Sweetgreen Temporarily Closed in Reston Town Center — Sweetgreen has temporarily closed its location at 1824 Library Street because of water damage. The company expects to reopen its doors soon, but no word yet on exactly when that might happen. [Sweetgreen]
Reston Multicultural Festival Returns Later This Month — After a pause last year due to the pandemic, the Reston Multicultural Festival is back this year on Sept. 25. Organized by Reston Community Center, the festival will include arts and crafts, entertainment, food, a global market and family activities. [RCC]
State Issues Notice About Measles Cases in Northern Virginia — Five people were diagnosed with measles in the area, prompting the Virginia Department of Health to issue an alert about possible exposure. The individuals recently traveled from Afghanistan. Most U.S. residents receive measles vaccinations during childhood. [Virginia Department of Health]
Reston Company Announces Merger — Reston-based education technology giant Blackboard is merging with a Florida-based software company called Anthology. The terms of the deal were not publicly disclosed. [Technical.ly]
Monday, September 13
- An International Murals Festival (varies) – D.C. Walls is an international mural festival highlighting public wall art across the city and region. Take a self-guided tour and celebrate the murals that make up the city.
Tuesday, September 14
- Fermenting Hot Sauce (6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.) – Head over to maker space NoVa Labs in Reston for a lesson on fermenting your very own hot sauce. The class will teach you about fermenting techniques, styles from across the world, and different types of chilis. You’ll also get a chance to blend your own very small batch sauce.
Wednesday, September 15
- Country & Western Line Dancing Lesson (6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) – Swing your partner round and round at Frying Pan Farm Park. Learn a variety of country and western line dances with the help of the Fairfax County Park Authority. All – singles, partners, and families – are welcome.
Thursday, September 16
- By the Seashore (10:30 a.m.) – Take a magical journey to the beach in this sensory-filled production at Plenty Amphitheater at Lee District Park in Alexandria. Best for children up to three years old, the show is at an outdoor amphitheater, and runs 20 minutes.
Friday, September 17
- “Can I Kick It?” Featuring Black Panther (7:30 p.m.) – Gerald Watson and DJ 2-Tone Jones take the 2018 Marvel hit Black Panther to the next level by adding a fresh, new soundtrack alluding to martial arts films of lore. Taking place on the Mason Pond Lawn at George Mason University, the event is open to the public.
Saturday, September 18
- Alexandria Old Town Art Festival (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) – The 19th annual art festival will take place at John Carlyle Square this year. It’s free admission, there’ll be dozens of vendors, and the festival is consistently recognized as one of the top in the area.
- Buckets N Boards Comedy (5 p.m.) – Take the family to this high energy musical comedy show featuring tap dancing, percussion, and buckets. It will take place in McLean Central Park and run about 90 minutes long.
- Rosslyn Jazz Fest (1 p.m. to 5 p.m.) – One of Arlington’s premier music festivals is back this year with local acts, food, fun and music. Taking place in Gateway Park this year, the 2021 version is a culmination of a series of events in Arlington celebrating jazz. Though the festival is free, registration is strongly encouraged.
Sunday, September 19
- Korus Festival (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) – This celebration of Korean-American culture, music, food, and dance is back and is now set to take place in the Bloomingdale’s parking lot in Tysons Corner Center.
- Mutts Gone Nuts (7:00 p.m.) – Dogs make for great comedy. Head on over to the Reston Community Center for a dog and comedy show full of tricks, jokes, and barks. As the listing says, the show will leave you “howling” for more.
Labor Day weekend has almost arrived, unofficially bringing summer to an end with an occasion to recognize the achievement of workers and the labor movement.
For students, the weekend has already begun, since Fairfax County Public Schools has designated both today (Friday) and Monday (Sept. 6) as holidays.
While Reston Association’s summer pool season has mostly come to a close, a handful of pools will be open over Labor Day weekend, with the North Shore and Ridge Heights heated pools remaining open through Sept. 19.
RA announced on Tuesday (Aug. 31) that the North Shore, Ridge Heights, Lake Newport, and Glade pools will all open from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 4-5) as well as from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday.
“We are happy that we were able to open and operate the majority of RA pools safely this summer for our members enjoyment,” RA Director of Recreation and Environmental Education Laura Kowalski said in an email. “In addition, RA swim lessons, water exercise and pool events were well attended. And of course, our annual end of season Dog Paddles for our furry friends was a big hit.”
