agree, Ray.

        • John Higgins

          Just for the record: the idea of using reserves (R&R) for Lake House purchase was discussed by the board and promptly rejected. Those reserves were there for a reason and that reason was not acquisition of a new facility.

          The cash we are talking about was not previously identified as surplus. It was an operating cushion RA staff, the Fiscal Committee and the board were very clear in wanting to retain.

          Things have changed. A fresh look by fresh faces now believes RA carries far too much cash. I happen to agree with the conclusion, if not the amount. There should be a lot more analysis and debate before deciding what to do with this surplus cash. I have a bad feeling we will not be seeing either.

          • Ray Wedell

            Hi John… You and I share a mutual respect, even if we don’t always agree.

            In this case, I prefer to call it as I see it. This is a panic move by a new RA Board that is anxious to hit a headline number on assessments, so they can claim that “we kept our word and lowered assessments.”

            It is a pure okie-doke they want to slip through virtually unnoticed. Perhaps the discussion in here will alert enough people to what is happening and force the lengthy debate this issue deserves.

            I hope you golf game is shaping up better than mine.

      • John Higgins

        Joe, you ask two trick questions, one of which suggests a third query.
        First, this is not a rainy day fund. What has been identified is a surplus of cash in the bank. That money earns virtually (and perhaps literally) nothing.
        Second, the risks are few. Yes, there could be a disaster where losses exceed RA’s sizeable insurance. It is wise to have a reserve for this purpose, but the board appears to not agree.
        Unasked: why is an unneeded $2.4 million sitting in a checking account rather than invested? What could it earn? Well, if they invested it as cautiously as they have with about 25% of the repair and replacement fund (i.e., conservative mutual funds) it would bring in far more than the interest being paid on the loan. Those investments grew at the rate of about 12% in the first six months of this year.
        Loan payoff is an awful idea. Seems to me RA should have a financial advisor to point out the enormity of the opportunity they are passing up.

        • Donald

          I must agree. The treasurer just stepped into his role. I have to question his need to take this initiative so quickly.

          Donald

        • Jill Gallagher

          John – has RAs investments ever lost money? I am assuming that with regular market fluctuations, that has happened – a lot of people who are saying not to pay off the loan and to invest it instead are assuming that we will 100% for sure, for certain make money if we invest that money. But there is a risk there that we could lose it as well. I think for those of us who want to pay it off, we see more certainty in achieving gains by paying it off than we do with investing. I think we are just a little more risk-adverse than you all who don’t want to pay it off. It’s not personal, just an honest difference in opinion. But before folks start talking about how much money we can make off excess funds, they need to understand that (a) we could also lose money on any investment and (b) the Lake House costs $15,000 a MONTH in mortgage payments. Paying this off will help stabilize the budget and should come with the condition that we will re-build that rainy-day fund as you suggest. In my mind, the only ones that will benefit (for sure, for certain) from us NOT paying it off is the bank.

          • John Higgins

            Yes, more than 20 years ago RA made some ill-advised (and unauthorized) investments and lost its shirt. Controls are in place to not repeat that.

            Yes, given market fluctuations, any investment comes with a degree of risk. One manages risk or avoids it. Of course risk avoidance is, itself, taking a risk. Money kept under the mattress (e.g., in an uninsured bank account) takes the risk that inflation will be zero and the cash will have the same purchasing power in the future.

            I appreciate that there is a range of risk tolerance among us. How we invest surplus cash is debatable. Whether or not to invest it, ought not be. Indeed, RA settled that question years ago and even today it has rejected total aversion to risk. Look at the R&R Fund. That’s not surplus cash, it is money for which there is an identified use. Yet a portion of that fund has been invested conservatively, as I suggest the surplus operating cash could be. If it is too risky to mirror that investment for surplus operating cash, how does the Fiscal Committee and board find it not too risky to invest money that IS needed?

            The $15,000 per month number is a cash flow statistic, not a cost. The “cost” is the interest expense, about 45% of that number (and shrinking every month). Apart from interest, nothing is saved by using cash to pay off a debt. I owe you $5; I reach into my wallet and hand over a five dollar bill. Did I save $5 by paying you?

            If the RA has done an analysis and concluded that it cannot earn at least 3.25% on this chunk of cash for the next seven years, then there is an argument for payoff. Fine, pay it off. A few of us would be very interested to see that analysis.

        • Bernie Supporter

          Loan payoff is a GREAT idea… IF you are RA CEO or the Board. That “eliminates” the Lake House disaster (on paper) and ALLOWS all future revenue from the Lake House to go into the PLUS column. How ingenious! Cook the books in such a way to make the WORST decision that RA has made in recent years LOOK like its a money maker no matter how little revenue it generates. Sheesh.

    • Caul Shivers

      Oh, look, another blowhard with an opinion. You were a blight on the board, and now you have to moan about the Lake House on an internet forum with the rest of the “keyboard warriors.” I think I speak for the community when I say you should spend your retirement in silence.

