A Reston Association committee is pushing for the renovation of Shadowood Recreation Area, an aging facility with a 20-meter pool that has been closed for more than two years.
The Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee is formally recommending that RA reopen the pool after completing renovations that will boost pool usage.
“Top amenities for increased enjoyment especially include lengthening of the pool to provide for standard lap lanes,” committee chair Julie Bitzer wrote in a Jan. 9 memo.
The committee is also suggesting other additions like slides, a play area, bigger bathrooms and a hot tub. Other recommendations include improving the appearance of the pool, maintaining comfortable water temperature in the pool and on the deck side, and renaming the facility from Shadowood to South Lakes.
The committee also cautioned that future investment in all RA pools should be considered in concert with the whole facility, not just the pool, and with a specific eye toward enhancing the “desirability” of RA’s facilities.
RA’s Board of Directors is expected tot discuss the issue at a meeting this Thursday.
Recommendations were made after RA completed a community survey and launched a public feedback period last year.
Plans to replace Shadowood pool with a different use or new facility are officially out the door.
A community survey found that most residents want Reston Association to upgrade and renovate the aging pool, which has been closed because major repairs are needed.
“The general conclusion is that the community wants to keep the pool,” said committee member John Farrell.
A resounding 77 percent of the survey’s 467 respondents said they want the pool to reopen as or with renovations. Respondents also want RA to clean up the pool — debris and pine needs often float at the surface — and improve its curb appeal. Other options for improvements include ensuring there’s enough area for shade and sun and adding lap lanes.
At a board meeting last week, RA’s Board of Directors unanimously approved a motion directing staff to begin preliminary engineering and feasibility studies for the renovation project.
A tentative completion date for the renovation project was set for the summer of 2023. Board member Caren Anton cautioned that this date was an estimate.
In September, RA courted public input on the future of the pool and recreation area. The pool is one of four pools that are on the bill for repurposing because of low usage.
The board and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee have also discussed the issue. Board members lauded parks and recreation staff for what they said was extensive outreach.
Outreach was conducted by volunteers and staff, not data analysis or professional researchers.
The discussion follows a long-anticipated evaluation of RA’s recreational facilities. The study by the Recreational Facility Work Group found a major increase in funding is needed to address capital improvement work at decades-old facilities.
A motion by board member Sarah Selvaraj-D’souza directing staff to move the project forward was unanimously approved by the board Thursday.
RA has been sitting on the funds in order to ensure adequate opportunity for community feedback was afforded, said acting CEO Larry Butler.
Selvaraj-D’souza noted that money has already been allocated in the 2021 budget and also wrapped into current budget talks.
“Just a repair will not really hold us through,” she said.
High Marks for Reston Drug Take-back — Officers collected more than 1,400 pounds of unused and expired medications on Saturday as part of the 21st annual national prescription drug take-back day. Reston Hospital Center collected 249 pounds, only behind the West Springfield district station, which collected 253 pounds. [FCPD]
Last Week for Early Voting — The last day for early voting is Friday. The county has 16 voting locations and every early voting site is open on weekdays from noon to 7 p.m., except the Fairfax County Government Center, where the hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]
Shadowood Pool Survey Results Coming — Reston Association’s Board of Directors and its parks and recreation advisory committee will hold a joint meeting tomorrow to discuss the results of a community survey on the future of Shadowood pool. The meeting begins online via Zoom at 6:30 p.m. [RA]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Reston Association is turning to the public to guide the future of the Shadowood Recreation Area.
The area, which is on Springwood Drive, houses an aging 20-meter pool that has been closed for two years. The 15-question survey asks residents about future plans for the aging facility. Options include renovation, replacing with a different recreational amenity, or reopening as is.
Shadowood is among four pools — including Golf Course Island, Newbridge and Tall Oaks — that are on the bill for repurposing due to low usage. Staff made the suggestion in May.
In-person open houses are planned at the closed pool on Sept. 25 at 11 a.m. and Sept. 26 at 1 p.m. A virtual meeting via Zoom is also planned on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. The survey will remain open through Nov. 1.
