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by RestonNow.com October 17, 2017 at 2:45 pm 96 Comments

This letter was submitted by Reston resident Alexandra Kenny South. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now. We publish article and opinion contributions of specific interest to the Reston community. Contributions may be edited for length or content.

As a working parent with young children enrolled in Reston Association’s Fit Kids After-School Program, I was deeply dismayed by the Reston Association Board of Directors’ recent decision to end the program mid-school year. I followed with interest the discussion at the Board meeting as well as the Reston Now reporting on the ruling and the comments posted online. I thought I would provide my perspective on the matter as one of the families directly affected.

I have two children who attend Reston Association’s Fit Kids After-School Program, ages 8 (3rd grade) and 5 (kindergarten). They ride the bus to the Lake House from Lake Anne Elementary School every afternoon, where they spend the next few hours engrossed in experiential learning activities, homework help, outdoor play and creative arts. Dan Merenick, Katherine Caffrey and the rest of the Fit Kids staff bring a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the RA Fit Kids Program, and perhaps most importantly, my husband and I know as working parents that we can trust them 1,000 percent to take excellent care of our children.

We were taken aback to hear the Board’s Hunters Woods/Dogwood District representative, Victoria White, state that, “Quite frankly, we’re a homeowners’ association. We’re not a child-care provider.” Reston Association has, in fact, long been a child-care provider, offering a wide range of summer and other school holiday educational programming which we and many other Reston families have benefitted from. The Fit Kids Program is an extension of the programming that the Reston Association has offered for years, and it is a lifeline for us as parents with two small children and two full-time demanding jobs that require a lengthy commute. It has been especially vital to us on the many days during the school year that are teacher workdays/student holidays, for which we would otherwise have to take leave. With the program now being discontinued midway through the school year (Dec. 15, we’ve since been told), we will be left high and dry, as public school-based after-care programs (SACC), which have similar costs, carry a very long waiting list, and spots at other private after-school care providers are few and far between, particularly in the middle of an existing school year. The decision obviously impacts the Fit Kids staff as well, many of whom gave up other afterschool positions to work at RA.

I understand, of course, the need to look at the bottom line when considering which programs to continue or not, particularly when the Lake House renovation costs were not budgeted appropriately from the start, leading to an overall loss in revenue over time. However, it’s not clear to me how RA envisions bringing in greater revenue by eliminating the Fit Kids Program at the Lake House. I would expect that any increase in revenue through special events, such as weddings, office parties, and the like, would be gained outside of the Program’s working hours (3:30-6:30 p.m. on weekdays). On the rare occasion that the Lake House was reserved during those hours, perhaps the Fit Kids Program could be moved to Brown’s Chapel or elsewhere to accommodate it.

On a more personal note, I grew up in Reston and I moved back here in 2011 in large part because I wanted my kids to experience the sense of community that RA contributes to. It saddens and disappoints me greatly that the RA Board cut such a valuable resource to our family because they don’t believe that other Restonians care to pay an additional $6-7 per household per year – paltry in comparison to the sums paid to the Reston Association for other goods and services, including use of recreational facilities. There must be another way to boost revenue that does not harm the many children that are gaining so much through their participation in RA’s Fit Kids Program.

Sincerely,
Alexandra Kenny South

by RestonNow.com October 13, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

Beautiful homes around the community will be on display Saturday during the 16th annual Reston Home Tour.

The tour “focuses on six homes whose owners have moved in within the last few years and whose homes have given them a new perspective on their life, their surroundings and in some cases their attitudes.” The homes on the tour include residences on Bromley Village Lane, Hemingway Drive, Orchard Lane, South Shore Road and Spyglass Cove Lane, as well as at the Stratford condominiums. In addition, Reston Association’s Lake House and Bozzuto’s Aperture apartment building will be open for tour.

Tickets remain available online today for $30. On the day of the event, they can only be purchased in person at any of the homes on the tour or at the Reston Museum and Historic Trust (1639 Washington Plaza N.). All proceeds from the event benefit the Reston Historic Trust and Museum, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the past, informing the present and influencing the future of Reston through its educational programming, archives and exhibitions.

