Indoor tennis has been off the table for Reston Association this year, but it has been on the mind of Reston founder Robert E. Simon recently.
The 98-year-old Simon spoke to the RA Board of Directors as part of the public comment session at the board's regular meeting last week.
Simon praised the board for being more sensible than past groups, but urged them to borrow money to give Reston Association members an indoor tennis facility.
"Covered tennis and covered swimming are things we should have had for a long time and haven't because of damned fool ways with money," Simon said. "You are not obligated to have a [money] reserve at all. All I can say with great passion is let's get on with this thing and use our borrowing capacity to get the things that the citizens want."
After much research, debate and discussion in 2010 and 2011 about a proposed indoor tennis facility at Lake Newport, the RA board voted in December to not put the issue to referendum in 2012.
The timing to push forward in an economic downturn when there are existing RA recreational facilities that need money and attention was one major reason for killing the issue, at least temporarily.
The five-court facility was projected to cost $3.8 million to build, and one projection had RA borrowing 100 percent of the money - but covering costs rather quickly through USTA fees and lessons.
Putting it to referendum alone would cost RA $75,000. Many citizens have spoken out for and against the issue.
In December, the RA board also voted to direct staff to actively seek opportunities, including potential public-partnerships, in the future.
Simon told the board Thursday it is "un-American" not to have debt.
"I think you all will make some sense, which your previous boards have not done," he said. "I appeal you to be sensible. You are Americans! It is un-American not to have debt."
"I am optimistic you all can make sense for the first time," Simon said. "I am looking at each one of you and will follow your vote on this kind of thing."
Simon said the board should spend - not just on tennis but on improving existing facilities.
"Several pools in need of repair," he said. "I walk on paths that are a disgrace. Don't look at the budget. Look at what needs to be done and do it. Banks will lend you the money."
"Grow up," he added. "That's what I have to say."