Suggested new uses for the pool include a park with a picnic area, playground, basketball court, sand volleyball, and a pavilion and grill.
RA is poised to spend around $40 million to run, maintain and address capital improvement needs on its 15 pools and more than 50 tennis courts.
The discussion follows a long-anticipated evaluation of RA’s recreational facilities. The study by the Recreational Facility Work Group found a major increase in funding is needed to address capital improvement work at decades-old facilities.
In an email, Mike Leone, RA’s spokesman, told Reston Now that RA’s Board of Directors will meet with the workgroup to review survey findings and other community feedback.
While no firm timeline has been set, the feedback will guide the development of next year’s capital and operating budgets.
“The board is interested in learning what members would like to see happen with the pool and that recreation area,” Leone said.
Pool usage has dropped by over 37 percent over the last decade, according to the workgroup. Over the last ten years, it has cost around $9.6 million to maintain and operate four of the now-closed pools with the least frequent usage as of 2019.
Reston Association will collect community feedback this summer about the potential “repurposing” of several community pools.
The process to go about doing this was discussed last week at a Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) meeting.
In May, RA staff recommended that four pools — Golf Course Island, Newbridge, Tall Oaks, and Shadowood — be “seriously considered for repurposing” due to low usage.
An online petition advocating against any pool closures has garnered more than 800 signatures, though there’s no guarantee that everyone who signed is an RA member or Reston resident.
RA maintains that there are currently no definite plans to close any pools, but the possibility is open depending on community response.
“RA is currently not planning the closure of any of our 15 community pools,” said at-large RA board member Tom Mulkerin, who is on PRAC, addressing what he called “rumors ” about pool closings. “Before any pool in the RA system is considered for closing or repurposing, the RA Board of Directors will go through a comprehensive community engagement process to determine what the community wants and needs.”
The PRAC committee was only recently reinstated after a year-long suspension at the recommendation of the Recreation Facilities Working Group.
At the beginning of the meeting, two RA members expressed their concern over the possible closing or repurposing of pools.
“All the pools…are beautiful gems,” said one. “The best use of the Tall Oaks pool is as a pool.”
Members of PRAC spoke at length about the best methods for gathering community feedback about what to do with the pools. Suggestions included attending in-person cluster meetings and using social media as well as more informal feedback and data gathering.
Currently, both Shadowood and Tall Oaks are closed due to planned capital improvements and are in need of extensive repairs. It could cost upwards of $250,000 to do those renovations, making the need for community feedback on those facilities particularly urgent.
PRAC members questioned if it was appropriate to spend that money now, especially in midst of RA’s budget crunch, if it remains unclear what members really want.
RA CEO Hank Lynch also expressed the need to gather feedback quickly since these renovations are scheduled to be done soon. He also noted that it is important to figure out why these particular pools have low usage.
In response, PRAC will immediately start reaching out to close-by clusters to gather data and feedback.
Committee members also expressed concerns about the believed need to make all RA pools an “attraction” or “destination pool” with water slides and other highly-valued amenities. This could drive up renovation costs and lead to members wanting them to be repurposed.
However, a potential compromise could be to simply make Tall Oaks or Shadowwood a wading pool or another facility with more basic features, as opposed to investing more money. The pools would then be available for lap swimming, swim teams, and even rentals to nearby daycares.
Lynch said that whatever decision is made about the pools, it has to be one that the community will continue to be okay with decades into the future.
“When you restore a pool, it’s designed to last [minimum] 30 years,” said Lynch. “The question is what do we do now, the community will have to support and embrace for the next 30 years.”
RA staff said there is already a working draft of a survey that asks residents about their recreation habits and pool usage. It will be released to the public in the coming weeks.
(Updated at 2:30 p.m. on 5/19/2021) Reston Association staff is recommending that four pools be “seriously considered for repurposing” due to low usage.
Pool usage will be discussed at a joint work session with the RA board and Recreation Facilities Working Group on Thursday (May 20), along with budgetary recommendations based on findings that the working group presented in late February.