There is plenty else scheduled to take place this weekend in the area as well. Take a look at our list below.

(Editor’s Note: This is just a limited list of all the events taking place in the Reston area this weekend. If you have an event you would like to ensure is listed on the website, be sure to submit it to our Events Calendar.)

  • A trail of illuminated hand-carved pumpkins is welcoming visitors to “THE GLOW: A Jack O’Lantern Experience,” now through Oct. 29 at Lake Fairfax Park (1400 Lake Fairfax Drive). Presented by Townsquare Live Events, the “enchanting Halloween wonderland” features a third-of-a-mile trail decorated with more than 5,000 pumpkins. Tickets, which are $16 for kids ages 3-12 and $22 for adults, are available online and must be purchased in advance.
  • Frying Pan Farm Park (2709 W. Ox Road, Herndon) will put on its Fall on the Farm festival this weekend. The event is scheduled for 5-9 p.m. tonight, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. In addition, Farm Harvest Days are slated for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
  • The Children’s Fall Flea Market at Reston Community Center is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 14 at RCC Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road). The price of admission is donation of one non-perishable food item, which will go to the RCC Thanksgiving Food Drive.
  • In celebration of Fire Prevention Week, all Fairfax County Fire and Rescue stations will be hosting an open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Citizens are invited to meet firefighters, see the fire trucks, join in the activities and learn about fire safety. Local stations include Reston (1820 Wiehle Ave.), North Point (1117 Reston Ave.), Herndon (680 Spring St.) and Fox Mill (2610 Reston Parkway).
  • Lake Anne Brew House will hold a fundraiser for the South Lakes High School band, which is raising money to travel to Pearl Harbor, from 7-9 p.m. tonight. The Brew House will donate $1 per pint or soda purchased to the band.
  • The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s “Light the Night” Walk will take place tonight at Reston Town Center. Event festivities will start at 5 p.m., with the 1.5-mile walk to go off at 7.
  • The Runway to the Cure Fashion Show is scheduled for Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon at the Reston Town Center pavilion. Hosted by Scout & Molly’s, RTC and Athleta, the fashion show will highlight many designer fashions. Models are volunteers and include breast cancer survivors, customers and local high school students. Suggested donation is $25. All proceeds will benefit Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
  • Sue Wrbican: Well Past the Echo” will be on view at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.) through Nov. 18.
  • During “Giraffe-toberfest,” celebrate fall with animals at Roer’s Zoofari (1228 Hunter Mill Road) on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors can meet the zoo’s giraffe “Waffles.” Tickets are $20 and all proceeds will support giraffe conservation.
  • The Reston Farmers Market will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Lake Anne Village Center.
  • Reston Association will hold an open house at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Ave.) from 10-11:30 a.m. Sunday.
  • Author Karen See will discuss her book, “The Should Syndrome,” from 4-6 p.m. Sunday at Scrawl Books (11862 Market St.).
  • Many restaurants and bars in Reston will have live music this weekend. These include Crafthouse (1888 Explorer St.) every Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; and Tavern64 (1800 Presidents St.) every Friday from 6-10 p.m; and Kalypso’s Sports Tavern (1617 Washington Plaza N.) every Saturday from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

by Fatimah Waseem October 6, 2017 at 1:30 pm 24 Comments

In an effort to acquaint newcomers with the area’s history and hidden gems, Reston Association is offering free bus tours to residents who have moved to the community within the last six months.

During the tour, which will take place on Saturday, Oct. 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., residents will see the Walker Nature Center, Lake Anne Plaza and Reston’s four districts, as well as learning about services provided by RA.

The tour will begin and end at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Ave.). Lunch will be served from 1-2 p.m. there. RA Board members, staff and committee members will be available to answer questions and meet with tour participants.

This year, RA departed from its tradition of holding open houses for newcomers at its main center. The bus tour allows residents to experience Reston in a dynamic way that reveals the area’s hidden gems beyond widely known attractions like Reston Town Center, according to Mike Leone, RA’s director of communications and community engagement.