      • Ray Wedell

        Caul. I hate to tell you this, but: 1) You don’t speak for the community. You speak for you. 2) It really doesn’t matter if I am the only one holding a certain opinion. If I think it’s right, and if I know what I am talking about, you are going to have the opportunity to hear it. So deal with it. 3) Ask Reclaim Reston if I am a blight on the Board. Or many other groups whom I have supported against a Board majority that simply was incorrect. You are entitled to your opinion and entitled to state it. And at least you used a real name, hopefully your own name. But personal attacks and claiming to represent 60,000 other people? Naw, I put that in the “no class” category.

        As for “moaning about the Lake House”, I think there is plenty of that already without me. Are you trying to stifle that as well? I think tapping the RA reserve funds in an attempt to make the Lake House go away is a somewhat foolish concept. But you know, Caul…thats just me. That’s just my opinion.

        • Caul Shivers

          Of all the people in Reston to call somebody out for having “no class” it should not be Ray Wedell. Thanks for the laugh.

          Nobody is going to dispute the fact that RA has bungled resident fees, and has completely mismanaged their properties. However, you’re using a post about families losing their childcare as a platform to moan about the Lake House. That’s my issue. That program was doomed from the start, and should never have gotten the go ahead. Sure, the two are connected, but is a rant necessary? No.

          Now that you can’t spew your nonsense at board meetings, you’re just like the majority of people who come to Reston Now forums complain about the Lake House, and paid parking.

          You’re a broken record, Ray. And nobody wants to listen anymore.

          • Ray Wedell

            Actually, Caul. Many people DO want to listen. Many people find it valuable to understand the back story on issues form someone who has lived it. In fact, I get more inquiries from members now than I did when I was on the Board. You see, most people do not want to stifle debate. Most people do not think that deriding those who actually tried diligently to help the community with volunteer time is a good thing. And your proclamations that you speak for all, so therefore I should shut up? You clearly do not know anything about the person you are trying to shut up with stupid insults….thanks for the incentive to speak out more often. Have a nice day.

        • Lauren

          Ray, did you know about the board thinking about getting rid of the after school program? If you did why would you allow this program to start only to shut it down and leave parents and employees scrambling? Why was it not an option to move it to another location or finish the school year?

        • Lauren

          Ray, you never answered my question. Can I have a short answer please? Maybe a few sentences long. If the board knew the program was on the chopping block why allow it to open in the 1st place? Why leave families and staff stranded instead of allowing the program to finish the school year? Why is not moving the program to another location an option? Why weren’t the parent letters read at the meeting as promised in the letter to parents?

          • Ray Wedell

            Lauren, there are literally dozens of similar issues in which most of the Board has little or no knowledge. The programming at Lake House is not something that a volunteer Board, most of whom have full time jobs or businesses, can spend any time on unless prompted to do so by a member concern. In some cases, a Board member who is “chairing” a specific committee will have more information and details on a matter, and the rest of the Board is hostage to what and how that Board member shares what is going on. The simple cop-out answer you hear from some Board members is something like this, used against questioning Board members all too often: “These meetings are all public, so if you have a concern, you should have gone to the meeting.” No sense even responding to that now.

            I had no idea what programming RA was planning, keeping, removing, etc. from Lake House. And this is one of those areas in which Reston has no choice under its current system but to rely on expert management and staff, who get paid to focus on these operational things on a daily basis.

            Remember that in early-mid 2016 Lucinda Shannon and I had no idea that the Lake House Working Group had authorized the additional spending of approximately $500,000 beyond the originally-planned renovation total to reconstruct the Lake House. The “chair” Board member had said NOTHING about any of this until AFTER it all happened. His reports to the Board at that time were “this is a model working group doing a great job, and you will all be proud of the results, and of this property.” NOTHING about overruns nor authorizing spending without Board approval.

            Once again, my opinion is this: RA is an anachronism. It cannot possibly function effectively under its current structure. And with the number of issues and population growth expanding, the RA response is to ADD more divisions, more working groups, more committees, leaving an unmanageable labyrinth of departments. Classic empire building, whether planned or not. Endless silos is how I used to term it, but maybe additional tentacles to the octopus is more accurate. I have spoken internally to many Board members about this, provided examples of how things can be changed, and virtually all have fallen on deaf ears. In fact, the response generally is to “bottle up dissent” and create more internal “collegiality.” The type of change I would recommend to bring things to a 21st century approach to dealing with Reston’s issues is simply never going to happen. Not even in remote segments of RA.

            Compare and contrast to the incredibly fabulous job Reclaim Reston, Reston 20/20 and RCA are doing in keeping the development issue front and center, and focused on the results: the good of the community.

      • Mike M

        Ray’s opinion is different than yours, so he should stifle?

        • Caul Shivers

          He’s a blowhard because all he does is run his mouth at a high volume…

          • Arlene Krieger

            Do you have a thing for Ray and feel ashamed? It’s ok if you do.

      • Arlene Krieger

        You speak for no one but yourself. And you such an angry and nasty person. I feel sorry for you. Get a Shrink. Did your parents reject you.What happened to make you this way? Sad really.

        • Caul Shivers

          Save your sorrow for somebody who cares.

          I think it’s cute you came to Ray’s defense, though. I’m sure he’s just tickled.

    • Donald

      Rarely do I agree with Ray, but he does raise some good questions.

      While the meeting for this decision was televised, only one resident was actually in attendance – Irwin Flashman.

