Reston, VA

Reston Association has begun reopening some of its tennis and pickle ball courts as Northern Virginia continues in week one of Gov. Ralph Northam’s reopening plan.

So far, RA had adopted a phased approach that is expected to change in response to different guidelines offered by the state and Fairfax County.

Beginning tomorrow, the courts at Colts Neck, Barton Hill, Newbridge, Uplands and Upper lakes will be open at half capacity.  Most of RA’s courts opened on May 30, with restrictions in place such as no lighted play after 9 p.m.

Here’s more from RA on decision-making approaches to determine openings:

Reston Association will use a phased approach to open tennis and pickleball courts as our region moves between phases outlined by state and local governments. Multiple factors have been considered in planning the reopening to include: information and requirements from state and local government officials, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) United States Tennis Association (USTA) and USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), area agency plans and the professional opinion of RA staff to operate in this environment.

The following is a breakdown of what’s open: 

If social distancing guidelines are not followed, RA will close facilities.

Photo via RA

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Reston Association is planning to open some tennis and pickleball courts if Northern Virginia begins phase one of its reopening plan on May 29.

At a board meeting last night (Thursday), RA CEO Hank Lynch said that the responsibility of enforcing rules will fall on the tennis community.

“We are looking at how to open up our tennis facilities in a way that would keep social distancing in mind,” Lynch said. Only 14 tennis courts and two pickleball courts — the names of which have not been released yet — will reopen during phase one. Courts will remain open from dawn to 9 p.m.

The following procedures, among others, will be followed:

  • Social distancing and maximum gathering requirements (groups of less than 10)
  • Minimizing high-touch areas in high traffic areas like entry gates, benches, and equipment
  • Some nets will be lowered on courts to ensure there are large spaces between courts.

Staff said they will continue to consult local jurisdictions on how they plan to handle opening tennis courts, as well as guidelines issued by the United States Tennis Association and the American Pickleball Association.

Photo via Reston Association

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Reston Association is considering lighting improvements at Autumnwood, Hook Road and Lake Newport tennis courts.

The proposal includes replacing existing lights at the tennis courts in order to improve playing conditions during dusk and night hours, according to the proposal.

RA’s Design Review Board will consider the plan at a meeting today (Tuesday) at 6:30 p.m. at RA headquarters.

The proposal is based on recommendations from RA’s lighting workgroup. Lights will have “minimum light spillage, warm color temperatures, automated control, and energy-efficient LED technology,” according to the proposal.

If approved, the project would be completed by April 30. More information about the proposal is available online.

Photo via Reston Association

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Reston Association recently kicked off a comprehensive evaluation of its recreational facilities. The organization is seeking members for a new recreational facilities working group that will evaluate the current inventory, condition and usage of RA facilities.

Members who are interested in applying should do so by March 31. Interviews will be conducted by the Board Operations Committee on May 4 at 6:30 p.m. at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). The application is available online.

The workgroup is tasked with the following:

  • Evaluate the number, condition and use of facilities like pools, tennis, ballfields, playgrounds and pavilions
  • Review the long-term operational, maintenance and capital costs for RA facilities
  • Evaluate usage trends for RA facilities using existing data
  • Recommend to the board a process for closing or converting existing facilities to other uses.

The Park & Recreation Advisory Committee is temporarily suspended until Feb. 2021 as the new workgroup begins the analysis.

Photo courtesy Reston Association

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Reston Association’s tennis programs are getting a nod from a national organization next month.

The Professional Tennis Registry, a South Carolina-based organization that aims to educate and certify tennis teachers around the world, named RA the “Public Facility of the Year.”

Here’s more from RA on the award and its tennis offerings:

RA tennis programming had a solid 2019, with 550 junior (ages 3-17) lesson-takers from beginners to 4.5-level advanced players. More than 350 adults took lessons. RA works hand-in-hand with the USTA to hosts tournaments for all age groups and levels of play. More than 350 players participate in GWTA, NVTL, Reston Team Tennis and senior leagues. The associatioon also promotes tennis via its scholarship program.

