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Reston Citizens Association--Strong Again

Recently, the community has seen the resurgence of its Reston Citizens Association, the guardian of Reston's founding principles and the watchdog of government, advocate for us.

There is great new life and focus in our Reston Citizens Association (RCA). 

Over the last three years, RCA and its dynamite Reston 2020 action committee have been following the work of the Task Force created by Supervisor Hudgins in 2009 to rewrite the outdated Reston Master Plan to be ready for Metro.  They’ve pulled together a good team that not only follows the work of the sluggish Task Force, but provides quality analysis of the emerging outlines of the direction new
development proposals are taking and their implications for our community.
Furthermore, they publish their findings in very readable form, readily
available on the RCA website and at www.reston2020.blogspot.com

Their analyses get attention not just in Reston media like Patch and the Connection, but also in Washington regional media—newspaper, radio and even TV. They are credible.

In early February, RCA put out a white paper dealing with the imminent arrival of the Silver Line and how unprepared Reston was in terms of supporting infrastructure.  The paper, “Wiehle Metro Station Access: Congestion Ahead”, is a stark warning for the community that the infrastructure necessary to make the station accessible is not in place, that virtually nothing has been done by Fairfax County to implement recommendations from its own study (Report of the Reston Metro Access Group-RMAG) five years ago.  The White Paper, a concise 13 pages, is a must-read for residents who will soon be living with Metro.  See it on RCA or Reston 2020 websites.

Also last month, RCA named its Citizen of the Year, Cate Fulkerson, the person who makes the machinery of the Reston Association work.  A superb choice.  And, our new Reston Rep. Gerry Connolly did the honors at the RCA presentation ceremony, a symbol of RCA’s move back to the forefront of community organizations. 

Now, RCA is providing the community forums for discussing THE issues of
the day for us. A couple of weeks ago, it was a lively discussion of the inadequate plans for bus service in the age of Metro.  Next week, it will sponsor a community forum on the Reston Community Center tentative plans for a new Rec Center. Should be a lively discussion! 

Having served in leadership roles on both Reston Association and RCA, I believe in the mission of both organizations.  Frankly, I think RA’s been doing a very good
job recently serving as our homeowners association and master of our facilities
and steward of open spaces.  I’m glad they protect trees and take action when residents cut them down, for example, in violation of the rules. It protects community goods.

However, analyzing future development plans and policies, the coming of rail service and other county or state policies affecting the community as a whole is not RA’s cup of tea.  Public policy and issues with government, advocating for Reston residents’ interests with government, especially with Fairfax County, are areas that are a better fit with citizens associations as has historically been the case in Reston and McLean. 

But, citizens associations, like RCA, tend to be staffed and led by volunteers. 
Accordingly, they have their good times and their down times.  In the last few years, RCA has rebuilt itself.  It now is run by a very capable Board with
extraordinary leadership and a corps of volunteer analysts and writers who
assess what public agencies are doing and are very capable of commenting on
their actions and advocating for the interests of the community.

In my view, Reston is going through a mini-golden era, getting the best out of both of its principal community organizations.  The good times certainly
will continue as long as current leadership stays around.



This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Terry Maynard March 24, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Wow, John, thanks for your kind words! For those who read this article and want to take a look at the Reston 2020 for the specific items & events you mention, let me provide some links. --RCA White Paper, "Wiehle Metro Station Access: Congestion Ahead" (http://www.reston2020.blogspot.com/2013/02/rca-white-paper-wiehle-metro-station.html) --Not mentioned in your commentary, but tied to the above, is an RCA Reston 2020 white paper "Building on Reston's Transit Tradition: Enhancing Bus Service with the Arrival of Metrorail" (http://www.reston2020.blogspot.com/2013/02/building-on-restons-transit-tradition.html) --Details on THIS WEEK's RCA Community Forum on the RCC Reston Recreation Center Proposal (http://www.reston2020.blogspot.com/2013/03/rca-to-host-community-forum-on-proposed.html) and RCA President Colin Mills Reston Patch commentary on the upcoming meeting (http://reston.patch.com/blog_posts/learn-more-about-proposed-rcc-facility) . --And see Reston Patch for details on Cate Fulkerson's well-deserved RCA "Reston Citizen of the Year" award. (http://reston.patch.com/articles/rca-honors-fulkerson-as-citizen-of-the-year) And thanks again for your kind words on the Reston Citizens Association in its community planning committee, Reston 2020.
Michael Sanio March 25, 2013 at 01:39 AM
John, I too am impressed by the thoughtful work of RCA, thank you Colin Mills and team
John Lovaas March 25, 2013 at 03:14 AM
Hope I was clear that the community is fortunate to currently have such good leadership at both RA and RCA, as important as they both are to the community in carrying out their very different missions!
Ray Wedell March 25, 2013 at 11:45 AM
This is very good news. Reston is indeed a unique place to live, in a positive way.

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