Town of Herndon Considering Hiking Fees for Facility Use

The Town of Herndon may slightly increase the fees for facility uses and rentals while eliminating its use of the Fairfax County Park Authority’s fee structure.

Herndon’s Parks and Recreation Department provides for community-use facilities at the Herndon Community Center, which includes a pool, gym, tennis courts, fitness rooms and drop-in child care.

For about 12 years, the Parks and Recreation facilities fee schedule has included a pricing structure for community center admission fees and passes tied to the Fairfax County Park Authority rates.

A department review of current services and operational costs prompted the Town Council to rethink its use of FCPA rates.

“Staff is proposing that structure be revised to eliminate the connection to FCPA due to the significant increase in their proposed non-resident rates, which would be detrimental to a large percentage of Herndon Community Center users,” the Parks and Recreation staff report says.

The Town Council now has a proposed resolution that would base the fees on a daily resident/non-resident fee. The change is expected to recover 75 percent of the department’s operating costs through fees and charges for services, according to the Town of Herndon.

The new fee would add $0.50 more to the daily rate for both residents and non-residents.

If approved, the amended fee schedule would go into effect on Sept. 1.

Images via Google Maps and Town of Herndon

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Reminder: Restonians Can Buy Their Pool and Tennis Passes

Spring is still about two weeks away, but the Reston Association wants locals to start thinking about warmer weather activities.

The Restonian Association recently took to YouTube to remind Restonians — members and nonmembers of the association — that they can purchase pool and tennis court passes.

The passes give access to the Reston Association’s 52 outdoor tennis courts and 15 pools. They can be purchased online or at the Reston Association’s Member Services Office (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).

The two heated pools open early May before the other pools, according to the RA. The tennis courts stay open year-round — weather permitting.

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New Year, New Pool: What’s in Store for RCC’s Aquatics Center

The Reston Community Center kicked off the more than $5 million renovation of the Reston Community Center’s Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center today (Jan. 2).

Contractor Branch & Associates started the work today on the project, which will update the 40-year-old aquatics center with two pools.

After the final open swim time ended yesterday, the process of draining the pool began.

That process starts with neutralizing the pool water for several days to allow chlorine to dissipate before slowly draining the water, ensuring that it does not erode stream banks downstream of the pool.

“Draining the water is a controlled process to avoid overwhelming any part of the surrounding environment,” RCC’s Executive Director Leila Gordon who said that the team will follow strict environmental standards throughout the process.

In addition to Gordon, the project team includes Branch Project Manager Bill Ruschaupt, RCC’s Deputy Director John Blevins and Martha Sansaver, Karen Davis and Geoff Kimmel from DPWES.

Branch & Associates was selected as the contracting firm for the project after Fairfax County’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services opened a pre-bid qualification process in October.

RCC chose mosaic artist Valerie Theberge to create a mosaic artwork installation for the large wall areas adjacent to the pool overlook area.

Gordon said that the new artwork by Theberge — the artist behind the Glade Drive underpass and a mosaic water feature at Dogwood Pool — will “add to Reston’s wonderful public art collection.”

The renovated facility, designed by RRMM-Lukmire Architects, will include a 25-yard lap pool with zero-depth entry, a warm-water therapeutic pool, updated infrastructure systems and a new roof. It is slated to reopen in the fall.

During the construction period, Reston patrons can receive discounted rates, which are offered through RCCs’ partnership with the YMCA Fairfax County RestonReston Association and Herndon Community Center.

Renderings via Reston Community Center

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Take One Last Splash Before Work Begins on Reston Community Center’s Aquatics Center

Take one last splash in the pool at Reston Community Center’s Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center before it closes for renovations.

Built in 1979, the Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center will undergo a more than $5 million renovation starting on Jan. 2.

The pool area is expected to reopen in October, featuring an expanded lap pool with a zero-depth entry and water play area and another pool for warm-water therapy, exercise and teaching.

During the construction period, Reston patrons can receive discounted rates, which are offered through RCCs’ partnership with the YMCA Fairfax County Reston, Reston Association and Herndon Community Center. Patrons can pick up a “Construction Pass” at RCC’s Customer Service desks to take to the partner locations and get special rates.