      Raiding membership reserve funds is something that should have been debated heavily in bright light with many participating.

      Donald

      • Arlene Krieger

        Make it so.

      • Jill Gallagher

        Donald, agree it should be debated but we also need to think about how to collect this input from those who can’t attend 5-hour long meetings. People do have opinions (look at this post!) but they also have jobs and kids and sports and pets and elderly parents to care for after a long day’s work…in this age of social media and online polling and email, surely we can do a better job of raising critical issues in advance of meetings, soliciting public input before votes are taken and really spurring public conversations on these issues. Why must we always be shocked by decisions that were planned to be discussed weeks in advance of meetings – maybe if we had an online discussion board, with postings of critical issues/decisions by RA, then these parents who are losing their daycare would have had an opportunity to voice these views before a vote was taken. We have to get out of the Middle Ages and start leveraging social media or information-sharing platforms to engage the members. People are not apathetic – they just need a platform and a way to voice their opinions formally to the Board in advance of meetings. Maybe RCA can sponsor an information-sharing site/discussion board??

        • Donald

          Agree, But not RCA. It has its own mission and agenda as well. This needs to be fresh new blood, with new outlook and tools.

          Donald

  • Lauren

    As a parent it’s upsetting how this all played out and how the board members are not telling the truth. There are about 25 families signed up for this program. We were given a letter from the board president that said we could send a letter to the board in favor of the program or speak in person at 6:45pm. I arrived with my children only to find out they changed their minds and we wouldn’t be allowed to speak until 9pm. I took my children home and watched from home. They talked about the Pony Barn over a hour and allowed members to speak. When the subject of After Care came up, they didn’t read any of the letters the parents sent in as stated in the letter from the president. Didn’t allow the parent to ask questions or answer her questions. She was shut down and they had their minds made up before the meeting. One person even discussed how lucky she was to be able to get off work in time to get her child in front of people that were loosing their childcare. I also didn’t hear from any of the employees. This board does not care about the members. How can you leave people without child care and employees without jobs mid school year short notice? How do they know the Lake House will be rented every day? When did corporations become more important them members? Why can’t this program continue until the end of the school year? Why can’t this program run at another location like Brown’s Chapel? Is it just sitting all day? The mom in the video was spot on when she said when did we become about catering to outside business and not our members?

    • Donald

      Do like others. Organize, and show up in very large numbers at upcoming board meetings. If you can’t make the meetings, make a video and make it go viral throughout Reston, make yard signs (to DRB specs), spend time in front of the Safeway, Giant, etc.

      If you cannot do any of the above, write letters. Have friends and family clog the phones of each board member. Inundate each Board member’s personal email and phone line. And the main line of Reston Association.

      Donald

  • Lauren

    Not in the childcare business? What is camp? Isn’t camp the childcare business. I guess its OK to have camp, because it’s an RA cash cow. What has RA done to advertise this program. The program is only a year old. How can it be expected to compete with camp that has been around for years? Why would you end a child care program mid year leaving people without childcare and employees without a job? How can parents expect to find quality child care on such short notice. Why did you allow the program to open if you knew that it may be up to closing in a few months? You all on the board should be ashamed of yourselves. This should of never opened for the school year if you knew you may close it a few months into the year. Shameful! I will be letting everyone on my PTO board and everyone I speak with know that this board cares only about itself, money, and older residents( no offense). It does not care about young families that are the future of Reston.

    • Doesn’t add up

      Hate to break it to you, but they will never care about young families. This is because young families don’t have time to go to all the meetings, run for a board seat, and really pay an active role in what’s going on here in Reston because of work and family obligations. This is why so many things get pushed through without anyone noticing until it’s too late. None of their votes have benefited young families so far

  • Lauren

    So we can spend thousands on Pony Barn, new employees, $50,000 for someone to come up with a plan on how to repair a few things, $900 for trash cans(according to another member), etc, but strand families in the middle of the school year? This makes sense how? I agree with Mike, Fit Kids is not what’s costing the member the extra cash……it’s a scapegoat. “We’re wasting money, what can we blame it on?” How much revenue will the general ad hoc actives generate? When did we stop caring about members? Is there a waiting list to rent the Lake House? How are you so sure the Lake House will bring in the revenue discussed? The board needs to be held accountable and answer these questions

    • Ray Wedell

      Hi Lauren, I agree 100% with you on these issues, and so many more. The overwhelming majority of these things occur with little or no input from Board members or knowledge given in advance to Board members. Before I came on Board, and during my first two years on the Board, Director Lucinda Shannon would consistently and vehemently deride the Board process of sending out a 150 to 200 page Board meeting agenda one or two days before the meeting. The reality is that most of the things in these Board packages are there for Board confirmation, not Board discussion or debate. Hence, we often had 7-2 votes on issues in which the skids were well greased with neither Lucinda nor I knowing abut it (“don’t let them know, they may object and rally some members to their point of view,”).

      The most outrageous of the many examples of this was the Tetra overrun, orchestrated by a former Board member who “chaired” the committee and 5 Working Group members. The Board Operating Committee KNEW about this in March (one month before election final date), and kept mum until July. At that point, a request to approve about half a million dollars was buried as just another line item in a summer package (“maybe they will be on vacation?”). The video of that meeting and the livid response to this request from Lucinda and I should be seen. Of course, the confirmation of already-spent money passed 7-2. And THAT money came from Operating Reserve funds, which has become a slush fund of sorts for any mistake or crazy concept that comes up.