Two decades of data that RA CEO Hank Lynch will present at the work session show that Golf Course Island, Newbridge, Tall Oaks, and Shadowood pools all have lower usage compared to RA’s 11 other pools.
As a result, staff recommends that RA consider “repurposing” the facilities. Tall Oaks and Shadowood are both currently closed for ongoing capital improvement projects.
With pools now open for the 2021 season, the staff recommendations come on the heels of a year-long evaluation by the recreation facilities work group that found a number of decades-old facilities are in need of work and repairs.
The group noted in its report that funding for these capital projects may not be sustainable without a significant increase in members’ annual assessment.
Over the next decade, RA is scheduled to spend about $40 million to operate, maintain, and address capital improvement needs on its 15 pools and more than 50 tennis courts, according to Thursday’s work session presentation.
When asked to comment about what could happen to these specific pools, RA spokesperson Mike Leone told Reston Now in an email that their fate has yet to be determined:
The Facility Working Group’s work session is simply the start of the process. During the work session participants will review the Recreation & Facilities Working Group findings and recommendations on RA’s recreation facilities and the long term operational, maintenance and capital costs for such facilities. ‘Repurposing’ of some facilities may be a consideration and any decision to do so down the road, will require significant community input and discussion, involve RA’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee and would be the decision of the Board of Directors.
When asked if “repurposing” could mean the potential closing of those pools, Leone demurred.
“‘Repurposing’ could mean reimaging the space for a different type of amenity or use of interest to members,'” he wrote.
In general, pool usage has dropped by about 37% over the last decade, according to the work group’s data. Every pool except for Dogwood and Glade has seen a decrease in usage since 2010.
The four pools that have seen the least frequent usage as of 2019, Golf Course Island, Newbridge, Tall Oaks, and Shadowood were all built between 1969 and 1976, making them three to four decades old. It has cost about $9.6 million in total to maintain and operate them over the last 10 years.
In total, RA has spent about $33 million on pool maintenance and operations since 2010.
Budgetary concerns and lower usage aside, a number of community members told Reston Now that they want those four pools to remain open, saying they value their neighborhood pools and believe that recent usage statistics alone do not tell the full story.
Golf Course Square Cluster Association President Elmer Reinhardt says that 400 units would be affected by the repurposing or closing of the Newbridge pool.
“Newbridge pool is the only pool in Reston that you don’t have to cross a through-street to get to it,” he said. “The children can walk to that pool without ever crossing a highway, and we think that’s important.”
A resident of the community for more than 40 years, Reinhardt says he believes the recent lower usage has more to do with the population being cyclical.
“We’re seeing a huge influx of young families into our neighborhoods now and those are the ones that use the pools,” he said.
He argues that it would be shortsighted to make a decision to repurpose or close certain pools based just on recent data.
“[The demographics] change every 10 to 15 years. One year, you’ll only see wheelchairs being pushed on the sidewalks and, the next, only strollers,” he said.
RA has recently renovated several of their pools, including an ongoing and much-discussed $3.5 million facelift for Lake Thoreau. This spring, Glade pool’s slide was resurfaced, and new lighting was added.
The presentation suggests that a “seasonal indoor racket sports facility should be considered,” along with amenities sought by new RA members.
Currently, a conversation about pools is currently not on the agenda for the RA Board of Directors meeting on May 27, Leone confirms.
However, there remains a possibility that it could be added to the agenda prior to the meeting, and members can discuss it during the meeting’s comment period if they wish.
Photo courtesy Reston Association
Reston Association is considering opening more pools to the public as four pools begin some operations today (Monday).
If state health orders and funding allow, the association may open at least two more facilities by September.
But pools at Lake Audubon, Shadowood, and Uplands will remain closed this year– in addition to pre-planned closures at Lake Thoreau and North Shore due to ongoing construction projects.
“We will open as many pools as we possibly can, when can we can, based on the rules and resources we have,” said RA CEO Hank Lynch at a meeting late last week.
