Lake Anne beautification project hits impasse

Lake Anne Plaza during the Reston Multicultural Festival in 2021 (Staff photo by David Taube)

(Updated on Feb. 2) A communitywide effort seeking to revitalize Lake Anne Plaza appears to no longer be viable.

Community partners and property owners at Lake Anne Plaza were looking to provide donations as part of a $250,000 proposal envisioned to help revitalize the area.

Cofounders of the Herndon-based Gupta Family Foundation, which provides assistance to programs across the world to help address poverty, disabilities and discrimination, were looking to donate $25,000, and other Lake Anne of Reston Condominium Association property owners like them had agreed to donate $45,000, Margaret and Shashi Gupta said. The Reston Community Center also was looking to contribute $50,000, according to a presentation.

The foundation’s cofounders said they had been trying to work with the Lake Anne of Reston Condominium Association.

“We thought if we could get community backing it would lift up the community’s spirits,” Shashi Gupta said, recalling property owners’ enthusiastic support of the proposal.

The effort was dubbed the Lake Anne Rising Program, a proposal that hinged on several community partners donating money and the LARCA board determining if the association could accept the upgrades to its property.

Margaret Gupta said in an email that the LARCA board has continued to raise objections, though, and has now reneged on a proposed agreement that had been reached between attorneys.

But property owner May Faruqi said in an email that the association’s legal counsel has denied that there was any agreement between the parties’ lawyers.

LARCA President George Hadjikyriakou didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment. He later wrote that the LARCA board agreed that any response or statements about “this or any other subjects intended for the press” will need to come from our legal counsel.

Shashi Gupta told fellow LARCA owners in an email Monday that the LARCA board “has thwarted” the plan negotiated in early December by creating new requirements on the project and “essentially killing it.” He told RestonNow that LARCA sought to revise a proposed contract, significantly modifying it with markups.

A proposed agreement included the Reston Historic Trust (a nonprofit that operates the Reston Museum) as a party and stated the project would include upgrades to ultimately be owned by LARCA. An edited proposal suggested the association wanted the Reston Historic Trust to have multi-million dollar insurance coverages.

A statement released Tuesday night stated the following:

The Lake Anne of Reston Condominium Association Board is committed to acting consistent with the authority given to it by its condominium instruments and is further committed to protecting the interests of its owners while maintaining the LARCA Condominium property.  The LARCA Board shares the community’s disappointment that the Gupta Family Foundation has, in light of LARCA‘s commitments, felt it necessary to discontinue discussions over the proposed Plaza project.

Patch reported in December that the Guptas presented details on the project on Nov. 18 at the Reston Community Center, noting it would involve filling and cleaning planters in the plaza, restoring the Pyramid Park sculpture as well as the Fonseca Monolith, and more.

The effort came as the plaza has an estimated $37 million in repairs needed to the aging area. Fairfax County could still assist $300,000.

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