      Lauren, if my pointing things like this out bothers people and causes them to personally attack me, I could care less. I thought I was there to respond to member interests and promote better management and Government. I never joined the official club, but I did maintain a respect for the individuals. Keep in mind, most Board members work full time jobs or businesses. It is absolutely impossible, under current operating procedures, to do anything other than follow those issues closely that are extremely important to you. So I was able to stop a ludicrous spending program they already had lined up for Hook Road…..to beat back absurd criticism from all Board officers for opening the door to Reclaim Reston to present their case in detail in front of the RA Board…..for fighting the approval of funds for a Lake House overrun (by the way, even without the overrun, they approved and constructed an architectural design that locked them into a structure that is difficult to rent out…. who approved that?).

      The rewards and victories of being an RA Board member just became too scant when balanced against trying to navigate the labyrinth RA has become, and the extreme frustrations in trying to simply do what is right and get beaten down and worked around in the process. And all this takes times from business, family, and life. Each Board member spends, I would estimate, 40 to 100 hours a month on RA-related things. There is no nobility in number of hours spent, by the way; however, I cannot criticize good people trying to do what they think is how a Board should operate (the origin of my disagreements with most of them…..I agree with Lauren’s position, above, that the way in which RA operates is unmanageable and getting worse). Within the current paradigm, they work hard and do what they think they should be doing. But if ever there was a need for a major paradigm shift, I believe it is in the operation of RA. This is a personal criticism of nobody. But the current system simply does not work. I could never get even to first base with that position.

      I welcome any real debate on any of this. Lilliputians hurling personal attacks under anonymous names need not bother. We should be encouraging real debate on real core issues, and that is simply NOT the case in most instances. Thank you for your detailed and on-point questions in your various posts. I would love to get answers to many of your questions myself.

      And Lauren, I realize this is a long response, but I was recently speaking with a father of a young family who recently moved to Reston, and he says that opinions like his and yours are the “silent majority” within Reston. It hits on another issue, which is that Reston is bragging about the increase in voting in the last election to 22%. That means 78% of people did NOT vote. This is NOT because young families are too busy. Voting is an easy online process, or you can drop it in the mail in a self-addressed envelope. When I mention that we should get at least 50% turnout, people think that is outrageous. Is it? My real number is more like 75%. The bottom line is this: The same small cadre of people show up and make themselves heard at RA meetings, in emails and phone calls to Directors, etc. They all claim to represent “the community.” They have an outsized influence on any and all decisions. Particularly given the importance of development and open spaces and how that will stamp the future of Reston, you need to have candidates who will “walk the walk” and represent YOU, not some “collegiality among ourselves”. Not SAY they will focus on YOUR interests, but actually do it.

      And despite all the various excuses about “not enough time”, Board agendas are sliced into bite sized pieces. More people need to attend when that bite-sized piece discusses issues that really hit home with you. You can plan a short amount of time accordingly. For example, everybody with an opinion can speak at the three minute member comment period. DO IT!!!! It is one of your only opportunities to actually be heard, and many issues raised in that small segment were very influential to voting outcomes.

      • Amy Sue

        thank you for the detailed response. Based on your board experience, how would you suggest the community go about reforming the Association? Thank you.

        • Greg

          RA, as a home-owners’ association, has outlived its usefulness. The best way forward is for Reston, and I mean all of it, including Deepwood, Reston Town Center and the other outparcels who have left the RA, be incorporated into a town or city and be somewhat freed from the county’s control.

          Land-use planning is a hot topic, as are the amenities that the RA owns and maintains. RA is ineffective as a land-use arbiter and we have wasted millions of dollars toward that end with almost no one happy (but for the developers and Hudgins).

          The DRB approves ghastly and unfit properties (the Lincoln Log parking garage abutting Reston Parkway) and hassles owners who want to maintain their properties with petty requirements (frosted or clear bulbs in an outdoor light fixture).

          RA covenants are ineffectively and infrequently managed and few properties are ever compelled to improve.

          RA does a terrible job at facilitating and minimizing common expenses that all have to bear — trash and recycling, snow and ice management, and exterior property maintenance.

          RA has spent millions on communications with a website that is a hassle to use and virtually no other communications. The magazine is nothing less than a free political propaganda piece.

          RA could easily, but won’t, help everyone by creating utility aggregation entities for utilities we all pay ever more for year over year (gas, electricity, water and sewage, cable, and internet).

          Unpaid, volunteer board members come and go and with them their own particulars. As this very thread exposes.

          The RA staff is overpaid, under delivers and is not held accountable.

          The RA has a terrible track record of disastrous management and expenses. The high-cost lease for the RA HQ, Tetra / Lake House, endless consulting contracts that are usually ignored, wavering into needless things like child care, $120 million gyms, the Pony Barn, hiring the “director of improvements” and many more.

          Reston is the only place with a special tax district for another poorly managed arts center and without a county rec center.