“People know the main locations but there’s lot of hidden jewels and hidden history,” he said. “We want the community to know more about Bob Simon’s founding principles as well.”

As of Thursday, 17 seats are available for the 40-member bus tour, Leone said.

Bus participants will visit major sights and services like RA’s main facilities, the Reston Farmers Market and the Reston Museum. Ann Delaney from Public Art Reston will give a presentation on the importance of public art in the area.

“It’s kind of like a neighbor-to-neighbor social from start to finish,” Leone said.

To register for the free tour online, visit RA’s website.

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.

by Dave Emke September 18, 2017 at 4:00 pm 13 Comments

During a special Monday afternoon session (video), the Reston Association Board of Directors voted to guide staff toward using operating reserves to pay off the remaining $2.4 million on the Lake House loan as the 2018 budget is compiled.

Sridhar Ganesan, treasurer and At-Large member, shared information with directors about what he says is a “low-risk” option that would benefit members. CEO Cate Fulkerson said staff “strongly desires” the loan be paid off this year using the reserves.

“These are things we should consider as a Board, but my own perspective is [that] if we cannot put the money to work in other areas, [then] this is like returning money back to the shareholders,” Ganesan said.

Ganesan said RA’s operating reserves have never fallen below $4 million, and that they peak at around $12 million each year as assessments are collected. Given this information, he said, there is little concern associated with funds being taken from the account and used to pay off the loan now.

Ganesan had earlier shared this information with members during a community budget workshop last week. Taking care of the loan would reduce the assessment rate by $8.66 in 2018.

Director Julie Bitzer (South Lakes District) asked whether Ganesan and staff had considered making the payoff in multiple stages instead of all at once, if the Board is “nervous” about taking so much from reserves. Ganesan said he believes there is no reason to be uncomfortable about taking the money from reserves in one lump sum.

“You have enough cashflow coming in [from assessments] in order to meet the expenses in case there is [any] problem,” he said. “[Even if] on March 1, only 50 percent of members have paid their assessments — that’s a real problem, that’s a crisis. But even then, we have collected 50 percent of assessments; that’s $7.5 million.”

(more…)

by Dave Emke September 15, 2017 at 2:45 pm 106 Comments

(This article was updated at 6 p.m. to clarify information about interest payments on the loan.)

Speaking to members during a community budget meeting Thursday night, Reston Association’s treasurer made the argument for why the $2.4 million that remains on the Lake House loan should be paid as soon as possible.

Sridhar Ganesan explained to the small crowd at Reston Association headquarters that excess money is available in RA’s operating reserves that may be best used by taking care of the loan once and for all.

“I think the risk is pretty low [and] from a cash-flow perspective, I’m pretty comfortable [paying the loan off],” he said.

If the loan continues to be paid off through 2025, as is currently scheduled, Reston Association will be making payments of about $182,000 each year. In addition, there will be a $1.57 million balloon payment due at the end of the payments. Ganesan said interest rates are likely to increase between now and then as well, and refinancing costs would apply if RA decides to go that route.

Ganesan said that as Reston Association’s operating reserves have never fallen below $4 million — and peak at around $12 million each year as assessments are collected — funds are available to be taken from the account and used to pay off the loan now. Ganesan said interest on the loan collects at about $80,000 per year, while the idle operating reserves only gain about $59,000 in 2016.

Monthly operating spending for RA is about $1.25 million, Ganesan said.

“So the question is, what do we do? … Should we use that [reserve] money, that idle money, to pay off the loan?” Ganesan asked. “This is a question that we need to address, and we’d love to get comments from the public as well.”

Paying off the loan would result in RA’s projected 2018 member assessment rate decreasing by $8.66 per household, Ganesan said, and future assessment rates would benefit from having the loan off the books. The 2018 assessment was projected in the budget’s first draft at $678.

“It [would be] a use of money to pay back the members for the next 10 years,” he said.

