Following COVID-19’s effects on the wedding industry, Reston Association expects its Lake House amenity — a venue especially geared toward wedding events — will become more of a destination spot in coming years.
The community building — like other wedding and event venues — had revenue “significantly impacted” in 2020 but could bring in over $135,000 this year, according to the association. But it comes after RA has sunk millions of dollars into the property.
A wedding expo on Nov. 7 looks to feature the venue as well as vendors in the greater Washington area that offer entertainment, catering, bridal fashions, photography and cakes.
“The Wedding Expo is an opportunity to showcase The Lake House to not only Reston Association members but also others from the DMV looking to book their wedding or celebration at a beautiful lake view venue,” RA spokesperson Mike Leone said in a statement.
No new capital expenditures are planning in upcoming years, according to a capital projects plan; a dock could be added, but there are currently no plans to do so, Leone also stated.
RA projects operating revenues to increase to $185,000 in 2022 and $195,000 in 2023, according to a budget draft, while the association seeks to reduce costs to around $39,100 and $40,600 for those years.
The capital projects plan, which was presented last month and runs from 2022-2026, notes the following:
The Lake House, which was built in 1983, purchased by RA in 2015, and then renovated in 2015, facilitates as a community rental building for RA. The 3.47-acre property … is located immediately adjacent to Lake Newport and offers lakeside views to members and guests. It is ideally suited for small to mid-sized weddings and celebrations, corporate functions, workshops, conferences, and private functions with a capacity size of 145 people. … Future plans for this facility include the addition of a dock extending from the covered deck into Lake Newport, an event tent, and a dedicated public address system.
The facility has drawn controversy throughout the years after the association bought it for $2.6 million in 2015 and repairs were three times more than expected, leading to an independent review of the asset.
The RA Board of Director could pursue the dock addition in upcoming budgets, though, including the current budget.
A first public hearing on the budget is scheduled for Wednesday, followed by meetings on the process throughout October before a second public hearing on Nov. 10.
The board is slated to approved the budget and set the assessment for 2022 on Nov. 18.
At tonight’s Reston Association Board Meeting, attendees can expect discussion on a variety of topic such as the 2019 budget, planning for future community events and forward looking plans for things like RA facility maintenance and bus routes.
The meeting is expected to begin at 6:30 p.m. and presentations from speakers are likely to begin around 7:25, according to the online agenda.
For the 37th Annual Reston Triathlon, which will take place in September, event organizers are requesting permission to use Lake Audubon and the Lake Audubon Pool Facilities for the swim portion of the event and swim to bike transition area, according to RA documentation.
Later in the meeting, the RA is expected to approve easements of a common area along Wiehle Avenue near the southern intersection with North Shore Drive for the installation of Fairfax County for a bus stop facility.
Resurfacing from 2017, another key topic of this meeting will be a review of StoneTurn’s recommendations for RA policies, which will help the organization to run more smoothly, according to RA.
Lastly, RA will discuss a plan to refurbish and maintain many of its amenities and facilities by conducting a facilities’ review and analysis.
RA community members are also welcome to share their thoughts with the board during the meeting. Individuals will be given three minutes to speak and those representing a group or homeowners association will have five minutes.
Image via RA
Enjoy Fireworks Safely — Any firework that explodes, emits a flame or sparks higher than 12 feet is prohibited by the county’s fire prevention code. The county’s emergency divisions offer tips on how to use fireworks and note that even the possession of unapproved fireworks is prohibited in the county. [Fairfax County Government]
Farmers and Makers Market Today — The market returns to Reston Town Center at 10 a.m. today with a mix of items like fresh produce, meat, honey and vintage items. It is scheduled to run until November, but an end date has not been finalized yet. [Reston Town Center]
Wine Tasting at the Lake House — Enjoy a sunset and a wine-filled evening at the Lake House on Tuesday, July 23 from 5:30-7 p.m. Registration is $23 for Reston Association members and $28 for all others. [Reston Association]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
The Reston Historic Trust & Museum’s annual home tour is back for its 17th year tomorrow. Participants can take tours of six Reston homes that have undergone major redesigns.