          RA’s ever-increasing assessments are not tax deductible to the majority of those who pay it.

          And, finally, Reston’s founder is dead. Many of his good ideas died with him, and many others were not successful. The RA is one of them, and it’s time to change.

          • JoeInReston

            Most of your post enumerates the many ways you feel RA mismanaged Reston. Yet your opening salvo recommends the Reston be incorporated into its own town or city.

            If RA can’t effectively manage simple HOA governance, how could they possible manage town/city governance?

          • Greg

            RA can’t manage. That’s proven. More succinctly: RA, the homeowners’ assocation, should be abolished. Reston, the city or town, should be established and staffed with no one who has ever worked at RA. The sooner, the better, and the fewer ties to Fairfax County, the better.

    • Greg

      Your concern is a perfect example of why the RA should not be in the child-care business. Capricious, poorly planned decisions leaving families and children stranded while wasting millions of dollars on unneeded things and staff…

  • 40yearsinreston

    ‘Post project review inspector’ ?
    Why doesn’t the Project Management Director get off his backside and take a look instead of smoozing at HQ
    But that may not fit his self inflated title

    Throwing good money after bad is a RA
    Speciality
    Raze the eyesore and convert the property to a dog park

    • John Higgins

      One of the problems with joining these discussions is entry with misinformation which leads to flawed conclusions. Don’t mean to single you out, 40years because others have also misunderstood. The “post-project review” relates not to RA capital projects, but homeowners’ projects that have been approved by the DRB. After approval, and after the work has been done, who confirms that the homeowner has complied? Apparently no one unless there is a complaint. RA decided there should be a verification process. That said, one can question the need for an additional position to do these inspections. Assume that the Covenants staff is fully committed. There is nothing else among RA operations that can give up a position for this purpose? I think that’s an important question, and it is one I did not hear asked.

      • 42yearsinreston

        It’s okay to single him about because he seems to be obsessed with the idea that there is a projects director without any idea of what the guy actually does.

  • MakeRestonGreatAgain

    This board has lost its focus. Reston has also lost its focus. We need to concentrate on making Reston a great community again; putting its members and residents first. We need to put all our efforts into combating all the changes being pushed onto Reston. We as members need to stop posting and start attending meetings, writing letters, and holding people accountable to include this board. We need to start showing up.

    I hate to say it, but I voted for the Lake House. I always thought it would be used for the community like other buildings and not catering only to corporations. When did it become a corporate rental? When did it become to expensive that a lot of us that live in Reston can’t afford to rent it for the day or for a party? When did it become OK that a member renting the facility becomes second to a corporation rental (according to the article it can only be rented to members when corporations aren’t using it)? My dues should NOT be used to maintain a building for corporate rentals, but a building for community use for all residents. Remember we are what make Reston great and pay the association dues each year. This building should be used for the community and association programs like our other facilities are been doing for years.

    • Donald

      Absolutely agree.

      It seems a handful of zealous people are controlling Reston’s future.

      Well said.

      Donald

    • John Farrell

      Please remember that part of the “con” that got the referendum to buy Tetra passed was that the debt service would be raised by renting out that moneypit.

      So the childcare program was part of Fulkerson’s effort to deliver on that promise.

      Thus, the antipathy to the childcare program.

      The Board statements that RA isn’t childcare business is obviously disingenuous. Almost everything RA does is a form of childcare.

      Seems a program with only 25 kids could be easily accommodated at the Glade room, especially if the kids live south of the Toll Road.

  • Sean

    Reston Now, are you going to interview the parents or post their letters? If it’s true that they were told their letters would be read in a letter from the board president, I think we should be able to hear those letters. I went to the video, but they were not read during the meeting. My questions is why and why did the board vote before hearing the parent letters? I think these parents and us as residents should put the pressure on them. If they weren’t heard and no one is held accountable, then this will happen again to others in the future and no one will be heard. Thank you

  • Rational Reston

    There are a multitude of issues with the Lake House. But there’s a fundamental issue that Victoria White hits on “Quite frankly, we’re a homeowners’ association. We’re not a child-care provider.”

    RA should not be in the business of being in business, be it child care or a tennis pro shop.

    The Board seriously needs to look at its scope and keep within the boundaries of that scope. The Lake House debacle is merely a symptom, not the cause of the problem.

    Reigning in the scope will help to reign in the costs.

    • Donald

      So let’s get rid of the Nature House and all the camps underway there.

      There is little delineation needed between what a camp is versus after school programming.

      Donald

      • 40yearsinreston

        Yes really

      • Rational Reston

        That’s really running with a little bit of information there. The Summer Camps and Nature House are not ‘businesses’.

        My point was to reign in the ever expanding scope of RA, and one thing they should stop is being in direct competition with businesses that exist locally. Such as child-care or the tennis pro-shop.

        And $6 here, $6 there, and all of a sudden we’re talking about $700+ year.

        And the Nature House to RCC isn’t such a bad idea.

        • Donald

          Should we sell the Nature House? I hope the answer is no.

          Donald

          • Rational Reston

            There must be some way to transfer it to the RCC. It seems to fit more in their mission than RA’s.

          • Donald

            What about the surrounding natural area. Should we sell it to a developer?

            Donald

          • Rational Reston

            Was there ambiguity?

