Reston, VA

A recent engineering report has flagged several safety issues with Lake Thoreau pool — including cracks in the pool’s retaining wall —  prompting the Reston Association to once again reconsider the future of the nearly 40-year-old facility.

An Oct. 23 report by engineering firm Terracon found that two sections of the pool’s retaining wall were below minimum safety standards. The firm recommended that RA replace or remediate the pool’s existing timber retaining wall — a move that would likely impact the existing pool deck or shell during demolition and reconstruction efforts.

The report — which echoes similar findings by Dewberry Consultants in 2017 — also notes that the retaining wall has “slightly rotated/creeped down” towards Lake Thoreau. Cracks were also found in the pool shell and concrete deck. Dewberry, which was contracted by RA to complete a preliminary engineering assessment three years ago, recommended that RA replace the retaining wall within one to two years, noting that the pool structure “appears sound enough to restore for additional long-term service.”

At a meeting last week, RA staff suggested reimagine the future of the pool, especially given that the cost of replacing the retaining wall may be too burdensome.

“Do we look at this as the opportunity to do something perhaps more interesting and this is obviously working with the community and so forth,” said Larry Butler, RA’s Chief Operating Officer.

The pool — which staff said does not meet Fairfax County safety guidelines — may be closed for the 2020 season, according to RA.

“Generally speaking, it should not be occupied,” said Chris Schumaker, RA’s senior capital projects operations manager.

In the event the pool is closed next year, RA Board Director Julie Bitzer encouraged the corporation to accommodate members by extending hours at other community pools.

The conversation — which will include community engagement — is in its early stages and no plans have been formally proposed. In recent months, members urged RA’s board to keep the pool– which they described as a community asset and a major attraction for area neighborhoods — open.

Currently, the cost of replacing the retaining wall is unknown.

Photo via vantagehill

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