Ganesan was asked whether he would have suggested paying for the Lake House property in full from reserve funding at the time of acquisition rather than borrowing the money. He said, if he were comfortable with the investment and the price was right, that “absolutely” would have been his suggestion.

The Lake House is projected to bring in about $143,000 in 2017, well below the $300,000 estimate that was in the budget. Ganesan said its budget projection for 2018 is $230,000 — with about $340,000 in expenses. He said RA is considering changing the way the Lake House operates in order to begin closing that gap, including possible expansion of operating hours and changing to an all-rental model (as opposed to offering programming there).

“Rentals tend to fetch a lot more money than programming,” he said. “So, should we just go to an all-rental model … in order to make sure we make as much money as we can, in order to make sure we get a payback from the investment?”

No decisions on the budget have yet been made.

The RA Board will have a special budget meeting, open to the public, Monday from noon-5 p.m. Members will also have an opportunity to discuss the budget with the Board of Directors at the Oct. 15 Lake House open house. Public hearings on the final draft of the budget will take place Oct. 26 and Oct. 30, and it is due to be finalized at the Board’s Nov. 16 meeting.

Thursday’s community meeting was recorded by Reston Association staff and will be made available on its YouTube channel soon.

by Dave Emke September 13, 2017 at 1:45 pm 4 Comments

Tickets are now on sale for the 16th annual Reston Home Tour, slated for Saturday, Oct. 14.

According to information provided by tour organizer Reston Historic Trust and Museum, the tour “focuses on six homes whose owners have moved in within the last few years and whose homes have given them a new perspective on their life, their surroundings and in some cases their attitudes.”

The homes on the tour include residences on Bromley Village Lane, Hemingway Drive, Orchard Lane, South Shore Road and Spyglass Cove Lane, as well as at the Stratford condominiums. In addition, Reston Association’s Lake House and Bozzuto’s Aperture apartment building will be open for tour.

Tickets can be purchased for $25 through Oct. 7, after which the price will increase to $30. Group-rate tickets are available in blocks of 10 or more for $20 each. They can be bought online or at a number of area locations including:

  • Reston Museum (1639 Washington Plaza N.)
  • Chesapeake Chocolates (11426 Washington Plaza W.)
  • Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.)
  • Appalachian Spring (11877 Market St.)
  • The Wine Cabinet (1416 North Point Village Center)

All proceeds from the event benefit the Reston Historic Trust and Museum, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the past, informing the present and influencing the future of Reston through its educational programming, archives and exhibitions.

For more information about the event, contact the Reston Historic Trust and Museum at [email protected] or 703-709-7700.

Images courtesy Reston Historic Trust and Museum

by RestonNow.com September 8, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

It will be another busy weekend in the Reston/Herndon area.

Among the highlights will be the 34th annual Reston Triathlon, which will start at 7 a.m. Sunday at Lake Audubon. Those taking part will swim 1,500 meters in Lake Audubon, bike 40 kilometers on area roadways and run 10 kilometers on Reston pathways, ending at the South Lakes High School stadium.

Some traffic in South Reston will be affected by the event. Take note of the attached map of which roads will have bike traffic during the event, which is scheduled to last until about 11 a.m.

Volunteers are still needed for the event, as well.

Even if you aren’t taking part in the triathlon, though, there is plenty else to do around the area this weekend too. Listed below are some other events that you can enjoy.

(Editor’s Note: This is just a limited list of all the events taking place in the Reston area this weekend. If you have an event you would like to ensure is listed on the website, be sure to submit it to our Events Calendar.)