“The Last Splash Aquatics Renovation Party” is set for Friday (Dec. 28) from noon to 9:00 p.m. Admission is $1. The pool party will include open swimming with games and races, music, a farewell gift and a graffiti wall for locals to pen their pool goodbyes.

Rendering via Reston Community Center

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Friday Morning Notes

Family splash tonight at Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center — Drop-in for a night of family fun at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods. The entry fee is $13 for Reston residents and $26 for all others. Groups of six or more must pre-register. [Reston Regional Library]

Off to the jungle — Reston’s Gin Dance Company has been invited to perform at the 18th DUMBO Dance Festival, a prestigious dance festival in New York City. It’s the second year the modern dance company will perform at the festival. [The Connection]

New school sexual misconduct policy — The Fairfax County School Board adopted a new policy yesterday that attempts to reform institutional cultures and address the underlying causes of sexual misconduct. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

A stronger second half — The South Lakes volleyball team is looking for a stronger second half. What does that mean exactly? [The Connection]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Lanes reopen after fatal crash — Lanes are starting to reopen after a fatal accident in the eastbound direction of Interstate 66 happened earlier this morning. One person was killed in the crash. [WTOP]

Save the date, bookworms — The Friends of the Reston Regional Library will host its semi-annual fall book sale on Thursday, September 27 through Sunday, September 30. [The Friends of the Reston Regional Library]

And save your pool passes, too — All adult, child, and all-season guest pool passes are renewable online, so don’t forget to keep the passes at the end of the season. Tennis, pickleball and aqua fitness passes are also renewable online. [Reston Association]

“What We Do for Love” discussion tonight at 7 p.m. — In this discussion led by Dr. Rewa Burnham of Trinity Washington University, attendees will discuss the following theme: what we do for love. Each discussion is based on an episode of the PBS show “The Great American Read.” [Reston Regional Library]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Saturday: Take Your Dog for a Swim

The dog days of summer deserve a day just for the dogs before the pool season ends.

Reston Association is hosting a Dog Paddle on Saturday in the North Hills Recreation Area from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

People are not permitted in the water with the dogs and a current dog license is required. In order to participate, dogs must remain under control or will be asked to leave without a refund. RA may ask specific patron or dog owners to leave.

A waiver is required on side and admission is $10 the day of the event. Participants can register in advance online via RA’s Webtrac system where tickets are $6 for RA members and $8 for all others.

Photo by Sammy Monaghan for RA

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Celebrate the Summer Season at Exo Apartments’ First Annual Pool Party

Join Exo Apartments on Wednesday, August 22nd from 4-7 p.m. and dive into summer.

Enjoy summer sips from local brewery Lake Ann Brew House. Snack on fresh baked pretzels and local food truck bites. Explore all that Exo has to offer, and snag summer essential giveaways along the way.

DJ Alkimist will be supplying the sounds of summer while you relax poolside. Swimsuits not required, but highly recommended. Grab your free ticket to the first annual pool party here!

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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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Friday Morning Notes

A little extra planning for the weekend — Not planning to dine out? Carrabba’s Italian Grill (12192 Sunset Hills Road) is launching its own food delivery service. [Reston Patch]

And a little early planning for Easter — Frying Pan Park and Lake Fairfax Park are hosting several events in late March, including an eggspectular “Eggstravaganza.” [Fairfax County Government]

Chimney causes Reston townhouse fire — Heat escaping from gaps in a chimney caused a townhouse fire over the weekend. No injuries were reported, but damages are estimated at around $65,000.  [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

In rumor mill this week — Restonians have asked us if Reston Association plans to close Lake Thoreau. Their head spokesman says Reston Association’s staff plan to discuss details of a future demand analysis of RA pools at the board’s May 7 meeting.

