By Ken Knueven
Reston Association Board of Directors President
We all know we reside in an amazing community and are very proud of Reston, where we have chosen to Live, Work, Plan and Get Involved. But we also know, to maintain the look, feel and level of service we expect and appreciate, it takes work and commitment. Throughout the current budgeting process, we have been discussing what it means to “Reinvest in Reston” and why is it important to focus on the infrastructure of our community. We work hard to maintain our streets, parks, pools and provide top quality programming, but we know we can and want to do better.
We want our medians to be free of overgrown weeds and grass. We want our pools to be open throughout the busy summer season and not be closed for mechanical difficulties and we want our paths to be enjoyed by community members without worrying about their safety due to lack of adequate lighting and trail signs.
The Reston Association Board of Directors appreciates the need for cost containment and frugal budgeting practices and has been operating under these guidelines for decades.
Unfortunately, the practice of “kicking the can down the road” has consequences and our infrastructure is now paying that price. As one member pointed out during the budget item submission process, our streetscaping looked much better when the builders and developers were maintaining it, even calling for the planting of trees as you see in neighboring communities, such as Herndon. Now, our medians and streets are looking more and more unkempt. That should never be the case and we need to illustrate our pride in ownership of our communities and focus on curb appeal, literally.
The streetscaping proposal from the 2012/2013 budget submissions called for trees on South Lakes Drive, including three years of maintenance costs for costs of $23,533 the first year and $4,783 for consecutive years. That proposal was cut from the 12/13 budget and now we are again facing the same issues. The need will not disappear, and unfortunately, the cost will continue to rise.
In addition to median maintenance, Reston has over 11,500 feet of pathways in need of additional lighting and trail marking to help maintain the safety and comfort of our residents. As Howard Bender, of Still Brook Ct. pointed out, a large number of Reston Association paths do not have markers, so if someone enjoying the pathways has an issue (safety or health related), there is no way to identify their location to the police.
These are not inexpensive activities and know that a $263,500 price tag is hard for some community members to accept. But the costs of ignoring this need, and going another budget cycle without installation, are much higher and often can’t be calculated in dollars and cents. Our residents deserve to feel safe as they enjoy the outdoor activities and amenities which help make Reston home.
The items above are capital additions, which will make Reston an even more inviting place to “Live, Work, Play and Get Involved,” but we also have millions of dollars of infrastructure we need to maintain and protect. Many of our assets are 30-40 years old and, as some of us know first-hand, three or four decades of wear and tear can be taxing. We need to provide the necessary upkeep to ensure we have these assets for decades to come.
From streets to paths to adding a covenants advisor to help maintain your property values and protect your real estate investment, the 2014/2015 budget includes necessary items to not only reinvest in Reston, but for our preservation as well as for those who come after us.