Lake Audubon and Shadowood will remain closed. Plans to replace the plaster last year were delayed “during budget development with hopes of it lasting until 2021,” according to a staff presentation. Loss of revenue from member fees due to COVID-19 also complicated funding efforts.
Uplands pool will also remain closed due to delayed work on a roof project. Delays with RA’s Design Review Board were also caused by the pandemic.
Members and nonmembers can purchase pass options at half price beginning July. Recreation passes, which include tennis, pickleball and pools, have brought in roughly $117,00 in revenue between this year. Full refunds are also available to those who request them.
At the meeting, Laura Kowalski, RA’s director of recreation and environmental resources, stressed that decisions about pools and other facilities are fluid due to changing recommendations from health officials and the state.
Currently, pools at Glade, Golf Course Island, Lake Newport, and Newbridge are opening for lap swimming and fitness classes only. Other pools may open in the coming weeks. Spas, hot tubs, and water park features are closed due to state orders.
Photo via Reston Association/YouTube
Several Reston Association pools were closed over the weekend due to vandalism.
Vandals hit pools including Newbridge, Dogwood, Ridge Heights, Shadowood and Lake Thoreau, said RA spokesman Mike Leone. No major physical damage was reported.
The most significant vandalism happened at Glade Pool. RA staff worked to remove feces found in the pool over the weekend, Leone said.
The pool was closed an additional day to ensure the water was free of contaminants, per the county’s health guidelines.
The closure of the pool today comes as RA switches to season four of its pool schedule. It is expected to reopen tomorrow (Tuesday) at 11 a.m.
Leone described the vandalism at other pools as “minor.” Staff quickly worked to remove items that were thrown into the pools, which resumed regular operations on Sunday.
The Shadowood tennis courts, which are located on Springwood Drive, will be closed for repairs beginning Monday (September 10).
Reston Association expects the courts to reopen on or around October 1. Routine maintenance, which includes court cleaning and cracks repair, will be completed during the closure. A fresh coat of paint will also be applied to all four courts.
Mike Leone, RA’s director of communications and community engagement, said the courts “will look like new” once the work is completed.
Other tennis facilities in Reston are open and a complete list is available online.
Tammi Petrine, a community advocate, challenged current director Julie Bitzer for her South Lakes District seat at a Reston Association candidate forum Tuesday night.
Critical decisions regarding public amenities took center stage at the forum, including whether or not to close Shadowood Pool – the most underutilized pool in Reston – and the Lake Thoreau Pool – which requires nearly $1 million in repairs.
Petrine said she would need to gather more information and conduct a stakeholder analysis by speaking with residents before reaching a final decision. She also stated the need to issue multiple bids for projects to ensure RA gets the best deal for services.
“The pools are an amenity that people in Reston expect. At the same time, we have to analyze carefully how they’re used and why or why not they’re not used,” Petrine said.
Bitzer said the board will have to decide whether or not to keep Lake Thoreau’s pool open next year, although she noted that residents she spoke with want to keep the pool open. She also plans to propose a measure to conduct a needs analysis of Reston’s pools.
As RA struggles to strike a balance between capital spending priorities like indoor tennis and soccer, Bitzer said the community should look into public-private partnerships like installing a tennis academy at Hidden Creek Country Club with special benefits for RA members.
In contrast, Petrine took a hard stance against funding indoor tennis for what she said was a “small demographic” and a mere “commercial activity,” especially because the community is “fighting for our lives with density” and aging infrastructure.
“An absolute no,” she said.
Frustrations on limited county resources, including the beleaguered call for a recreation center, for Reston were high at the forum. Petrine said she is “100 percent furious” that the Hunter Mill District is left out of the county.
Similar concerns arose in the candidates’ discussion around a controversial plan to increase Reston’s population density as major developments come in the pipeline.
“My gut reaction is: where is the infrastructure you promised me when you put in the Metro?” Bitzer questioned. She said she opposes the population density increase and was appalled about Reston’s lack of workforce housing.
