Keeping residents involved in the community and serving those residents as Reston continues to grow were among the topics at the Reston Community Center Board of Governor's Candidates' Forum at RCC Hunters Woods last week.
There are three candidates running for three three spots. Bill Bouie, a member of the board since 2003, is seeking another three-year term.
Bouie, a telecommunications professional, is also chairman of the Fairfax County Park Authority Board and has served the community in numerous volunteer capacities. Bouie could not attend the forum due to a previous commitment.
Speaking at the forum were Lisa Ehrhardt and Gerald Zavala, who are seeking election to spots being vacated by Carol Ann Bradley and John Gasson.
Ehrhardt, a social worker, is a 37-year resident of Reston with three college-aged children.
"RCC has been an anchor, not just for the community, but for our lives," she said. "We swim here, have been a part of the theater community and cultural events. RCC has given a lot to us. I want to give back."
Zavala, director of development for the Fairfax County Park Foundation, has been a Reston resident for five years. With two children, ages 5 and 7, and family members aging in place in Reston, he says he "really brings a user perspective of what RCC is about and what needs to be done."
Here are how the candidates answered some of moderator Ellen Graves' questions:
What you feel are significant challenges for RCC as it seeks to fulfill its mssion for entire community?
LE - Meeting needs of most of the Reston residents, but keeping the small-town feel.
GZ – Change is going to be a challenge. There is going to be dramatic change in Reston. RCC and other organizations need to changes with it. There is going to be more growth, more diversity, and more services are going to need to be provided.
What do you think are major recreational, cultural and leisure time priorities for Reston?
GZ - One of key challenges is to be able to meet the growth of population. More people that need to come in [means] more services we need to provide. To be able to provide for everyone, old young amateur, competitive - we are going to need more facilities.
Cultural performance space, while high quality, needs to be a little bigger.
LE – I agree 100 percent. This community is an active community. Very few people sit and don’t do anything here. There needs to be a focus on aquatics. Swimming is a year-round activity. As Reston is growing, there is a need [for more facilities]. But how can we do that and not impinge on someone’s space?
Also cultural arts, the theatre – we do need more space. RCC brings programs here that some communities can only dream of.
How can RCC embrace the challenges?
LE - Collaboration. It is important for the whole community. Looking at numbers, cost/benefit - it has to be a whole community effort. My goal would be to really include everyone and use teamwork going forward. This can be done with research. community outreach, informational meetings and explanation.
GZ - One of the biggest challenges is you can't please everyone. We need to provide a center for recreational and cultural events. We need public input and to process that info in a deliberative process and show residents the true benefit of these services.
The other thing - it going to cost money. We need to be able to work with corporate partners. How will we meet services and construct new facilities?
Voting in the Preference Poll begins Thursday, Sept. 28. Each property in Small District 5 will receive a ballot in the mail. Mail-in ballots must be received by the counting agent address no later than 5 p.m. Oct. 11. Walk-in and online ballots must be received by 5 p.m. Oct. 12.