  • The JamBrew series continues tonight in Herndon. Aslin Beer Co. will be pouring frosty mugs, Weird Brothers Coffee will be offering tasty drinks, Nordic Knot Pretzels will provide tasty snacks, and there will be much more. Live music will be offered from MK Skillz, Shane Gamble and Burn the Ballroom. The free event is slated for 6-10 p.m. at the Herndon Town Green (777 Lynn St.).
  • North Point Village Center will celebrate the arrival of fall Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a Fall Kick-Off event. Washington Redskins great and former All-Pro defensive end Dexter Manley will meet fans at Glory Days Grill (1400 North Point Village Center) from noon to 2 p.m., while the event will also feature carnival games, roaming characters for kids, a DJ playing music, a moon bounce and more.
  • DogFest Walk ‘n Roll, a charity event to benefit Canine Companions for Independence, will be at Reston Town Center on Sunday. Admission and parking are free.
  • The next exhibition at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.), featuring the work of D.C.-based artist Sue Wrbican, opens Saturday with a free public reception Saturday from 5-7 p.m. at the gallery. “Sue Wrbican: Well Past the Echo” will be on view through Nov. 18.
  • The Reston Farmers Market will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Lake Anne Village Center.
  • Lake Anne is also hosting Sunday Yoga on the Plaza each week, at 9:30 a.m.
  • There will be a ChalkFest workshop Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Reston Town Center (11900 Market St.). The free event will be hosted by Public Art Reston.
  • Pulitzer Prize-winner display “Disgraced,” exploring Muslim assimilation and identity in America, will be performed at NextStop Theatre Company (269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon) tonight at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 7 p.m.; and at a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee. Tickets range in price from $17.50 to $55.
  • The Water Mine (1400 Lake Fairfax Drive) will “go to the dogs” Sunday for its annual Dog Daze event. Suggested donation is $10 per dog. In addition to the doggie splashing, there will be a canine resource fair, door prizes, demonstrations and more.
  • The Herndon Garden Tour, slated for Sunday, will feature five private gardens, as well as the Monarch butterfly waystation at Runnymede Park. Painting demos, garden music and more will also be offered. Gardeners will be on hand during the self-guided tour to discuss their gardens and answer questions. Cost is $15; children 12 and under can participate for free.
  • An open house at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Drive) is planned for 10 a.m. to noon Sunday.
  • At Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive), the movie “Musicals” will be shown from 2-4 p.m. Saturday.
  • United Christian Parish (11508 North Shore Drive) will host a panel of community and faith leaders on Sunday at 2 p.m. for what it is calling a “post-Charlottesville town hall.” According to information provided by the church, residents are invited to take part in the “[discussion of] bigotry and unconscious bias as we seek to work together to heal the wounds.”
  • Many restaurants and bars in Reston will have live music this weekend. These include: Vinifera Wine Bar and Bistro (11750 Sunrise Valley Drive) from 7-10 p.m every Friday and Saturday night; Crafthouse (1888 Explorer St.) every Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; and Tavern64 (1800 Presidents St.) every Friday from 6-10 p.m.
  • Kalypso’s Sports Tavern (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will have live music from Catchin’ Toads tonight from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; and DJ Kram will play Top 40 hits during those hours Saturday night.

by Dave Emke August 15, 2017 at 2:45 pm 12 Comments

The search for savings by Reston Association staff has resulted in a $678 proposed assessment rate for 2018.

The figure was discussed during a budget workshop session with the RA Board of Directors on Monday (video/PowerPoint presentation). That number would be a decrease of $42 (5.83 percent) from the 2017 assessment level of $720, which was reduced to $692 using surplus cash.

One of the major factors that influenced the budget development, allowing for the decrease in the proposed rate, is the additional assessment revenue that will be provided by 429 new units at the Sunrise Square and VY developments.

That assessment rate will likely change, though, before the Board finalizes the 2018 operations budget, projected at $14.3 million. The Board has been asked to consider numerous staff and member suggestions which could affect the budget.

One big way it could change depends upon whether the Board decides to pay off the loan on the Lake House. If it does so — at a cost of $182,797 — there will be a reduction of $8.66 in the 2018 assessment rate as a result of no longer making payments.

“Essentially, we’ll be using up our cash to pay off the loan,” Sridhar. “In the corporate world, you give it back to the shareholders, which in this case is the members.”

The 2018 budget currently on the table has the Lake House being maintained on the status quo, through programming and rentals while making payments on the loan. That would result in a net loss of more than $190,000, according to the projection. Other options on the table include continuing status quo for six months and then moving to only rentals, or to use the facility for rentals only. With those latter options, along with paying off the loan, the Lake House is projected to represent a net profit in the 2018 budget.