Homes on the tour include a 1968 Dutch Colonial in South Reston and Reston Town Center’s Signature apartments. Tickets can be purchased online today and will need to be purchased at Reston Museum on the day of the tour. All proceeds benefit the Reston Historic Trust & Museum.
If historic house hopping isn’t your cup of tea, there’s still plenty to do in the area this weekend, including a Fall Carnival and Farm Harvest Day this weekend at Frying Pan Farm Park:
(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.)
- Bring light to the darkness of cancer through today’s Northern Virginia Light The Night Walk from 5-9 p.m. The annual walk seeks to raise funds for blood cancer research. All registered walkers will get an illuminated lantern.
- It’s not too late to sign up for a trip to the Ronald Reagan building today from 5:45-10:30 p.m. to see the Capitol Steps perform live. Registration is $52 for Reston Association members and $62 for all others.
- Another tour is set for Saturday from 10 to 3 p.m. RA is offering a bus tour for newcomers to Reston. The tour begins and ends at The Lake House.
- Simon’s Junction will play at Lake Anne Plaza in front of Reston’s Used Book Shop on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Greater Reston Arts Center is hosting an art panel about art school on Saturday from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday. Panelists include art educators from George Mason University, Northern Virginia Community College and local county schools.
- Yes, Halloween is just around the corner. Author Sue Fliess will read from and sign her new book, Haunted Halloween, on Saturday at Scrawl Books at 11 a.m.
- Award-winning author Alfredo Del Arroyo will present his book Martes de Infamia: y Otros dias fatales, and poet and novelist Fernando Gudiel will present several of his works, in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month on Saturday from 2-3:30 p.m. at Reston Regional Library.
- Enjoy an afternoon of dance at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods on Sunday from 2:30-4:30 p.m. The event is open to ages 18 and up. Western country dance is up from 5:30-8 p.m.
- You can also go on a (free!) search for birds in Reston on Sunday from 7:30-10:30 a.m. at Bright Pond. The walk is sponsored by the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and The Bird Feeder store.
- Later in the day on Sunday, you can take a family trip to Corn Maze in the Plains, a five-acre corn maze that includes entertaining outdoor activities. Reston Association is organizing transportation to the event on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets, which cover the event fee and transportation, are $18 for all participants.
- But if you’d rather listen to a lecture about the history of World War II on Sunday, you can do so at Reston Regional Library from 2-4 p.m. Professor Harry Butowsky will be presenting.
Photo via Reston Historic Trust & Museum
The window for spring cleaning may be over, so there’s no harm in taking advantage of some deals (and possibly steals) from your neighbors at tomorrow’s Reston Community Yard Sale from 8:30 a.m. to noon.
Around 85 families are signed up to sell a mix of items at the event, which is located in the parking lot behind 1900 Campus Commons Drive and organized by Reston Association. But before you head out, make sure to check RA’s website and social media for updates in the event of cancellation due to rain. A tentative rain date has been set for Sunday.
Earlier this week, organizers announced that ChalkFest at Reston Town Center, a popular event for amateur and professional artists alike, was canceled due to the rain forecast. The event will not be rescheduled. In any case, there’s still plenty to do in Reston over the weekend:
(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.)
- Between noon and 5 p.m. this weekend, you can drop in at the Reston Art Gallery & Studios (11500 Washington Plaza West) to take a look at art created by local first responders. The art show is called Ashes2Art.
- End tonight with a special benefit concert by Reston’s Diva Duo at the United Christian Parish (11508 North Shore Drive) from 7:30-8:30 p.m. The cost of admission is $25. All proceeds will help support Reston and Herndon residents who are facing crisis and at risk of losing their homes, electricity or water.
- Don’t head to any Fairfax County libraries today, as all branches will be closed for staff training.
- On Saturday from 8:30-10:30 a.m., the Susco 8K and 2K is back for its 11th year at South Lakes High School. The event aims to raise money for brain aneurysm research and organ donation awareness programs.
