Report Shows Demand - But Not Cost - For Pool

Reston Community Center consultants narrow down possibilities for new indoor pool at Baron Cameron Park, but don't offer financial information yet.

A preliminary report from consultants Brailsford & Dunlavey shows that there is more demand for aquatics programs than Reston Community Center can meet with its current indoor pool.

RCC is looking into the feasibility of building a new indoor pool at Baron Cameron Park. Consultants from Brailsford & Dunlavey are updating a 2009 report they did for RCC and Reston Association about a similar facility at Brown's Chapel Park - which died before it went to a public referendum.

The final report will be completed in early June, said B & D's Craig Levin.

At a meeting at RCC Hunters Woods on Monday, he showed some preliminary stats. Among them:

* 3,600 have been enrolled in swim classed in the last year and 7,120 have registered for drop-in water aerobics.

* Over 42,000 single visits.

* More than 2,000 patrons were on wait lists for swim classes.

* There was a 77-percent increase in pool passes in 2011-12.

* 2,200 participate in fitness classes.

* That there are 16 nearby indoor pools, including five 50-meter pools in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties.

Levin said the group was analyzing two main footprints for the potential facility.

One option features a 25-yard pool, a 5,000-square-foot leisure pool, a gym, two multipurpose rooms for 62,850 square feet of space on 0.72 acres.

The other option is a 50-meter pool, a 7,500-square-foot leisure pool, a larger weight room and other features for 98,000 square feet of space on 1.12 acres.

Both layouts would need an estimated 200-250 parking spaces on 1-1.2 acres, Levin said.

What B & D did not have was a financial analysis, including operating expenses, revenue opportunities, usage fees for non residents of Small Tax District 5.

Levin said the financial numbers should be available at the next public meeting on June 3.

Several residents said they were disappointed B & D did not have numbers. Many others said they were not convinced of the need for a new pool, that the Baron Cameron location was the right spot for it, and that Reston residents should not be asked to foot the bill for a county facility.

RCC has proposed building at the 68-acre Baron Cameron Park because it is already owned by the Fairfax County Park Authority, which would co-operate a new facility.

"The location in general needs to be looked at," said speaker Jim George. "The conclusion at one of the recent meetings was that 80-90 percent of people are against it. It is not the right location. For financial reasons, it maybe is the right location. Green space, cost and traffic - none of that has been addressed."

One Logwood Grove resident said "I feel like this is the cart before the horse."

"After seeing the presentation. I really am not seeing the demand," said Annemarie Swope. "I found another place to go [for swim lessons] because we have them."

Reston Citizens Association president Colin Mills and Reston 2020 board member Tammi Petrine both offered comments. RCA is working on a white paper on the topic that Mills said should be released soon.

"I understand the Baron Cameron location," said Mills. "But I don't want them to get locked in to location if there are others that can be considered."

Petrine said the proposal is "a break in reality and a break in fairness."

She cited nearby FCPA rec centers at Oak Marr (Oakton) and Spring Hill (McLean), both of which are undergoing multi-million dollar expansions.

"I am really astonished when I started looking into the proposal to find out that both Spring Hill and Oak Marr adding on huge additions to their pools, racquetball courts and other facilities," she said. "Of 14 districts, Hunter Mill is the only one that does not have its own FCPA rec center. We have a problem here. Our taxes are paying for Spring Hill and Oakton to add on. These are not impoverished communities.

"We have 40 percent of county’s subsidized housing here," she said. "If you are supporting this population, rest of community needs to support you in that effort." 

Several other locations for a facility were suggested by residents. Among them: North County Government Center and an innovative design that could be built in the parking lot of Reston National Golf Course.

At times the testimony was emotionnal.

"We live there. We can't get to the park," said Longwood Grove resident Jill Gallagher, who told the board that the idea is poorly planned. "Traffic is so bad.When you pull out of Longwood Grove and take a left, you are taking your life in your hands."

Some residents accused pool opponents of being dramatic.

"There is no threat to the dog park and fields," said one speaker. "But there is threat from the neighbors about too much noise from dogs barking. They would prefer completely open space. I don’t know why our neighbors at Lake Newport are so concerned. This open space should be used."

Said resident Sheila Casey: "I think there is a lot of dishonesty about the opposition about this park. It is a small group of homeowners. That park is busy at one time only, and that is Saturday mornings."

"I never have had any trouble getting to Baron Cameron Park," she added. "And most importantly, the pool we have here is antiquated. It is much too warm for competitive swimming. I very much support a new rec center."

There will be more discussion and public feedback on the topic Tuesday at the Fairfax County Park Authority's Baron Cameron Park Master Plan Meeting. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at Buzz Aldrin Elementary.


RCC Considering New Facility

RCC Sizing Up Pool Competition

What Will Happen to Baron Cameron Dog Park?

Indoor Tennis Not Likely at New RCC Facility


Save the Date: Park Master Planning Meeting

Citizens Speak Out on RCC Proposal


Are you in favor of a new pool facility at Baron Cameron Park? Tell us in the comments.

gj May 19, 2013 at 08:06 PM
And newcomers to Reston should take into consideration those of us who have been here over 20 years, who respected Bob Simon's plan and dream and who have repeatedly lost green space for new development. To build a monstrosity in this location for a few is not needed. Use the new Lifetime Facility off Sunset Hills. That will be completed Fall 2013. Too far to drive???
gj May 22, 2013 at 11:46 AM
I am in total agreement with D George. Only the 'for' comments seem to be made public. Why are we being herded into this when the majority of people are against a new Rec Center at this time AND certainly against anything like that being put into Baron Cameron Park.
gj May 22, 2013 at 11:48 AM
This is NOT good for the community!
Reston 4 life May 22, 2013 at 01:47 PM
To the editor, Karen, What is the criteria for ending a string of comments? Seems this one has expired as an article on the web page but continues. My reason. To ask is to keep comments current with events, and yet some contributors maintain responses on old articles. Your current page reflects new developments, but arguments and commentary continue on old expired pages. Thanks
Karen Goff May 22, 2013 at 01:53 PM
Good question. I will usually only shut down comments if they turn extra mean or violate terms of service. Stories never expire, they just move to the background. So people can keep talking as long as they stay on topic.


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