CEO Cate Fulkerson said staff “highly recommends” the Board pay off the loan at the end of this year.

“I am looking forward to that conversation, because I think that there is a lot of area where the Board can make a positive impact on the community, both financially and through programming,” said Sherri Hebert, Board president.

In addition to bringing in in-house legal support, the cost of which Fulkerson said would be canceled out by the savings from reducing outside legal services, the Board is also being asked to consider other staffing additions.

Anna Varone, director of covenants administration, asked the Board to consider adding a post-DRB project approval inspector. This position is estimated to add $55,885 (salary and benefits) to the budget, with a $2.65 impact on the assessment.

“We’ve been challenged by having projects that have been approved by the DRB and not having someone that’s been able to go and inspect after the member has installed the project,” Varone said. “We’ve not had the resources to go out and ensure that the member has installed the project correctly.”

Mike McNamara, deputy director of maintenance, said the Board should consider adding two seasonal workers to address litter control. This would cost about $40,000 (salary and supplies), with an impact of $1.93 on the assessment.

At a meeting last week, the Board was presented a potential $2.82 million Capital Projects budget.

A community meeting on the budget development process is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14. The Board will then hold further budget work sessions, along with a joint meeting with Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, on Monday, Sept. 18.

The final drafts of the capital projects and operations budgets are to be presented Sept. 28, with public hearings in October and the approval in November.

by Dave Emke July 28, 2017 at 4:00 pm 26 Comments

Giving his first full report to the Reston Association Board of Directors (video), treasurer and At-Large director Sridhar Ganesan broke down the figures for the first half of 2017.

Among the figures shared by Ganesan was $16.7 million in year-to-date revenue, 86 percent of which ($14.4 million) is from assessments. That number is up from $16.0 million at the same time last year, a change Ganesan attributed to an increased assessment rate from 2016.

One budget item that isn’t bringing in as much money as expected, Ganesan reported, is the Lake House. The facility has brought in about $80,000 as of the end of June, only slightly more than half of what was projected ($150,000).

“As I understand, it’s really because of scheduling conflicts, in terms of programs versus corporate and other rentals,” Ganesan said. “They’re still working through the scheduling issues, but you are going to see this difference flowing throughout the year.”

The Lake House, purchased by RA in 2015 for $2.65 million, is rented out for activities including weddings, corporate functions, retreats, workshops and conferences.

Lake House expenses as of the end of June have been about $126,000, Ganesan said.

“Part of the reason is going to be that a lot of those costs are on a fixed basis, so you really can’t pull them back even if you’re having some revenue challenges,” he said.

RA CEO Cate Fulkerson said programming changes are being considered for next year.

“The current programming hasn’t changed yet [but] we are reflecting some different programming as we go into 2018,” she said. “So there will be some decision points for the Board there, but we’ve adjusted based on our experience in the first six months.”

Later in Thursday’s meeting, a pair of capital projects advanced.

The Board approved the release $1.35 million in remaining project funds for the Central Services Facility renovation, which had been put on hold last year until the controversial Lake House purchase was independently reviewed. In addition, the Board voted to form a Hook Road Recreation Area working group, which will explore ways to enhance the facility within budget constraints set by the Board.

by RestonNow.com May 19, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

The big event this weekend is the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, which will bring tens of thousands to Reston Town Center  beginning tonight. The kickoff party is from 6-9 p.m. tonight; tickets are $50. The event itself is the next two days, with admission a $5 suggested donation for adults. It will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

But there is plenty else going on in the area this weekend too. Here is just a sampling of what’s available to you, your family and friends in the coming days:

  • Reston’s Relay for Life event will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive). The luminaria ceremony is set for 9 p.m. Saturday, with the event to continue through the night and wrap up at 7 a.m. Sunday.
  • The Reston Farmers Market will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Lake Anne Village Center. The Pink Armoire Fashion Truck will be in attendance this week.
  • Lake Anne is also hosting Sunday Yoga on the Plaza each week, at 9:30 a.m.
  • Radcliffe Bailey: The Great Dismal Swamp” remains on display at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.) through August.
  • The Habitat Heroes program seeks volunteers to cut back the large invasive bush honeysuckle that has taken over the field edge at Sunrise Valley Rec Area (10805 Oldfield Drive), Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.
  • There will be a bird walk Sunday from 7:30-10:30 a.m. at Stratton Woods Park. Meet at the Polo Fields Recreation Area.
  • Reston Association will host an open house at The Lake House on Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon.
  • The 18th annual Teachers and Students Exhibit remains on display at the Jo Ann Rose Gallery at Reston Community Center-Lake Anne (1609 Washington Plaza N.) through June 5.
  • Live music at Reston Town Center this weekend will include a performance from 6-10 p.m. tonight at Tavern64 (1800 Presidents St.) and both tonight and Saturday from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. at Crafthouse (1888 Explorer St.).
  • Lucky Dog Animal Rescue will have an adoption event at PetSmart (11860 Spectrum Center) from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday.
  • This week at Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive), Frying Pan Farm Park will visit Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon; and “First Ladies and Scandals in the City” will be presented Saturday from 1-3 p.m.
  • The My Health Matters 5K/1-mile Walk and Free Health Fair is slated for Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at the 505 Building at Herndon Square (505 Huntmar Park Drive).
  • Kalypso’s (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will have live music tonight, 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., from Medicated Sunfish. DJ Kram will play Top 40 hits Saturday night.
  • Vinafera Wine Bar and Bistro (11750 Sunrise Valley Drive) has live music from 7-10 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night.
  • Matt Waller will play at The Tasting Room Wine Bar (1816 Library St.) from 8-11 p.m. Saturday.

by RestonNow.com May 1, 2017 at 10:15 am 23 Comments

Beginning this week, The Lake House (1145o Baron Cameron Ave.) is saying “namaste” to visitors through the efforts of a local yoga studio.

BelovedYoga is renting out the facility overlooking Lake Newport as a venue to offer yoga classes for the community. Classes are available for all ages.

Reston Association members who have never been to BelovedYoga are invited to take a class free during the month of May. A five-class pass can be purchased for $50.

Check out the class schedule on the studio’s website.

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by Dave Emke April 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm 24 Comments

Speaking at Reston Association’s annual Members’ Meeting on Tuesday, CEO Cate Fulkerson said she is looking to capitalize on the opportunities presented by challenges RA has faced in the past year.

“For anyone who knows my leadership style, I’m not one who walks away from a challenge or ignores difficulties,” Fulkerson said as she addressed the audience. “I believe in taking responsibility for errors, correcting them so they do not happen again, and I believe in finding opportunity in difficulty.”

Specifically, the difficulties of which Fulkerson spoke included the controversy surrounding the Tetra/Lake House renovation, concerns about how RA handles conflicts of interest, and the public input process regarding the Lake Newport soccer field proposal. Moving forward, Fulkerson said she understands the importance of building community trust and continuing on the path of leading sustainable change.

Fulkerson said she and her staff have a number of important tasks to complete in order for that to happen. The first, she said, is to establish a solid foundation with the incoming board — based, she said, on mutual respect, reciprocal communications and shared purpose.

The CEO said the StoneTurn Group review of the Tetra/Lake House deal highlighted several ways Reston Association can work toward bettering internal control policies and procedures for project management. She said she is developing a proposal along with RA CFO Robert Wood that includes the conduct of an internal process control and a walk-through review of RA’s purchasing practices, contract processing and capital-project management.

“The goal will be to have a new system in place by August of this year, so we can take the opportunity to invite StoneTurn to audit the Association in 2018 and to make sure the new processes and policies are being followed,” Fulkerson said.

Continuing work to establish a Code of Ethics for Reston Association is also on Fulkerson’s list of tasks, as she said it is of utmost importance as they work to build community trust.

