As Reston Association’s board of directors finalize the budget for next year, a proposal by a board member to shift nearly $550,000 from the upkeep of baseball, softball and soccer fields to tennis projects is drawing ire from some Restonians.
Mike Sanio, board secretary and at-large board member is seeking to move $551,780 in funds to help fund eight tennis capital projects, including $514,700 in currently proposed funding for baseball, softball and soccer fields. The remaining $37,080 would come from last year’s deferred dollars.
Sanio urged RA to reprogram funds to fully address “the historic shortage of money” to maintain RA’s tennis courts, noting that the program provided a nearly 74 percent recovery rate for operating costs this year. In an Oct. 30 email, he questioned why RA subsidizes programs that it does not operate, including $155,000 for backstops and fencing at Browns Chapel. The current $127,000 two-year capital budget for tennis largely covers color coating.
“Our core recreational responsibilities are to sufficiently fund swimming, tennis, pathways, playgrounds, multipurpose courts, and lakes. It is not to fund sports run by independent organizations that have their own sources of revenue,” he wrote.
Local community groups, including the Reston-Herndon Little League, plan to oppose the recommendation.
“We are very concerned over the potential motion to reprogram funds from baseball, softball and soccer entirely over to tennis. We strongly believe there is enough funds to make sure members of our community can play on safe playing surfaces no matter which activity they choose to partake in. While we have always advocated for baseball fields to be improved, we would never do so at the complete expense of another activity that so many children and members of our community enjoy. We are hopeful that the RA board feels the same way,” said Tim Jones, the league’s president.
The board will meet on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the proposal, which is a fraction of RA’s overall capital and operating budgets. The board is also set to pass those budgets this Thursday.
The board will formally decide on a motion to review each of Sanio’s requests and provide a report to the board about the feasibility of funding prioritized projects to the board by February. Staff noted RA’s capital projects team has not yet reviewed projects suggested by Sanio.
Mike Leone, RA’s director of communications and community engagement, said the board aware of the community’s concerns and noted that final versions of the motions, the draft versions of which are available online, have not been finalized.
By a 3-2 vote in late October, the board approved up to $295,000 in improvements for North Hills tennis courts in response to concerns like limited lightning in the evenings and major cracks that run along the court. White and Bowman voted against the line item.
The board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). The meeting will also be streamed on Reston Association’s YouTube channel.
Toll Road Ramp Detour Starts This Weekend — The ramp from the eastbound Dulles Toll Road to the Fairfax County Parkway will be diverted through the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride parking lot. The detour is expected to remain in place through 2017 to allow Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project crews to perform utility and road work on the ramp. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]
Wombat Hoax Spreads on Twitter — A Twitter account posing as Roer’s Zoofari has been claiming this week that a wombat escaped from the zoo. A lot of people fell for the gag. [Reston Patch]
Trip to Pro Tennis Match Slated — Reston Association will have a group outing Tuesday night to see Martina Hingis and the Washington Kastles face the New York Empire. [Reston Association]
Sobriety Checkpoint Saturday Night — Police departments from Fairfax and Loudoun counties will be working together at a sobriety checkpoint Saturday night from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Centreville/Chantilly area. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Colts Neck Tennis Courts Closed — Drainage work and resurfacing at the courts will have them closed for about a month. [Reston Association/Twitter]
More Work on Toll Road This Weekend — Overnight work is planned tonight through Monday between Fairfax County Parkway and Reston Parkway, as crews continue construction of the Reston Town Center Metrorail station in the median of the Dulles Access Highway. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]
Free Smoothie for National Flip Flop Day — Tropical Smoothie Café (11684 Plaza America Drive) is giving a free Sunshine Smoothie to anyone who comes in wearing flip flops between 2 and 7 p.m. today. Blaire from “The Jack Diamond Morning Show” will be there as well. [Mix 107.3/Twitter]
Teen Star Talks About Growing Up in Reston — Jacob Sartorius says he faced a lot of bullying in school. The 14-year-old is becoming a sensation, though, with 14 million followers on the app Musical.ly, 7 million followers on Instagram and more than 2 million subscribers to his YouTube channel. [Asbury Park Press]
A Reston Association recreation area is in need of repair after a vehicle crash over the weekend.