Elsewhere in Fairfax County, many public facilities and services will be closed or have altered schedules for Labor Day. Here are some of the changes that Reston and Herndon residents should be aware of for the federal holiday:
Fairfax County Government
- County government offices will be closed on Sept. 6.
Fairfax County Courts
- The Fairfax Circuit, General District, and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District courts will all be closed on Labor Day.
Town of Herndon
- Town offices and the Herndon Community Center will be closed for Labor Day.
- There will be no recycling collection that day. Residents whose recycling is typically collected on Mondays will instead have pick-ups on Tuesday (Sept. 7).
- The Herndon Centennial Golf Course will be open on Monday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
County Libraries and Recreational Facilities
- Fairfax County Public Library follows the same operating status as the general county government, so all branches will be closed on Labor Day.
- Nearly all Fairfax County RECenters will be open on Monday and follow their standard operating hours, which conclude at 6 p.m. The exception is the George Washington RECenter in Alexandria, which will be closed.
- The Colvin Run Mill and Sully historic sites, Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, and all nature centers will be closed.
- The visitor center at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon will be closed, but the farm itself will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The indoor arena will also be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- All Neighborhood and Community Services facilities, including community, teen, and senior centers, will be closed from Sept. 4-6.
- The Reston Community Center Hunters Woods and Lake Anne facilities will both be closed on Monday.
- Fairfax Connector buses will operate on a Sunday schedule for Labor Day. Check the transit system’s website for the specific routes that will be in service.
- Metro will operate from 7 a.m. to midnight throughout Labor Day weekend, with trains serving 87 of 91 stations normally on the Red, Blue, and Silver lines and scheduled maintenance on the Orange, Yellow, and Green lines.
- On Labor Day, Metrorail, buses, and MetroAccess will follow a Sunday service schedule with off-peak fares and free parking in effect all day.
County Trash and Recycling
- Labor Day will not affect trash and recycling collections for county customers. However, the customer service center will be closed in observance of the holiday.
- The I-66 Transfer Station and I-95 Landfill Complex will both be open.
Photo via Reston Association/YouTube
Herndon Police Believe Sexual Assault Suspect Had More Victims — Detectives with the Herndon Police Department believe other people may have been victimized by a man they charged with aggravated sexual battery on June 30, according to a tweet. At the time of his arrest, the victim in the case told police that Carlos Morales López, 55, gave her a massage in the 800 block of Sycamore Court when he sexually assaulted her. [Patch]
Police Investigate South Lakes Bank Robbery — Police officers were dispatched to BB&T in the South Lakes Village Shopping Center yesterday morning (Tuesday) after a man reportedly entered the bank, grabbed the manager, and demanded cash before leaving the area on foot. No injuries were reported, and detectives are continuing to investigate the incident, which is the second time the branch has been robbed this year. [FCPD]
Free COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at Reston Station Tomorrow — Reston Station will host a second COVID-19 vaccination clinic next to Founding Farmers (1904 Reston Metro Plaza) from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday). Anyone who visits the clinic to get their first dose will receive $15 gift cards to Starbucks and Big Buns Damn Good Burgers. Second Pfizer doses will be administered on Sept. 14 and 16. [Reston Station/Twitter]
Reston Community Center Starts ESports League — Embracing a trend that is also coming to Fairfax County Public Schools, Reston Community Center is teaming up with the platform GGLeagues to launch an esports program this fall. Players will compete from home using their own consoles and can choose from a variety of games. Each league will run for six weeks starting on Oct. 4, and registration will be open until Sept. 22. [RCC]
A majority of Reston residents would support having a larger performing arts venue in the area, a survey commissioned by Reston Community Center suggests.
RCC has been mulling the possibility of bringing a new performing arts venue to Reston since at least the summer of 2019, when it partnered with the Center for Survey Research at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service to conduct the community survey, which also measured public opinion of the organization’s facilities, programming, and priorities.
Center for Survey Research Director Dr. Kara Fitzgibbon presented the community survey results to the RCC Board of Governors on July 26. The board also reviewed the findings of a strategic plan survey that RCC sent out earlier this summer to see if people’s feelings had changed in the intervening two years.