In regard to new development, Fulkerson said Reston National Golf Course, Tall Oaks Village Center and St. John’s Wood are just some examples of “how vitally important it is for Reston Association to keep on track with leading sustainable change by vigilantly monitoring land-use happenings and advocating for trees, trails and thoughtful design.”

Fulkerson said community input is important to all decisions made by Reston Association. She said listening meetings are being planned for May and June in each of Reston’s districts to gather feedback on what matters most to RA members.

“Our interest is to engage you in conversation,” she said. “The timing of these listening meetings goes hand-in-hand with the development of the 2018 and 2019 Capital and Operating budgets.”

In addition to inviting feedback at the upcoming meetings, the CEO encouraged members to fill out request/suggestion forms for the budget.

Full video of Fulkerson’s speech is available through the Reston Association YouTube channel.

by Dave Emke April 10, 2017 at 9:00 am 8 Comments

Herndon Man Dies in Route 7 Crash — Rush Hone Elmore, 69, died Friday after his vehicle was rear-ended near Leesburg. The impact of the crash forced his car off the roadway, where it overturned. He died at Reston Hospital Center. [Leesburg Police Department]

Units Respond to Kitchen Fire in Reston — Firefighters attacked a blaze Sunday afternoon at a home in the 12300 block of Brown Fox Way. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/Twitter]

Plum Campaign Event Set for April 30 — Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax) will kick off his campaign for re-election to the state House of Delegates with a fundraiser at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Ave.). Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is scheduled to be in attendance to show his support. [Del. Ken Plum]

Reston Students Profiled in ‘KidsPost’ — Katie Damon’s second-grade class at Terraset Elementary School voted on their favorite author, singer, sport and more for a profile in this weekend’s Washington Post. The kids also reported what they want to be when they grow up and what superpower they’d like to have. [Washington Post]

Bridge Title Claimed by Herndon Woman — Li Yiting was part of the team that won the Machlin Women’s Swiss Teams event at the Spring North American Bridge Championships last month in Kansas City. This is her third championship win. [Fairfax Times]

by Dave Emke March 24, 2017 at 11:30 am 10 Comments

RA Board of Directors - March 23, 2017

The vote was not unanimous, but the Reston Association Board of Directors decided Thursday to begin working toward a plan of action to adopt the recommendations in StoneTurn Group’s review of the Tetra/Lake House purchase.

Following a public meeting on the issue Monday, it was proposed Thursday that CEO Cate Fulkerson and her staff draft and develop the implementation plan for board consideration at their May meeting. The plan is to take into account the recommendations in StoneTurn’s report as well as all input received from the community at Monday’s meeting, and it is to be designed to have all recommendations ready to be implemented by September.

“It is to share with us what needs to be done, even shifting some of [Fulkerson’s] goals down the road in order to make implementation of the recommendations from StoneTurn an absolute priority,” said Director Michael Sanio, the board’s vice president and a member of RA’s Tetra Review Committee.

The recommendations made by StoneTurn include the drafting of new foundational documents that have an overreaching principle statement to define ethical concerns that may arise during transactions such as the Tetra/Lake House purchase and renovation.

The September deadline was an issue of contention for Director Sherri Hebert, who said the timeline seemed too tight for the amount of work that needs to be done. In addition, she said, the creation of a task force and a community review group should be part of the remediation process.

“[They need to have] an oversight role to make sure that these things are getting done,” she said of the recommendations. “We’re trying to build that trust back with the community, and the community needs to be involved in this implementation.”

Director Ray Wedell said the creation of the task force should be done “immediately.” Other directors stated that if a task force is to be created, it should be the decision of the incoming board in April, after the election. Four new members will be a part of the nine-person board.

Fulkerson said the Board of Directors will have funding issues to consider during the implementation process, as well.

“There is a lot of it staff can do, but there are some things where I’m going to need outside expertise,” she said. “That’s going to cost you money, and you’re going to have to take that up and decide if that’s what you want to do.”

The motion passed by a vote of 5-3, with Hebert, Wedell and Lucinda Shannon voting against it. Director Jeff Thomas was not present.

Meeting screencap via RA/YouTube

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