Petrine, who has been instrumental in organizing the Coalition for a Planned Reston, a grassroots organization opposing the plans, said she has taken steps to fight back against the plans “in defense of our balanced community.” She encouraged community members to raise their voice in opposition, noting her experience in observing the intersection between RA and other stakeholders.
“The only thing that matters to our supervisor is mass agreement by citizens that this is not what we want in Reston,” she said.
Both candidates took similar stances on the need to utilize the Lake House. Bitzer suggested adding programming for aquatics and fishing education, similar to the Walker Nature Center.
“Not everything should cost you to use something you own,” she said.
They also posed similar ideas on how to ensure the board operates as an effective and respectful governing body.
Bitzer said holding “open houses” was a sign of respect. “It’s respectful of our community, not just board behavior,” she said.
Petrine is running on a slate with Travis Johnson, Sridhar Ganesan and John Bowman. When asked if it offered her an unfair advantage, she defended the move, which she said was logical given the candidates’ shared views, common goals and commitment to Reston’s core principles.
Bitzer, who described herself as self-funded candidate, said the issue of slate candidates is a fairly new development that has prompted questions by community members. Unlike the slate candidates who sent mailings to constituents, Bitzer said she could not afford major print distributions.
Instead, she will host a public listening session on March 13 at the Walker Nature House.
Click here to view video statements or read candidate statements. Profiles on Petrine and Bitzer are also on our website.
Photo by Reston Association
The property manager of Shadowood Condominiums has prepared an item-by-item response to concerned condo owners, who have been passing around a list of 30 issues as the board election at Reston’s largest condo neighborhood approaches.
The residents’ complaints range from secrecy among the condo board to crime to poor upkeep, among others. See the full list in this previous Reston Now article.
Theresa Zivanovic, Shadowood’s General Manger, says she also shares some of the concerns as she is a resident of the complex.
However, she said the list of complaints contains a number of “statements that are just factually wrong.”
Read the full letter from management below.
A group of Shadowood Condominium owners say they are fed up with mismanagement at the 450-unit development and are mobilizing for new directors to run for the condo board in March.
Shadowood has had a history of issues over the last several years, including a case in 2012 about the limits of the board to impose fines and rules on owners. That case went all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court.
There was also a political battle in 2012, when condo owner Brian Olivia headed the board and ran “Shadowood in a manner that caused Shadowood to to sue him last year to recover damages for harm down to Shadowood,” current board chair Tom Summakie said in an email to owners.
More than half the units are occupied by renters, so most owners live off-site. Nearly two dozen units are owned by Fairfax County, which offers them as Section 8 housing.
A group that calls themselves “Concerned Co-Owners at Shadowood” has sent a list to other owners of 30 complaints about the neighborhood and its board.
“Are you fed up with or even know that these things may be occurring?” the email reads. It points out that the community website has not been updates in more than a year, that the board dos not communicate with residents, that rules are not enforced and that common areas and properties are dilapidated, among other complaints. Read More
This week, Reston Now will highlight some of the most read-stories of 2015. The second-most read story this year was the shooting in May at Shadowood that left one man dead.
An otherwise quiet Sunday afternoon turned deadly last May when a fight broke out on Stoneview Square at Shadowood Condominiums in Reston.
First reported by police as a home invasion, it later was determined a group of men who knew one another got into a fight. One person fired a gun. A man was dead and another injured.
Rashad Kejuan Daye, 24, was killed in the altercation at the residence of Kevin Baldwin, 22. Baldwin was not charged in the incident, police said, because the shot was fired in self defense in his home.
Others are facing charges, though the death is not being investigated as a homicide.
Jalan Merrill, 21, of Herndon, was charged with robbery and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Also arrested were Eddie Rodriquez, 22, of Woodbridge, and South Lakes High School student Dominique May, 18, of Reston. Both were charged with robbery and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Whether to pursue May’s and Rodriguez’s cases are still being pursued by a Fairfax County Grand Jury. Merrill’s was considered Nolle Prosequi (the case will not continue) by a judge several months ago.