RA has 52 tennis courts across more than 1,300 acres of land, including six permanent courts for children’s tennis.

PTR will present the award at a symposium in South Carolina next month.

Photo courtesy of RA

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The Herndon Town Council will consider increasing fees for indoor tennis programs and cremation at Chestnut Grove Cemetery later this year.

The council will consider a motion to increase fees for cremation at the park cremation garden and ground areas due to an increase in demand for cremation sites.

“While the site fees for the park area were reduced in 2017 due to underperformance, that adjustment achieved the desired result and salves have increased,” wrote Cindy Roeder, the town’s Director of Parks & Recreation. “It is now appropriate to make a modest upward adjustment to those rates to continue to maintain sufficient balance between costs, desirability, and long-term upkeep of the cemetery itself.” 

If approved, fees would increase from $2,195 to $2,700 on July 1. The proposed fee schedule is available online

The council will also consider a $2 increase for all hourly fees for residents and non-residents.

In a memo to the council, Roeder wrote that the increase would help the department “continue to offset all operating and personnel costs.” Fee increases for tennis programs are expected to go into effect in September.

The council meet’s tonight (Tuesday) at 7 p.m. in the Herndon Council Chambers building.

Image via Google Maps

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Thursday Morning Notes

Metro Ridership Increases — “Metrorail’s ridership growth trend can now be expressed in years, with the system posting a four-percent increase in passenger trips for the 2019 calendar year, ending a downward trend that lasted most of the prior decade. Total rail ridership was 182 million trips, compared to 175 million in 2018, a net increase of seven million trips, reflecting increasing customer confidence in Metro’s reliability and on-time performance.” [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Reston Indivisibles Join Protest at U.S. Senate — “Eleven members of Herndon-Reston Indivisible join other resisters in peaceful protest at the U.S. Senate to press for trial and removal of President Trump.” [The Connection]

Reston Association Pool and Tennis Passes For Sale — Passes for unlimited access to pools and tennis courts during the 2020 season are available for purchase online. [Reston Association]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Restonians will be able to see the North Hills Tennis Courts’ new renovation in the spring.

The Reston Association decided to remodel the courts as part of the Capital Project and will feature new LED lighting, a clay surface, an irrigation system and an after-hour bathroom entrance, according to the RA.

Reston Now received conflicting reports from RA staff whether the courts were already open for use, but Rob Tucker, RA’s tennis program manager, said that they are mostly complete and will be unveiled for use in April 2020 with a ribbon-cutting.

North Hills Tennis Courts received a ground-up renovation, according to Tucker, who said that the new facilities are state of the art and require a special water irrigation system.

The clay courts are maintained using what Tucker described as a “sponge that sits under the courts.” When the courts become dry, water is pumped into the underlayer so the courts don’t crack.

“It’s a premium system and about the best you can get,” he said.

Overall, Tucker said the project cost roughly $400,000.

The typical hard courts run by the Reston Association will be open year-round, according to Tucker, but the new clay courts will be open seasonally during warm weather months.

North Hills Tennis Courts are the first in Reston to receive upgraded LED lighting, Tucker said.

Photo via Reston Association

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Tuesday Morning Notes

‘Share a Haircut’ at Local Hair Cuttery Locations —If you bring a child up to 18 years of age to any local Hair Cuttery through August 15, the business will donate a free haircut certificate to children in the community. [Reston Patch]

North Hills Clay Tennis Courts Renovations In Progress — The clay courts are scheduled to reopen in the spring of 2020. [Reston Association]

Farmers & Makers Market is Today — Local artisans and farmers will offer a variety of items at the weekly market, which runs through November. It takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Reston Town Center. [Reston Town Center]

Photo by vantagehill/Flickr

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A new Reston Sports Council, which includes 13 representative organizations, is seeking to becoming a unified voice for the interests of the local sports community.

The council, which grew out of focus group discussions and meetings by Reston Association’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee in 2016 and 2017,  held its first meeting in February. Members involved the initiative presented updates to RA’s Board of Directors last week.