(Editor’s Note: This post was updated at 9:50 a.m. to clarify the subject of discussion by RA staff at the board’s May meeting)

Flickr pool photo via vantagehill

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$1.8 Million Renovation of Reston Association Pools Up for Discussion in Budget

Major upgrades to swimming pools are proposed in the budget that is under discussion by the Reston Association Board of Directors.

Expenses for work on the RA pool facilities included in the proposed 2018-2019 Capital Projects List total: $362,378 for swimming pools and $287,639 pool buildings in 2018; and $972,209 for swimming pools and $158,256 for pool buildings in 2019.

All 15 RA pool facilities have projects listed in the proposed list. By far the most expensive is work on the Lake Thoreau pool, totaling just over $1 million.

The $1.8 million in proposed work on all pool facilities equates to 26.6 percent of the $6.7 million funding allotted for the Capital Projects List. The proposed budget also allots a total of $2.9 million for the Repair and Replacement Reserve (RRR) Fund, out of the $14.3 million in total overall expenses.

Some other big ticket items on the project list include:

  • $2,321,359 for lakes, ponds and dams
  • $465,000 for boat docks at Lake Anne and Lake Thoreau
  • $406,658 for tennis courts
  • $379,318 for asphalt trails
  • $313,658 for vehicles and equipment

The next opportunity for Restonians to provide feedback to RA directors about the biennial budget is this Sunday. The RA is hosting a “community drop-in” at the Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Ave.) from 10-11:30 a.m.

The RA Board has been discussing the budget since this summer in order to reach agreement before a November deadline. Sridhar Ganesan, RA Board at-large director and treasurer, questioned the various costs of the swimming pool facility repairs during some of those discussions, including at a special budget session last month (video).

“Plumbing in one facility isn’t going to be the same costs as the other, just because of the differences in configuration and size,” Garrett Skinner, RA director of capital improvement planning and projects, said in response. “All of those numbers were also vetted through contractors. Especially the pool buildings and swimming pool members. We had contractors come out and go physically through each one of the sites, look at what we have scheduled that needs to be done and determine costs based on that.”

Skinner, who was hired in January, also emphasized that some of the repairs were not anticipated in the association’s capital reserve study the was last performed in 2015. The study tracks needed maintenance and upgrades for RA-owned facilities. Instead, the repairs on the swimming pool facilities were proposed to be done during the next two years because the systems had broken down in some way.

“We’re doing it because it wasn’t in the reserve study for example; you’re doing it because something broke down?” Ganesan asked.

Skinner said Ganesan was correct, adding that the maintenance is necessary.

“Not all of these things were appropriately identified in the reserve study, but we still have to maintain them and repair them,” he said.

The first public hearing on the proposed budget will be Oct. 26 during a regular board meeting. A second hearing is scheduled Oct. 30 during a special meeting of the board. The board will vote on the budget and the annual member assessment rate Nov. 16 during a regular board meeting.

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Some Reston Association Pool Hours May Be Reinstated in 2018

Some pool hours that were lost in the 2017 schedule may return in 2018, after recommendations from Reston Association’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC).

During their special budget session Monday afternoon (video), the Reston Association Board of Directors voted to guide staff toward listening to PRAC’s recommendations when setting guidelines for the 2018 pool schedule.

The recommendations are to:

  • Prior to Memorial Day: reinstate Monday-Friday weekday hours at the two open pools
  • Memorial Day through end of school: ensure there is one pool in each district available by 10 a.m. on weekdays
  • Through mid-August: reinstate the “closed day” to just once a week at most pools, as opposed to twice a week
  • Mid-August through first day of school: continue to adjust operating hours at certain pools based on member feedback, and continue to reopen additional facilities for Labor Day weekend.

The suggested changes would add $2.88 to the projected assessment rate for 2018, RA staff has calculated. Restoring all of the pool hours that were cut in this year’s schedule would tack on an additional $1.60.

“The recommendation that is before you, by the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee, was worked on with staff,” CEO Cate Fulkerson said, addressing a director’s question about concerns with finding seasonal workers for the pools. “Staff believes that it can achieve [these changes, but] it does not believe it can go back to the full-scale set of hours that we had in 2016.”