- A former Arlington prosecutor and Fairfax County native will sign copies of his first novel, Daingerfield Island, at Scrawl Books (11911 Freedom Drive) from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
- Reston Regional Library reopens on Saturday. Children between the age of 6 and 11 can invent a “drawbot,” a machine built to move and draw. Participants can also take their drawbots home. The event will take place from 2-3 p.m.
- As the Building Worlds exhibit comes to a close, the artists behind the exhibit at Greater Reston Arts Center will provide some insights on the inspiration and meaning behind their work. The event on Saturday will take place from 5-7 p.m.
- Earlier on Saturday, one of the artists, Rachel Guardiola, will lead a sensory workshop to create artwork inspired by her work. The event, which will run from 1-3 p.m., is open to all participants 18 and up.
- Robert Prather, author of “The Strange Case of Jonathan Swift and the Real Long John Silver,” will give a talk on the story of local pirate Jonathan Swift on Sunday from 2-3 p.m. at Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive).
- Kids interested in dueling it out can participate in a Chess Club for Kids, also at the library on Sunday from 2-4 p.m.
- If birdwatching is your cup of tea, you can do so at Stratton Woods Park from 7:30-10:30 a.m. on Sunday. During the walk, which is cosponsored by Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and The Bird Feeder store, attendees will visit a variety of sites.
- And if you’d rather stay indoors, there will be an open house at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Avenue) from 4-6 p.m.
Photo via Reston Association
Newcomers to Reston can take advantage of a free bus tour on October 13. The event is sponsored by Comstock.
RA is offering two bus tours between 10 a.m. and noon and between 1-3 p.m. The guided bus tour will feature stops at Reston’s “most interesting places,” including Walker Nature Center, according to organizers. Bus tours will begin and end at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Avenue). Bus tour participants can also enjoy refreshments and tour The Lake House between the bus tours.
In order to participate, residents must have become RA property owners within the last six months. An open house open to all members at The Lake House will run between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Catering is provided by Kalypso’s Sports Tavern.
Registration is required for the tour.
After months of discussion, Reston Association’s Board of Directors unanimously approved stricter financial controls, a need flagged by two in-depth reviews of RA’s $2.65 million purchase of the Tetra property.
StoneTurn Group, an independent firm contracted to review the purchase and associated cost overruns, and a review by two RA members cited the need for updating RA’s purchasing and procurement policies over the last year.
The approval expands RA financial controls by requiring the involvement of multiple stakeholders in the review and approval process of contracts. The changes also clearly delineate steps required before and as contracts are considered. Major purchases require additional scrutiny and a greater emphasis is placed on competitively bid contracts.
Current policies have been criticized by some members as ambiguous and lax, resulting in a decision on the Tetra property that reviews indicate was not up to par.
All purchases above $2,500 require documentation justifying the need for purchases, at least two written quotes from competitive sources, an agreement reviewed by legal counsel and a purchase order signed by the department director, CFO and CEO.
Purchases between $5,000 and $24,999 require at least three written quotes from competitive sources. Major purchases of $25,000 and above require the issuance of a request for proposals, at least three written bids, a closed session meeting and final approval of the scope and pricing of the contract at an open board meeting.
For approval of those contracts, the approval of majority of board officers – defined as the president, vice president, treasurer, secretary and a board liaison for RA’s fiscal committee — is required. Earlier versions of the resolution allowed the fiscal committee chair to partake in the approval process — a move that RA Board Director Julie Bitzer said was inappropriate because it elevated the rank of a volunteer members to that of an elected board member.
Bitzer said she was amenable to allowing the fiscal committee and its chair to contribute by providing a general review.
In order to prevent the board from micromanaging the work of RA’s staff, Bitzer also suggested receiving an annual review of contracts awarded by staff, including a categorical breakdown based on cost brackets created by the resolution.
A move by Board Director John Mooney to require all contractors or service agreements to include provisions that prevent employees from discrimination based on factors like sex, race, color, national origin and religion also passed.