At the meeting, Jeremy Lee, the newly appointed chairman of the council and a Reston resident of more than 20 years, said the council is an independent entity and intends to speak as a single voice to RA the Fairfax County Park Authority and the county.

Organizers hope the council will also help sports organization — including those that are not formally organized — coordinate the use of RA facilities, consider bulk purchasing, review industry standards, and collaborate to solve shared challenges, according to Laura Kowalski, RA’s director of recreation and environmental education.

Former RA Board Director Jeff Thomas and current RA Board Director Julie Bitzer, who is also the board’s PRAC liaison, pushed for the formation of the council.

Bitzer, who lauded the initiative, said the council will be a productive way to ensure “all sports have a voice” and prevent one sport from dominating conversations.

Larry Butler, RA’s director of land use and planning, cautioned that only Reston-based organizations are allowed to use RA facilities based on RA’s resolutions and by-laws.

The council is in the process of developing its bylaws, operational procedures and website. It plans to hold monthly meetings that are open to all.

So far, the council serves 6,000 constituents involving in local sports, including Reston, Herndon and Great Falls.

Photo via Reston Association/YouTube

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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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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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A little more than half of Reston’s capital projects were finished this year, with the renovations of the North Hills tennis courts among the uncompleted projects.

Senior Capital Projects Operations Manager Chris Schumaker presented the Capital Projects 2018 Report to the Reston Association’s Board of Directors at the meeting last night (Dec. 13).

Forty-six of the 84 projects slated for 2018 were finished, including the Hook Road community engagement project, Lake Audubon dredging and the 2019 Reserve Study.

Schumaker said that rain and “difficult weather” delayed several projects. The tennis courts faced a “stumbling point” when a tree fell on the courts, he said.

By a 3-2 vote in late October of 2017, the board approved up to $295,000 in improvements for North Hills tennis courts in response to concerns about limited lightning in the evenings and major cracks that run along the court. 

Staff, users and industry professionals determined that the current funds wouldn’t cover the renovation’s cost, Schumaker said.

The irrigation system and court grades require a “significant modification” to ensure proper operation and quality of play for the next 30 years, along with lighting design changes.

The project jumped from an originally estimated cost shy of $300,000 to a new estimate just under $400,000. Schumaker said that the current cost estimated happened in the latter half of the third quarter.

The board debated on moving $95,500 of unused money from the Repair & Replacement Reserve Fund in the 2018 capital budget for the tennis courts.

RA At-Large Director Ven Iyer said that not sticking to the budget sends the wrong message and makes the RA look fiscally irresponsible.

Caren Anton, who represents Hunters Woods and Dogwood, said that using the money “is a no-brainer.”

“It’s unfortunate that the extent of the renovation was not identified accurately at the beginning,” Anton said. “The funds are there. I think it’s imperative that we take care of this to make the courts safe and more attractive to the senior tennis players.”

The board authorized the $95,500 and also authorized $52,300 from CAARF capital funds to pay for a small equipment lift, deep tine aerator and “winterization” pool covers for Ridge Heights and Shadowood facilities.

The 2018 projects cost an estimated $3.1 million and the projected carry-forward totals $2.25 million.

Photos via Reston Association/YouTube

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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.

File photo

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Thursday Morning Notes

Local police now armed with Narcan — In order to tackle the growing opioid epidemic, local police are now equipped with protective equipment that could reverse overdoses, including the popular use of Narcan. [Fairfax County Police Department]

If you’re a tennis fan — Reston Association is organizing a trip to the U.S. Open tennis championships on August 30. The trip is $190 for RA members and $200 for all others. [Reston Association]

Confession letter surfaces in the murder of Reston couple — “The alleged neo-Nazi teen accused of killing a Reston couple inside their home wrote a confession letter, ABC7 has learned. In new documents obtained in the case, the search warrant says the teenager “devolved in detail his actions on the night of this murder. Detectives believe the letter was mailed during the spring to a classmate at the Dominion School, which is now called the Kellar School.” [WJLA]

Photo submitted by Mike James

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