Members provided feedback about pool hours during listening sessions held by RA directors in May and June. In addition, member feedback on the issue was collected during a feedback session with the Board earlier this month. Fulkerson said about 25 members attended and shared their thoughts.

Director Julie Bitzer (South Lakes District) is the Board’s liaison to PRAC. She said she believes the recommended changes address the majority of comments that were received about the schedule.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the Reston Association Board of Directors voted to give their backing to:

  • paying off the Lake House loan from reserves (reducing $8.66 in projected 2018 assessment rate), as well as ending afterschool and other programming there (reducing between $3.31 and $6.80 in projected 2018 assessment rate)
  • adding two seasonal workers to assist with litter pickup efforts (adding $1.93 to projected 2018 assessment rate) and purchasing 10 more trash cans at a cost of $900 each (adding 43 cents to projected 2018 assessment rate)
  • making accessibility improvements to Walker Nature Center, at a cost of $30,000 (adding $1.42 to projected 2018 assessment rate), along with $50,000 to be contributed by Friends of Reston
  • appropriating $2.9 million to the 2018 Repair, Replacement & Reserve Fund

The Board also discussed the potential of adding a post-DRB project approval inspector, whose job would be to “ensure that members have built their DRB approved projects in accordance with the plans and specifications submitted to the DRB for approval.” Adding the position would have a $2.65 impact on the projected 2018 assessment rate. The Board chose to defer making a guidance decision on that position until their Sept. 28 meeting.

Directors also discussed a member request to stop mowing medians, which would save RA about $54,860 and reduce the 2018 assessment rate by $2.60. Directors agreed that as the Virginia Department of Transportation would only do the work three times a year, as opposed to the 16-18 times a year it is done by RA, discontinuing the effort at the local level would seriously harm the appearance of the community. The Board voted not to back the recommendation.

All votes at Monday’s meeting were for guidance purposes only as the second draft of the budget is compiled. No official decisions have yet been made.

Board guidance on the second draft of the 2018 budget must be completed at their Sept. 28 meeting. Another community budget session is slated for Sunday, Oct. 15, followed by public hearings on Oct. 26 and Oct. 30. The budget is to be approved, and the assessment rate set, during the Board’s Nov. 16 meeting.

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Friday Morning Notes

‘Fill The Boot’ Campaign Sets All-Time Record — In its Labor Day Weekend campaign to raise money for the Greater Washington MDA and for Hurricane Harvey relief, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue raised $631,278.65. That is the highest total raised by any municipality in the history of the campaign. Half a million dollars from the drive will be donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, while the other $131,278.65 went to the disaster relief fund. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Pool Schedule Input Session is Sunday — The Reston Association Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee will be available on Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon during an open house at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Avenue) to collect member input on the 2017 pool schedule, as well as thoughts and suggestions about what should be done in 2018. [Reston Now]

Inmate Dies After Medical Event in County Jail Cell — Detectives are investigating the death of a 53-year-old inmate who suffered a medical emergency in her cell on Aug. 31. The inmate died Thursday at a hospital in Fairfax. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Canned Food Will Be Connected at Football Game — At tonight’s high school football game between South Lakes and Oakton, being played at OHS (2900 Sutton Road), fans are encouraged to bring canned food to be donated to hurricane victims. [South Lakes Student Government Association]

Nuclear Fuel Developer Signs New Deal — Reston-based nuclear fuel developer Lightbridge Corp. has signed a binding agreement with a North Carolina company for a joint venture to commercialize and manufacture a new line of advanced metallic fuel for nuclear plants. [Washington Business Journal]

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What’s Going On Around Reston This Weekend?

It’s the last weekend in August, and school starts Monday.

It’s not even Labor Day yet, but it’s an unofficial end of summer.

With that comes the end of many of the events that have defined the season in Reston. Reston Station’s “Summerbration” series ends this weekend, as does Reston Town Center’s summer concert series.

This also marks the end of the season for much of Reston Association’s swimming pool schedule. North Shore and Ridge Heights pools are the only locations where daily hours will continue after this weekend, though Lake Audubon and Lake Newport pools will open for Labor Day Weekend.