“These are times that we need to speak on such matters,” Mooney said.
Board director Victoria White objected to the proposal because she said it was more appropriate to include the provision in contractual language.
“Bottom line is, it needs to have teeth.” White said.
Other board members said the inclusion of Mooney’s amendment sends a strong message of RA’s position to the community.
After months of discussion, Reston Association’s Board of Directors will consider a move Thursday to strengthen its procurement controls and policies in response to a third-party review of RA’s controversial $2.65 million purchase of the Tetra property.
The rewrite of RA’s purchasing and procurement policies — which were last updated nearly six years ago — was recommended by StoneTurn Group, the forensic accounting firm contracted by RA to review the controversial purchase and cost overruns linked to the buildin’s renovation. A recent presentation by two RA members also flagged multiple concerns.
“As a result of the Tetra Property Purchase Review by the StoneTurn Group several recommendations were made that the Association should strengthen, and the better document the Association’s policies and practices related to procurement and purchasing,” wrote board president Sherri Hebert in the draft proposal. Hebert was not available for comment.
The move expands RA’s current policies by building in more internal controls, stricter financial checks to avoid sole source contracting and seek competitive bidding, and improved documentation. Major purchases above $25,000 require board approval, among other levels of scrutiny.
If approved, the policies would address four broad areas: procurement rules, competitive procurement and purchasing, re-competing for services and rules governing sole service providers.
Reston Association has officially paid off its million loan for the purchase of The Lake House. The board of directors elected to pay off nearly $2.42 million of the remaining balance.
Formerly Tetra, The Lake House has been hit with financial difficulties since it was purchased for $2.6 million — about twice its assessed value — in 2015. RA showed a cost overrun of $430,000 last spring, due in part to a six-figure expected rent back from former owner/tenant Tetra that did not happen. Renovations on the property to transform it into a community building have cost three times more than expected. An independent audit was requested.
RA is looking into new ways to make the facility a reliable source of income — a concern that was raised in previous RA meetings where some board members expressed dismay that RA was losing money on the project.
This year, the facility is expected to produce $224,000 in rental income. According to an RA statement, paying off the loan early will allow each member to save $8.66 on their assessment. If the facility produces target rental incomes, members can receive another $6.17 in savings, according to RA.
Reston Association will host an open house on Dec. 3 at The Lake House on 11450 Baron Cameron Avenue.
Through a referendum two years ago, RA members voted to allow the association to purchase the property. Renovations have been completed. The board’s goal was to increase and enhance green space on the site and increase more opportunities for community and recreational events.
The Lake House is also available for rentals, which began in the summer of 2016.
The last weekend in April is expected to bring hot weather, pushing the high 80s or even the low 90s. Summer is still almost two months away but it looks like this weekend will be a good early taste of it.
There are plenty of fun activities on the agenda for this weekend, whether you want to play outside or you’d rather be inside where it’s cool.
Here is just a sample of the events going on around the area this weekend.
- Saturday marks the opening day of the Reston Farmers Market at Lake Anne Plaza. From 8 a.m. to noon, vendors will be offering their goods as the 20th season of the market kicks off. The Pink Armoire fashion bus will be a special guest this week.
- Tonight, from 5:30-8 p.m., will be the Empty Bowls fundraiser at Floris United Methodist Church (13600 Frying Pan Road, Herndon). Proceeds go to Food for Others. Tickets will be $30 at the door.
- The Mighty Mile kids’ race will be Sunday beginning at 8 a.m. at Reston Town Center. Kids ages 6-14 will run one mile; 4- and 5-year-olds will run a half-mile; and kids under 4 will participate in the Tot Dash.
- South Lakes High School Theatre is performing “Beauty and the Beast” this weekend and next. This weekend’s shows are tonight and Saturday at 7 p.m., and at 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets at the door are $10-$12.
- Reston Children’s Center (11825 Olde Crafts Drive) will host its Spring Carnival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. It will include food, bounce castles, raffles and prizes, face painting, and carnival games.