According to the UVA presentation, 68% of the 1,906 people who responded to the 2019 survey are somewhat to very interested in Reston having a larger performing arts venue, with the largest percentage (29%) saying that they are very interested.
An additional 12% of respondents said they would be slightly interested, while 11% said they wouldn’t be at all interested, and 9% felt that RCC’s existing facilities, such as the CenterStage theater, are sufficient.
“The levels of general support indicate that the opportunity is one that RCC should explore and help the community realize in one way or another,” RCC Executive Director Leila Gordon said by email. “What happens next will be determined through study, engagement and development of a plan to realize what the community wants.”
Gordon says RCC’s interest in having a larger performing arts venue “is longstanding,” spurred in part by a proffer from Boston Properties for up to 65,000 square feet of development in its Reston Gateway neighborhood near the still-closed Reston Town Center Metro station.
Gordon told Reston Now in June 2019 that if a facility comes to fruition, RCC would advocate for it to have a stage spacious enough to accommodate dance, orchestral, and theatrical shows with large casts, and it would primarily serve community nonprofits and public school arts programs.
She clarified by email yesterday (Tuesday) that Boston Properties has offered to include that amount of space in “Block J” of its mixed-use development, but it hasn’t committed to making that an arts center.
A Fairfax County spokesperson confirmed that the proffer is still on the table and that the county has until July 2022 to decide whether to accept it.
RCC’s community survey indicates that the level of support for a new performing arts center would vary depending on whether it is built by a developer or by the community center, which would require voter approval for a bond referendum to fund the project.
The percentage of “very supportive” respondents goes from 37% if the facility is built by a developer to just 14% if RCC has to finance it. 32% of respondents said they wouldn’t be at all supportive of RCC issuing a bond to fund the project.
“The RCC board has long maintained that such a venue requires multiple funding partners to realize,” Gordon said. “We will continue to explore the opportunity with the community and see where it leads.”
The Center for Survey Research distributed the questionnaire to a sample of 5,500 Reston households. A version of the survey that anyone who lives or works in Reston could answer was also made available online and in paper form from Aug. 5 to Sept. 16, 2019, according to the presentation.
This year’s strategic plan survey obtained 267 responses. Respondents named facilities upkeep and modernization as their top priority, though some said RCC’s programs are “too niche” or duplicative of Reston Association offerings.
Gordon says she didn’t register any significant changes from 2019 to this year, but the number of people who cited time constraints — either from their own busy schedule or RCC’s schedule — as a barrier to participation in the 2019 survey stood out.
“To the extent we can, RCC works collaboratively with Reston’s nonprofit and civic infrastructure to get Restonians the most ‘bang for the buck’ from their community investments,” Gordon wrote. “Ultimately, the 2019 Community Survey helps all of us better understand what people are seeking in their spare time (what precious little of it they have!) and how we can fulfill their expectations.”
This year’s contest to fill the Reston Community Center Board of Governors should be a straightforward affair.
RCC announced this morning (Monday) that just three people — all of them incumbents — filed for candidacy in its 2021 Preference Poll, which will help determine three seats on the nine-member board that develops policy, programming, and the budget for the community center.
William G. Bouie, Lisa Sechrest-Ehrhardt, and Richard Stillson are running for reelection with their three-year terms expiring this year.
According to RCC, its memorandum of understanding with Fairfax County requires that the agency conduct the preference poll annually regardless of the number of candidates. The poll is open to all Small District 5 residents.
Voting will begin on Sept. 10 after a candidate forum at RCC Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road) at 6:30 p.m. the previous day. Ballots can be returned by mail until 5 p.m. on Sept. 30, while online and in-person voting will be open until 5 p.m. on Oct. 1.
Board members will be officially appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors after the poll.
Brief profiles of the three candidates and excerpts from their submitted statements are below. The full candidate statements can be found on the RCC website.
William G. Bouie
An RCC board member since 2003, Bouie also serves as the current chairman of the Fairfax County Park Authority Board of Directors, where he represents Hunter Mill District. He is the vice chairman for Public Art Reston and has won two Best of Reston awards for his community service.
“I enjoy working with Restonians, to learn about their needs, and wants, and to strive to make RCC a place for all,” Bouie wrote. “I will continue to work with the residents and the County to ensure consistency of programming, and to engage the business community so that they receive the inherent value in working with the Community Center and its programs as Reston grows.”
