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Reston Association to Continue Discussions on Recreational Facilities’ Cost and Usage

As the mid-year point before next year’s budget cycle approaches, Reston Association’s Board of Directors and staff will discuss how to approach a comprehensive analysis of RA’s recreational facilities.

The analysis, requested by Director Julie Bitzer in March, would be the first comprehensive examination of RA’s recreational facilities in 13 years.

Larry Butler, acting CEO and senior director of land use and planning, said the last study was done in 2005 and examined issues like cost utilization trends, usage, maintenance, repairs and suggested upgrades.

Staff recommended hiring a consultant to complete the study due to limited staff resources over the next two-to-three months and ongoing summer projects like the Hook Road working group and the lakes, docks and boats working group.

The board will hold a work session on June 5 to discuss the scope of the analysis, whether a consultant is needed to complete it and better define the goals and scope of the work.

Other recreation-related decisions may be more pressing.

Board members suggested a timely decision on the future of Lake Thoreau pool, which Director Sherri Hebert said was “falling into the lake,” was necessary. Hebert said an expenditure of $1 million is estimated to bring the aging pool up to go code. No decision on the future of that pool has been reached.

The longterm examination will guide the board’s budget decisions on replacement, repairs and upgrades to facilities.

Photo by Mike Collins

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RA To Look At Indoor Tennis, Other Community Recreation Needs

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

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