- The Mercury Fountain at Reston Town Center will be turned on for the season during a ceremony at 1 p.m. Saturday. The event will include refreshments, family festivities and a dedication honoring Relay for Life.
- Other events at Reston Town Center this weekend include Independent Bookstore Day at Scrawl Books (11862 Market St.), a cooking class at Il Fornaio (11990 Market St.), and live entertainment at World of Beer (1888 Explorer St.) tonight and Saturday.
- “Radcliffe Bailey: The Great Dismal Swamp” remains on display at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.) through August.
- The Reston Friends Semi-Annual Book Sale is going on all weekend at Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive).
- The Meeting House at Frying Pan Farm Park (2739 West Ox Road, Herndon) served as a field hospital, encampment and picket post during the Civil War. From 1-3 p.m. Sunday, re-enactors, exhibits and a special guest speaker will share information about the lives of those soldiers.
- Reston Association will host an open house at The Lake House on Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon.
- “First Blooms” by artist Dorothy Donahey will be on exhibit at Reston Art Gallery and Studios (11400 Washington Plaza W.), one last weekend. The gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
- This will be the last weekend for “A Respite from Chaos” at Reston Community Center’s Jo Ann Rose Gallery (1609 Washington Plaza N.).
- NextStop Theatre Company (269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon) is performing “Boeing, Boeing” through May 7. Performances this weekend are tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m., 2 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sunday, and a 7 p.m. showing Sunday. Tickets are $35-$55.
- Lucky Dog Animal Rescue will have its “Puppy Palooza” on Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. at Pet Valu (11160-E South Lakes Drive).
- Kalypso’s (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will have live music tonight, 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., from Holly Montgomery Band. DJ Kram will play Top 40 hits Saturday night.
- Vinafera Wine Bar and Bistro (11750 Sunrise Valley Drive) has live music from 7-10 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night in April.
This is an op-ed by Reston resident Ed Abbott. It odes not represent the opinion of Reston Now. Something on your mind? Send us a letter at [email protected].
I attended last night’s meeting of the Board of Directors and witnessed the Board’s approval for funding the renovations of the Lake House.
Cate Fulkerson, the Association’s Chief Executive Officer, gave a Power Point presentation justifying the expenditure of $430,000 similar to the one that she presented to the Finance Committee on Monday.
Each Board member discussed their views after which the Board voted approval for the expenditure. As a result, both the Board and Ms. Fulkerson have failed their fiduciary responsibility in accordance with the Association’s governing documents. Here’s why:
The Board of Directors of the Association has a “fiduciary responsibility” requiring them to act in the best interest of the corporation. This responsibility is written into the Virginia’s state corporation law. Reston Association is a non-profit corporation and has filed articles of incorporation with the state. Those articles of incorporation comply with Virginia law. Read More
RA is marketing the rehabbed space as “coming soon” and as “an affordable and ideal location with its park-like grounds” as a place for:
- Small to mid-sized weddings and celebrations
- Corporate functions and retreats
- Workshops and conferences
- Private functions
A working group has been meeting since October on uses for the property, which sits on a little over three acres on the shores of Lake Newport. The 15-member group is expected to make its final presentation to the RA Board at the board’s meeting on May 26, and the board is expected to vote on longterm usage.
But even without the big-picture plan in place, RA is already marketing its new after-school program, which will begin in Fall 2016. After care is expected to bring in more than $100,000 annually to the association, though operating expenses will offset about 40 percent of income.
A $650,000 contribution from developer Comstock has helped fund the exterior renovations that have been taking place the last several months. RA, which borrowed the entire $2.6 million, has said members will not see an impact due to the purchase to annual assessments until at least 2018.
At the renovated building, there are two rooms for public use. According to the marketing materials:
The Lakeside Room offers access to the deck overlooking Lake Newport and can accommodate 50 guests.
The Lake View Room can accommodate 100 guests in a natural light-filled setting with a fireplace.
The entire facility can also be rented for up to 150 guests.
Rates are $100-$275/hour, RA materials say. Reservations are available at [email protected] or by calling 703-435-6530.