            You suggested (flippantly I admit) that maybe they should move the Nature House to the RCC.

            I agreed that it’s a potential solution for RA to streamline it’s operations, a benefit to this idea is that the community would not lose the Nature House or its benefits.

            Then you brought in selling, developers, etc.

            That’s a strange notion to bring into what is (a fictional) transfer of property and operations from RA to RCC.

          • Donald

            Actually, you did not read my response.

            I asked – should we sell the adjacent property to a developer, not the RCC. The property’s just sitting there. I’m sure it carries a fine price. Imagine those millions of dollars in the Members’s coffers. Perhaps, we could reduce assessments to zero.

            Donald

        • Tammi Petrine

          NOTHING should be taken over by RCC. NOTHING!!! Their management and scope are as wildly inflated as RA’s is when Ra took on after-school-care. Discussion at the 9/28 RA Bd. meeting regarding this topic inferred that RA was precluded from much more lucrative rentals because Reston corps (who ARE RA members) and other orgs. could not rent the “Lake House” due to the hours of after-school-care for 24 children. BOTH evening and afternoon rentals are affected.

          Also please note that After-School expenses are huge vs the income! Buses, drivers, staff, supplies, insurance, utilities… all for 24 children??? IT was only 19 until last week. NEVER should RA, our HOA, been in child-care business. RA summer Camps are traditional and actually bring in a profit. Let professional businesses handle daily child care. RA needs to restrain themselves from trying to be all things to all people and make decisions that make sense financially.

          • SMH

            Do the pools, tennis courts, ball fields, pony barn, Browns Chapel, Glade room, etc bring in revenue? What business do you know brings in a profit after 1yr? Why is there a school ALL DAY at the Glade pool? Can people rent that space during that time. Summer Camps are “child care business” there is no difference. The fact that they are having camps during the spring and winter there when you say others should be renting it make so sense. When did RA become a business? I thought RA was a non profit? Has that changed? What about the many members that pay for lake upgrades and tennis courts but don’t live on the lake or play tennis? It’s fine to cancel the program, but don’t say its because we aren’t in the childcare business or cancel it mid year leaving people without jobs and childcare

          • Donald

            SMH. My point as well.

            Donald

          • Mrs. Hunt

            Did you know that the senior 55+ programs that are during the day are also being forced to leave? What do you say to them? They also use staff, utilities, supplies, etc. Also, just so you know the buses are used by the board of directors, new residents tours, 55+ outings, and other recreation programs. What about the enrichment activities that are held there to include the sign language class to hep communicate with the deaf in our community. I guess you want to get that out of there to. So the non profit organization can actually make a profit, because its not something you utilize

          • Donald

            Mrs. Hunt. Well said.

            Donald

          • Tammi Petrine

            I am NOT against member usage of Tetra aka Lake House. What I am against is RA taking on stuff that is duplicated by actual child care businesses or RCC so that we are paying for similar stuff in both orgs. Sadly RCC is not predisposed to limit its scope either. That’s fodder for another column.

            Mrs. Hunt, a small series or one-off member events or member meetings is one thing but locking up usage every weekday of a VERY expensive facility for the benefit of 24 children (not sure how many siblings attend so perhaps fewer than 24 families) is totally unwise. We could lease buses perhaps… don’t know if that would be cheaper but I had heard that RA bought buses driven by ‘needs’ of the LH after-care program and contracted drivers at some expense.

            EVERYONE needs to be aware that the new RA board is trying to promote a new mindset in order to avoid negative impacts like Tetra and other RA ‘projects’ gone awry. The new mantra should be: We do it right and we do it well, no matter how long it takes. Our members expect as much. This is members’ money we are spending. Working groups such as Hook Rd, Pony Barn or Tetra may not understand it now due incomplete past info and new reform realities but they will. They will come to understand and appreciate that it’s important and ideal for all when RA gets it right.

            The current RA Board is taking hits for the sins of past boards and will need time themselves to realize that most ‘instant’ spending decisions are not wise. The Staff is also accustomed to expensive former MO’s and is carrying on as usual despite efforts to reel in SOP expenditures.

            It takes a couple of years to unwind processes and decisions that are negatively impacting RA’s finances. No one formula will make everyone happy. Please, those of you concerned about RA turning over LH to corporations: that is not going to happen. But opportunities for usage and rentals is too impacted by after-care which completes with other childcare businesses and is too highly subsidized by ALL RA members for the benefit of just a few.

          • Donald

            Ms. Petrine,

            The board made an egregious decision, without any thought for families who made significant personal commitments. They expected the RA to live up to its commitments.

            Why is the Board is silent on the matter?

            Donald

    • Restonisnotforfamilies

      What are camps and Nature House programs are they not childcare?

    • Fact

      white is one of the biggest ambulance chasers in town

  • SMH

    This board does not cater to all members. Why does there have to be a discussion and a vote on if the Pony Barn should be handicap accessible? RA facilities should be accessible to all members. I’m unsure why this is even an issue. The board is putting out a message that if you are handicapped or have a young family, you are not welcome in Reston. However we’ll take your annual assessment to better Reston for the rest of us. I hope none of them (the board) needs a wheel chair in the future and want to spend time at Pony Barn, because it may not be accessible to you. Isn’t there a law against this?