Sechrest-Ehrhardt has lived in Reston for 46 years and worked for RCC before becoming a board member in 2012. As an RCC employee, she planned and implemented social, cultural, and educational programs, though she is also a professional social worker and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant.
“My professional and personal experience will contribute to the social, cultural, and educational environment provided by RCC,” she said. “The goal of my community involvement and my desire to serve on the RCC Board of Governors is to ensure that all Reston residents are included in and benefit from the great programs and events RCC offers.”
This is Stillson’s first reelection bid after he was first voted on the board in 2018. A 49-year Reston resident, he was the first chairman of Reston Association’s Lakes Committee and the first president of the local citizens’ advocacy group Reston 2020. He also teaches at the Reston campus of George Mason University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
“It is crucial that the Community Center use its current strength to continue to initiate new programs and events to help rebuild the community,” Stillson wrote. “This importantly includes the new residents in the growing transit corridor who do not have the history of building our town from scratch and may know little about RCC. We must expand our programs outside the RCC facilities and improve our communications about our offerings.”
“While we have reinvented many of our programs since March of 2020, offering virtual and socially distanced options, it was impossible to convert some of our most popular programs to that format,” RCC Director of Leisure and Learning Karen Brutsché said. “We know our patrons are eager to socialize with their friends at their favorite RCC activities.”
Registration is now open for both Reston and non-Reston residents:
- Bridge — Players with intermediate or advanced knowledge of Bridge are invited to play on Mondays at Hunters Woods (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) and Tuesdays at Lake Anne (10 a.m.-1 p.m.). These games are free to attend.
- Trips — Day trips organized by RCC this fall include the Museum of the Bible (Sept. 16), the International Spy Museum (Oct. 14), Toby’s Dinner Theatre (Nov. 17), and more. Prices vary depending on the trip.
- American Mah Jongg — Open to American mahjongg players on Wednesdays (1:15-3:45 p.m.) and Thursdays (9:30 a.m.-noon) at Hunters Woods. These games are free to attend.
The shift to advance registration for drop-in programs was an initially temporary change prompted by the need to limit crowds during the pandemic, but RCC decided to make it permanent after seeing how the appointment system eliminated conflicts over space for its most popular activities.
RCC also still has some safety precautions in place, including the continued availability of touchless hand sanitizers and virtual programming. Masks are required for everyone when indoors in accordance with Fairfax County’s recently reinstated policy for public facilities.
Virginia General Assembly Convenes for Special Session — “The General Assembly returns on Monday to the Capitol it left 17 months ago as the coronavirus first gripped Virginia…Legislators meeting in a scheduled two-week special session have just two tasks on their to-do list, both highly consequential: allocating $4.3 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds and appointing a slew of judges to the state’s second-highest court.” [The Washington Post]
Fairfax County Man Arrested for Participating in Capitol Breach — “A Fairfax County, Virginia, man was arrested on six charges Thursday after a high school acquaintance tipped off the FBI about his alleged participation in the Capitol riot on January 6…[Luke Wessley] Bender faces six counts, including a felony count of obstruction of Congress that carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.” [WUSA9]
Reston Community Center Candidate Filing Now Open — “Help your community by becoming a candidate for RCC’s Board of Governors. Candidate filing for the 2021 RCC Preference Poll is now open. Please download the candidate handbook and candidacy statement from our website and return by August 15.” [RCC/Facebook]
Reston Community Remembers Local Humanitarian — Described as a “pioneer, humanitarian, and entrepreneur,” longtime Reston resident Burton “Burt” Emmanuel Lamkin died on June 24 at the age of 86. Though he went to California a few years ago to be closer to family, he and his wife Kathryne were among the first African Americans to live in Reston when they moved there in 1966, and he was heavily involved in the Rotary Club of Herndon. [Connection Newspapers]
Photos: Reston Association Hosts Annual Tennis Tournament — “The 2021 Reston Simon Cup tennis tournament was held from mid through late July. Men’s and women’s singles and doubles matches were played at the Lake Newport tennis courts.” [RA/Facebook]
Reston Community Center has announced the lineup its 2021-22 Professional Touring Artist Series.
After a truncated season with limited audiences last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the series will bring a variety of musicians, theatrical performances, and speakers to a full-capacity CenterStage starting in September.