Don Gotthardt of the Fairfax County Police Department says the incident that damaged the Barton Hill Recreation Area took place just after 6:15 p.m. Saturday.
The Barton Hill tennis courts have been closed for resurfacing since last week, and they were unoccupied at the time of the crash. There is a good deal of property damage that will need to be fixed, however.
“We had damage to the Barton Hill Recreation sign, a trash can was demolished and the entry gate was badly damaged,” said Mike Leone, RA’s communications director. “Our original plan was to reopen the courts June 15, but that date may change because we now have to wait for the fence contractors to provide us with a repair timeline.”
Majority Say They’ll Go to RTC — With our story Wednesday about changes to parking fees at Reston Town Center, we posted a poll asking whether those changes will make readers more likely to visit the Town Center. With nearly 900 votes on the unscientific poll, about two-thirds of responders said they would. [Reston Now]
Herndon Festival Starts Tonight — The 37th annual festival will run tonight through Sunday in downtown Herndon. Several streets, including Elden Street, will be closed throughout the event. Free parking and shuttle buses will be provided to get to the festivities. [Herndon Festival]
Community Center Board Meets Monday — The Reston Community Center Board of Governors will continue the decision-making process regarding the budget outline for FY19, and possible timelines for capital projects including the proposed renovation of the Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center, Monday at 8 p.m. at RCC (2310 Colts Neck Road). The annual public hearing for programs and budget is slated for Monday, June 19. [Reston Community Center]
Barton Hill Tennis Courts Closed — Reston Association says the courts are being resurfaced, and it is hoped they will be reopened by mid-June. [Reston Association/Twitter]
Halogen Lamp Starts Fire — A blaze earlier this week south of Reston caused about $125,000 in damages after a lamp in the basement ignited nearby combustibles. Two residents of the home have been displaced. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
Tennis court upgrades, a proposed agenda item for the February meeting of the Reston Association Board of Directors, could cost nearly $800,000.
Garrett Skinner, RA’s director of capital projects, will bring the item before the RA’s Board Operations Committee at their meeting tonight. The BOC reviews and sets agenda items for the Board of Directors.
According to information provided in the agenda packet for tonight’s BOC meeting:
“During its December 15, 2016 meeting, Vice President [Michael] Sanio noted that tennis amenities are in need of improvement and requested that the board consider developing cost estimates for improvements including lighting, bathroom access and drinking fountains. The attached lighting and bathroom access cost estimates are based historical data and submitted costs from contractors. Costs for water fountains are rough estimates based on extrapolated estimates from Fairfax Water and unit cost estimation for construction. More concrete estimates will need to be developed based on design criteria needed for each location.”
Reston has 13 tennis facilities, six of which are lighted. The proposal has prioritized the five most in need of improved bathroom access; four most in need of improved water fountains; and four most in need of improved lighting, concurrent with planned court renovations.
The Shadowood facility (2201 Springwood Drive) is listed as Priority 1 for each category.
The cost estimates show improved lighting could cost a total of $624,000. The upgrades to water fountains and bathrooms could cost $108,000 and about $50,000, respectively.
Skinner will also give an update to the BOC on the status of the Central Services facility renovation. Scheduled to cost about $1.6 million, the project was put on hold last year pending review of the Tetra/Lake House purchase.
Pending BOC approval, the items will be placed on the agenda of the Feb. 23 meeting of the Board of Directors.
Graph via Reston Association
Registration is still open for Reston Association’s fourth annual Rally for a Cause Tennis Tournament Sept. 19 and 20 at Lake Newport Tennis.
Entry is $30, and proceeds go to the charity of your choice: the USTA Foundation’s Warrior Tennis, which develops curriculum for rehabilitation through tennis for wounded, ill and injured military service members; or Cornerstones/Laurel Learning Center in Reston.
The event will feature brackets for 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0 and above players, competing in men’s and women’s doubles and singles matches. Entry guarantees each player two matches with awards, raffle prizes and participation t-shirts.
Entry is open to all tennis players, regardless of USTA membership.
Last year’s event hosted 70 players and raised $3,750 for our charity organizations, Reston Tennis says.
Photo courtesy Reston Tennis via Facebook