    • I just want to clarify – we unanimously agreed that the Pony Barn must be accessible. It was a no-brainer for us. The only question is how best to situate the ramp to make it effective for those who need it.

      • SHM

        Why was this ever an issue for discussion in the 1st place or up for a vote? Why are other options that include the pricing without the accessibility even presented on the slides and in the materials presented? As a person reviewing this information it’s disturbing

        • As part of our new process, we have directed Staff to break down projects into functional expense groups. Rather than present a lump sum for a project, with all sorts of items shoved into that one line item, we want to see what each functional element of the project costs. For the Pony Barn, that meant three things: the pavilion itself, the ramp, and the playground.

          From my perspective, there was never a doubt that we were going to approve the ramp. We just want transparency on the costs, so everyone understands what we’re paying for.

          • Donald

            Poorly handled as a board Eric. Your group is too focused on “fixing” when it should be focused on Reston’s future. Stop micromanaging the staff and do your jobs as board members.

            Donald

          • “Donald,” I will consider your advice when you tell me your real name, and we can sit down and chat over a cup of coffee.

          • Greg

            “Donald” tells you twice on every post he makes.

          • John Farrell

            Cheap shot, Donald!

            If this kind of review had been done regarding the Tetra renovations, lots of costs could have been avoided.

          • Donald

            I’ll take that hit Mr. Farrell. But, I still feel this board has done as much to confuse this Community as the prior boards. I don’t see any improvement, whatsoever.

            Same old, same old.

            Donald

          • John Farrell

            You need to get on the e-mail list to receive the Board packages and then watch the Board meetings on Youtube. This Board is much more involve in the nuts and bolts than prior Boards and this organization really needs that level of involvement.

          • Donald

            Actually, I do.

            Donald

          • John Farrell

            Then your criticisms make no sense since I’m reading and watching the same things and find your opinions unfounded in the main.

          • Donald

            Fair enough, your opinion. But, I’m watching, attending meetings when I can, and reviewing packets, etc. My feelings have not changed. This board is behaving no different from prior boards. And the committees have been forced to take a back seat.

            Donald

          • MCallaghan

            Donald,

            Why didn’t you run for the open board seat? You read the packets. You watch and attend meetings. You seem to have the time and have strong ideas on how to improve things. Why didn’t you run?

      • Cindy

        Mr. Carr will you and/or other board members be willing to sit down and have coffee with the parents that have lost child care? You can let us know why our letters weren’t read before the vote, why we can’t finish the school year, why the program just can’t moved to a new location like the chapel that doesn’t seemed to be being used during the day, what’s the difference between child care in camp and this program, what’s going to happen to the staff, why was the program started if you knew you were going to close it mid year and leave parents stranded, etc? We already know one of you is off work by 3 and we can meet at the Lake House during parent pick up. Please let us know which day would work for you. Thank you

        • I am happy to meet with anyone on any RA issue, so certainly. I can’t speak for any other board member, though. I don’t get home until 6:30 most days, though, so I couldn’t meet at the Lake House.

          A couple of thoughts in reply to your note. First, I did read each letter that was sent to us before the meeting. I can’t attest that every board member did the same, but I can tell you that I did.

          Second, this board did not “start” the afterschool program. Staff did last year, before the election. I cannot speak to the decisionmaking process that took place at that time. This current board decided that it was not the best use of RA’s facility and, more broadly, that RA should not (and should not have been) in the afterschool care business.

          • Cindy

            I know most board meetings start at around 6:30PM if I’m not mistaken and after care closes at 6:30. Can you make time in your work schedule to meet with us at the Lake House at 6:00PM one day or at 6:30PM? This way all parents can be there. I think it was of poor taste that parents were sent a letter instead of coming over to speak with the parents. Then our letters were not even read at the meeting as stated in the letter. I’m aware that the program was started last year, but why did you allow it to open again this year instead of voting it down before September or warning members that it may close mid year, this way parents were informed? If you could sent a formal letter to the parents stating the day you’re available, that would be wonderful. Maybe the board member that gets off at 3PM could meet also. Thank you so much for being willing to meet with us. Have a great day and we look forward to meeting with you Mr. Carr

          • Cindy, I can’t speak for other board members and I do not have access to the names and addresses of the parents, only staff does. But please reach out to me directly ([email protected]) and we can find a day to chat.

          • Donald

            What do you consider the Reston Camps to be? Are they childcare as well?

            If you cancel one, cancel them all.

            Donald

          • Reston Now

            Approve.

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    • MCallaghan

      The discussion was how to make it accessible AND cost
      effective. I attended this meeting and
      pointed out that even if the pavillion were accessible, the spacing of
      the internal posts (add people and tables) would make it a challenge to
      maneuver in a wheelchair. How about giving thought to a cost-effective design that
      places a pavilion at the lower level/lower elevation next to the parking lot and place the playground at the higher
      level? Why are we beholden to retaining this structure and its it
      financially worth it?

  • John Farrell

    I’m curious: how many of the 25 families live south of Baron Cameron and how many live south of the Toll Road?