“It is our great pleasure to welcome our audiences back to the CenterStage,” RCC Arts and Events Director Paul Douglas Michnewicz said in a press release. “Whether you are seeking an escape from your troubles with sublime dance or want to be inspired by thought leaders or you just need to laugh, the Professional Touring Artist Series has something for everyone to enjoy.”
With seating limited by Virginia’s restrictions on indoor entertainment venues, RCC Executive Director Leila Gordon says the community center was still able to host some artists and speakers last season, including the folk/rock band Trout Fishing in America, jazz violinist Regina Carter, and actor BD Wong, whose talk coincided with the 2021 Reston Pride Festival in June.
Many artists who were unable to come to Reston still sent video messages that RCC posted to its YouTube channel, and some were rescheduled for this upcoming season.
Gordon says RCC has seen attendance at its shows pick up since late spring, but even in June, a good day would be one with an audience of 100 people for a show that normally might’ve filled up the 260-seat CenterStage auditorium.
“We are keeping our hopes high that widespread vaccination will continue to offer protection that will help artists and audiences return safely to the CenterStage this season,” Gordon said.
Unless otherwise noted, all shows are held at CenterStage, which is located at RCC Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road). Tickets go on sale for Reston residents and employees on August 1 at 1 p.m. Sales open to the general public on August 8 at 1 p.m.
The full schedule for this season is below:
Mutts Gone Nuts, A Comedy Dog Act
- Sept. 19, 3-7 p.m.
- $10 Reston/$15 Non-Reston
- Expect the unexpected, as canines and comedy collide in a smash hit performance that’s leaving audiences everywhere howling for more.
National Heritage Award Fellows at the Reston Multicultural Festival
- Sept. 25, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Lake Anne Plaza; free, all ages
- National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) National Heritage Fellowships are the nation’s highest honor in folk and traditional arts. This year’s fellows, who will be recognized at the annual Reston Multicultural Festival, are Rev. Paschall & Company and The Chuck Brown Band.
The Seldom Scene
- Oct. 2, 8 p.m.
- $25 Reston/$35 Non-Reston
- What does it take for a bluegrass band to remain popular for more than four decades? For The Seldom Scene, it has taken talented musicians, a signature sound and a solid repertoire, as well as a delightful sense of fun.
Herndon Man Pleads Guilty in 2011 Reston Shooting — Herndon resident Saul Pacheco Mejia pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday (Thursday) for his involvement in a 2011 drug deal where his associates shot and killed one of the buyers. Mejia was indicted in 2015 and could face up to 25 years in prison when sentenced on Nov. 11. [The Washington Post]
Man Arrested for Reston Stabbing — A 23-year-old has been charged with malicious wounding for a stabbing that was reported in the 2100 block of Cartwright Place around 10:03 p.m. Wednesday night (July 14). Police say they located the suspect at 10:57 p.m. that night after an extensive search of the area involving dogs and helicopters. [Patch]
Hawk Crashes into Reston Home — A loud crash at a window of Reston resident Edward Abbott’s home last Friday (July 9) led to the discovery of “a dead chipmunk and a stunned hawk lying on the deck.” A Fairfax County Animal Control officer who responded to the call took the bird to a veterinarian for examination, but they were unable to determine whether the hawk had killed the chipmunk. [Patch]
Reston Community Center Unveils Fall Offerings — RCC’s 2021 Fall Program Guide is now online. Registration will begin on Aug. 1 for Reston residents and employees and Aug. 8 for other individuals. A print guide will be delivered soon, but it will be condensed to just key information as the center looks to reduce its use of paper and carbon footprint. [RCC]
Summer is in full swing, and that means Reston Community Center is getting ready to welcome a new slate of candidates for its Board of Governors.
RCC announced yesterday (Monday) that it is now seeking candidates for its annual preference poll, which will kick off voting on Sept. 10 to fill three positions.
The nine-member Board of Governors determines RCC’s program and budget priorities, shapes policy, and represents the center at social, recreational, and cultural events in the community. Board members serve three-year terms and must be residents of Small District 5 who are at least 18 years old.
The filing period will open on Aug. 1.
Statement of candidacy forms will be available online and in-person at RCC’s Hunters Woods and Lake Anne facilities. Candidates must submit a form by 5 p.m. on Aug. 15 to get their name on the preference poll ballot.