Kids and families, take advantage of these last two days before the school bell rings Monday.

Below are many of the fun events that are going on this weekend, for the young ones and the adults alike.

(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 “Summerbration” comes to a close this weekend at Reston Station. Tonight from 7-9 p.m., The Swingin’ Swamis will perform. Saturday night from 8:30-10:30 p.m., there will be a free screening of “The Little Mermaid.” The Summerbration events are in the plaza outside the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. (Note: To receive free parking for these events, parking tickets need to be validated by personnel on the plaza. Find the sign that reads “Parking Validation Here.”)
  • Saturday night, Reston Town Center’s summer concert series wraps up with a show from David Akers and the Soul Shakers from 7:30-10 p.m. at the pavilion (11900 Market St.). Parking at RTC is free on the weekends.
  • Hours for humans at Dogwood and North Hills pools may have ended, but there’s still fun to be had there for their four-legged friends. Reston Association will host two “Dog Paddle” events this weekend, at Dogwood Pool (2460 Green Range Road) on Saturday and at North Hills Pool (1325 North Village Road) on Sunday. Each day, the events will go from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost to register is $4 for dogs of Reston Association members and $6 for dogs of non-members.
  • Potomac River Running will put on the sixth-annual South Lakes 10K on Sunday at 7:30 a.m., beginning at SLHS (11400 South Lakes Drive).
  • Reston Bicycle Club’s 35th annual Century ride will roll off at 6:30 a.m. Sunday from the pavilion at Reston Town Center. Three hundred slots are being held of same-day walk-ups. In addition to the 100-mile ride, there are 31- and 62-mile routes available.
  • 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.
  • Interested in stand-up paddleboarding? Surf Reston is offering sessions this weekend on Lake Anne. Advance registration is required. In addition, there will be SUP yoga from 9-11 a.m. Saturday.
  • 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 Revelator Hill tonight from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Saturday night, DJ Kram will play Top 40 hits.
  • Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor square off Saturday night in one of the most anticipated professional fights in history. Many sports bars in Herndon, Tysons, Sterling and elsewhere in the area will be showing it on the big screen.
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Opportunity to Speak Out About Pool Schedule To Be Provided Next Month

Reduced pool hours in the 2017 schedule drew the ire of many in the Reston community.

Now that the season is nearing its end, those members and others will have the opportunity to share feedback from their summer experiences.

The Reston Association Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee will be made available on Sunday, Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to noon during an open house at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Avenue). They will be collecting member input on the 2017 pool schedule, as well as thoughts and suggestions about what should be done in 2018.

This year, no pools were open on weekdays prior to Memorial Day. (In 2016, both the North Shore and Ridge Heights pools were open from 1-7 p.m. each weekday beginning May 14.) Through June 23, only four pools were open on weekdays, with one (Glade) open only three hours a night.

In addition, as school is starting next week — one week earlier than in past years — North Shore and Ridge Heights will be the only two pools open the week preceding Labor Day, from 4-7 p.m. each evening. However, RA has announced that Lake Audubon and Lake Newport pools will both be opened for Labor Day weekend.

North Shore and Ridge Heights pools will remain open on weekends and weeknights through Sept. 24.

Mike Leone, communications director for Reston Association, told Reston Now in April that the 2017 schedule was developed as part of an effort to “identify significant cost savings.”

“During the 2017 budget development process, the Board directed staff to identify significant cost savings in the budget to accommodate other strategic goals. Based on facility usage data collected over the past three years that shows a decline in pool attendance as well as feedback from the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors approved pool schedule options by which the proposed aquatics budget could be reduced while still serving the interests of the membership as a whole.”

Members brought up concerns about the pool schedule during general member input sessions earlier this year. Those suggestions are being considered by the RA Board of Directors as part of their budget process.

Anyone who has input to share but is unable to attend the Sept. 10 event is invited to email comments to [email protected].

The Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee is scheduled to make a report on the issue to the Board of Directors at a budget work session Sept. 18.

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