    • Cindy

      As a parent I think more than half of us live “south” of those areas. I’m sure RA can give you the exact number

  • Donald

    This Board is causing me great concern. Draconian cuts, with no eye for the future. Zero innovative thought process.

    Donald

  • Restonisnotforfamilies

    For those that insist Reston Association should not “be in the child care business” do you suggest we stop all camps ( we’ve been doing those 40yrs), end youth nature programs at the nature house, stop all programs such as the sign language and fishing classes for children? Those are just a few of the many “child care” programs the association offers. Wasn’t Mr. Simon a strong supporter of these programs? Isn’t this in his bio and why he started camps? Isn’t this in the description of what Reston has to offer and how it stands out from other communities making it desirable to families? Should we shut down the child care center named after Mr. Simon as well. Reston I s supposed to be a community for families, yet its turning into a community for only the select few

    • Amy Sue

      Why are all of Ray Wedell’s comments “awaiting moderation”? I’ve never seen any of the many hateful and racist comments often posted on this board “awaiting moderation.”

      • Restonisnotforfamilies

        I’m unsure why they are “awaiting moderation”. I don’t control the comments section and have no control of that. I how ever have never posted a hateful or racist comment

    • Rational Reston

      I think there’s a clear difference between the summer camps that RA runs and this particular case. There are businesses in the area that do similar activities to what was going on at the Lake House.

      You’re right about the issue about being for a select few. Be wary of people that hide behind “Mr Simon’s vision” touting ideas however.

      • Restonisnotforfamilies

        There are business in the local area like RCC that also have camp, activities for seniors, trips and tours, swim classes, and a host of other events, but we are not canceling those. Should we cancel camps, how about all the trips Reston does? Maybe we should cancel swim lessons and all the 55+ activities because RCC, Fairfax County, and the YMCA has those activities. You can’t pick and choose. My issue isn’t the closing of the program, my issue is why close it mid year leaving families without childcare? Why not let it finish the school year? I’m sure there are other RA facilities that are empty during this time that they can use to finish the school year and not leave parents without care and staff without ample time to find new jobs.

  • MJSouth

    There appear to be so many restrictions on use of the facility as to render the aspect of break even a moot point. In addition, the after school program is still young and perhaps better marketing might narrow the gap. In time, it might even be the place to go! Simply business investment sense. Things take time. In addition, the summer camps are day care in reality. Is that the business of RA?

  • Lauren

    The buses are also used by the board of directors, tours, 55+ programs, and other activities held by RA. So, there should be no children or senior activities in Reston? “Not Cradle to Grave”, so lets get rid of parks, camps, every single one of the 55+ programs and organizations, school nature actives, events that cater to children, etc? Is this what you’re saying? Why should I see seniors riding on buses around Reston participating in activities funded by me? Why should they use the Lake House (seniors) almost daily for their exercise classes when we have to pay for staff, insurance, and utilities while the old people are there? We are a non profit that is supposed to cater to all members. I don’t use tennis courts yet I pay for them. I don’t live on a lake yet I pay to keep it up for the few that do. Also, the cost is $10,000 a year, because the program isn’t a year old. How much does it cost and do we loose on pools, tennis courts, and the cost of the pony barn? What about the cost to keep up the open space and ball fields? I’m sure it’s over $10,000 a year

    • Donald

      Lauren, you’re spot on. Reston is a planned community for a reason. The services you mention are what the community expects. It’s what I expected whenever moved here over 30 years ago.

      The board is NOT responsible for generating PROFITS. It is responsible for

      interpret, administer, and enforce the protective covenants and restrictions of this Deed in such a manner as to conserve, protect, and enhance the value of all real property subject to the Deed;
      for the benefit of the Members, to acquire, own, sell, mortgage, convey, encumber, and lease property, real or personal, and to improve, administer, and maintain such property in neat and good order; provided, however, that the recreational facilities of the Association and other Common Area shall be intended for the use and benefit, primarily, of the Members, provided further, however, that the Board and the Association may allow the use of the recreational facilities by non-Members;
      assess, collect, and disburse the Assessments and charges authorized by this Deed;
      promote the peace, health, comfort, safety, and general welfare of the Members;
      do any and all lawful things and acts that it, in its discretion, may deem to be for the benefit of the Property and the Owners and inhabitants thereof; and
      exercise the powers now or hereafter conferred by law on Virginia nonstock corporations as may be necessary or desirable to accomplish the purposes set forth above.

      • MCallaghan

        Donald,

        Why didn’t you run for the open board seat? You read the packets. You watch and attend meetings. You seem to have the time and have strong ideas on how to improve things. Why didn’t you run?

  • Mike Heffner

    Well, since we got word that the program is scheduled to shut down on Dec 15th… My basic problem is this. We used Fit Kids last year. It was obvious that attendance needed to grow – and it has this year. We signed up for the whole year in August, with the implicit assumption that the program would actually run the entire school year.

    Between August and October, suddenly “OMG, there’s a budget problem, emergency, must do SOMETHING!” This should have been addressed before Fit Kids was even offered for a second year. Now we all have to make other afterschool arrangements midyear. Sure, first world problems, but this seems to be a completely avoidable one, no thanks to our RA.

    • Donald

      Go to the board directly. This was their decision.

      Donald

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