All residents and businesses in Small District 5 can vote in the poll starting Sept. 10 until 5 p.m. on Oct. 1, though mail-in ballots can only be counted if they are received by 5 p.m. on Sept. 30. Voters also have the option to cast their ballot online or in-person.
RCC Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road) will host a candidate forum on Sept. 9 at 6:30 p.m. The event will also be broadcast on RCC’s Facebook Live feed.
Photo via Reston Community Center/Facebook
As the world awakens from its plague-induced slumber, Reston Town Center and a Herndon theater company have been conjuring the forms of things unknown and working to turn them into shapes.
The town center and NextStop Theatre Co. are collaborating on a new Theater in the Park initiative that will launch next spring with a production of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the amphitheater at Reston Town Square Park.
“We are very excited about it,” Reston Town Center Association executive director Robert Goudie said in an email, noting it will complement other programming, such as Sunday Art in the Park with the Shenandoah Conservatory and Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art, Lunchtime with the Arts at Mason, and family entertainment on Saturday mornings.
Scheduled to run from April 29 to May 1, 2022, the initiative’s inaugural performances have been in the works since before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Back then, the RTCA, NextStop, and Reston Community Center envisioned staging a contemporary version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” that families can enjoy.
“We all love the way this play can be interwoven with the audience, and the park amphitheater setting seemed the perfect forest,” Goudie wrote.
With the pandemic wiping out performance plans for fall 2020, organizers realized the outdoor setting could help provide a better environment for the show amid COVID-19 concerns. NextStop’s first indoor production with a live audience since the pandemic began premiered June 25.
“Theatres were one of the first types of businesses that had to close…and we are still only starting to crawl back,” said Evan Hoffmann, NextStop’s producing artistic director.
Hoffmann said the Reston Town Center project’s location and timing make the expected performance big, fun, and serendipitously exciting. Casting has not yet started, but the extended planning time is helping organizers get a head start.
The new initiative will kick off springtime cultural programming at Reston Town Center that typically includes the Tephra Fine Arts Festival in the third week of May, though it was rescheduled this year for Sept. 10-12. Last month, the town center held its first movie in the park.
“All of this reflects RTCA’s mission of, in part, supporting the arts (all consistent with Bob Simon‘s original vision for a completely community), something that we think helps differentiate Reston Town Center as a compelling destination,” Goudie wrote.
Photo via Google Maps
(Updated at 8:55 a.m. on 6/25/2021) The threat of COVID-19 is starting to dissipate, but some of the changes that the Reston Community Center implemented in response to the pandemic could be here to stay.
Despite the expenses associated with video production, the community center will continue to offer some hybrid programming going forward, letting people choose whether they want to participate in person or virtually, RCC Executive Director Leila Gordon says.
Gordon told the RCC Board of Governors when it met on June 7 that the reservation system put in place for drop-in activities after the community center reopened in July 2020 could also become a permanent fixture.
Before RCC started requiring reservations, some programs would attract more people than they could accommodate, leading to “squabbles” over space in a water aerobics class, for example, in the Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center lobby, according to Gordon.
The new system, which requires attendees to get a pass in advance, has alleviated those issues.
“This system now allows people to pick the time they want to come, to be assured that there will be space for them,” Gordon said. “They make a kind of appointment and commitment…So, some of those innovations are things that we will keep.”
Even with facilities closed for more than three months and many programs, including summer camps, canceled, RCC’s June 2021 Annual Report suggests this past year was a busy one, as staff continuously adjusted to the ever-changing conditions introduced by the pandemic.
RCC used the lull in on-site activities to address a host of capital projects, including minor upkeep that is normally confined to a two-week maintenance period each August.
Projects tackled in the last year include:
- A CenterStage renovation that put in a new carpet and an assistive listening system, while completely replacing the existing seating with the addition of 260 new seats
- RCC Lake Anne Wellness Studio floor replacement
- New safety features, such as clearer step delineation, and a new carpet for the Hunter Woods pool overlook
- Installation of new meeting room dividers at RCC Hunter Woods
- Installation of 12 data ports across the Lake Anne and Hunter Woods facilities to support livestreaming
RCC also tackled most of the remaining tasks on its aquatics center renovation, most recently replacing gutter grates in a process that was completed last Friday (June 18).
Gordon says the center will be closed for about 12 days at the end of August so the contractors can put in the final touches, including applying a protective coating to the gutter’s cement ceiling and calibrating the dehumidification unit.
RCC’s other priorities for the past year included supporting its community partners, maintaining communications with staff and patrons — particularly older individuals who might have felt especially isolated — and adapting programs and events to online or socially distanced settings. Read More
The Reston Community Center wants residents to share their leisure and recreational needs as well as their thoughts on social and racial equity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the pandemic temporarily stalled the effort, RCC launched a six-question survey on June 10 to get public input on its 2021-2026 strategic plan, which will guide the organization’s approach to funding and programming over the next five years.
RCC previously commissioned the University of Virginia to conduct a community survey in 2019. The goal of that survey was to gauge how people used the community center’s activities and facilities, along with their opinions on the possibility of a new Reston performing arts venue.
This new online survey will serve as a “kind of temperature check” on whether the issues identified in the 2019 survey “had been dramatically altered in any ways” by the pandemic, according to Reston Community Center executive director Leila Gordon.
RCC also plans to convene focus groups this summer to help craft the new strategic plan.
According to Gordon, the RCC Governing Board initially planned to meet in January to determine the core “pillars” of the strategic plan, but with Fairfax County seeing high COVID-19 transmission rates at the time, those discussions were postponed until April.
The board ultimately settled on six main themes for the strategic plan: facilities, equity, programs and services; community connections, communications, and stewardship and accreditation.
“Its goals and objectives will help us allocate resources, assess opportunities, establish priorities and hold ourselves accountable,” Gordon said.
One of the questions in the survey addresses social and racial equity issues in the community, asking, “How do you think RCC can help Reston continue to be a welcoming, inclusive and accessible place to live, work, learn and play?”
Gordon says RCC approaches social and racial equity from a variety of angles, from programs that deal with racism and related issues to an emphasis on diversity when it comes to hiring staff.
However, former police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020 and the nationwide protests for racial justice that followed that summer served as a reminder that more work needs to be done.
“RCC has had programming focusing on racial and social equity for several years as an outgrowth of our long-time commitment to meaningful celebration of the King holiday, as well as honoring the values established by [Reston founder] Bob Simon at the outset of Reston’s creation,” Gordon said in an email. “With the response to the murder of George Floyd, it was clear that this journey for the community, county and country is far from over.”
After the survey closes on July 16, RCC will hold focus group meetings, which will include translation services for people the survey was unable to reach, to get feedback on the identified themes the survey discusses. A follow-up presentation from the University of Virginia will take place July 26.
Staff will draft the strategic plan and finalize it with the community center’s board in September, when the public will be able to weigh in on the plan itself.
The final plan is slated to be approved at the board’s Oct. 4 meeting.
Photo via Reston Community Center/Facebook
Police Seek Help in Search for Missing Lorton Woman — Fairfax County police are offering a $20,000 reward for information about the disappearance of 72-year-old Lorton resident Emily Lu, who was last seen at an Aldi in Woodbridge on June 3. Homicide detectives are now involved in the case, as police suspect foul play. [WTOP]
Woman Robbed at Herndon ATM — “Town of Herndon Police are investigating a robbery that took place recently at an ATM on Elden Street, according to the weekly crime report. Around 8:30 a.m., on June 5, a woman told police she was at an ATM in the 300 block of Elden Street when to people approached her and demanded money.” [Patch]
Attorney General Nominees Hold First General Election Debate — Incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring and Republican challenger Jason Miyares each presented the other’s vision as “radical wrong turns” for Virginia in a debate yesterday, the first since the Democratic primary wrapped up last week. Herring highlighted his support for police reform and stricter gun regulations, while Miyares criticized his opponent as having “a criminal first, victim last mind-set.” [The Washington Post]
Reston Community Center Recognizes Volunteers — “We love our RCC volunteers! Thank you for all that you do to build community. We enjoyed being with you June 12 for the Volunteer Appreciation celebration.” [RCC/Instagram]
Reston Hospital Gives Scholarships to Local Students — South Lakes High School students Virag Ellen Murphy and Emma Lynch are among 16 high school seniors in Fairfax and Loudoun counties to receive scholarships from Reston Hospital Center. The hospital’s medical staff awards $13,000 in scholarships every year to local high schools in support of students who plan to pursue a career in health care. [HCA Virginia]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr