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Tennis Not Likely At Potential RCC Facility

Reston Community Center executive director says she is confident Reston Association can serve needs of the tennis community.

Reston Community Center Executive Director Leila Gordon says tennis is not likely to be part of the planning for the new RCC facility under consideration for Baron Cameron Park.

"Tennis is not in my wheelhouse," Gordon told the Reston Association Board of Directors at a meeting last week. "Tennis is very much an RA line of business. We count on RA to take the lead in regard to tennis.

"Tennis is a major asset for Reston Association.  RCC has no interest in running a competing tennis program nor do we have that capability.  We are confident RA will successfully serve its tennis community."

RA and RCC worked together four years ago on a proposal to bring a $65 million recreation facility that included indoor tennis to RA's Brown's Chapel Park. That facility was met with lots of negative opinion from residents and was never built.

More recently, RA considered building a smaller indoor tennis facility at Lake Newport. That was met with mixed public reaction too, and the RA board ultimately decided not to put the issue to a member referendum for now.

Last month, RCC announced it is looking to a new facility at Baron Cameron, on 68 acres of land owned by the Fairfax County Park Authority, who would work with RCC on the project. The financing for the facility would come from Small Tax District 5, which includes Reston. The cost is estimated to be about $35 million, but an exact figure will not be known until RCC knows what will be built. 

The main focus of the center is a 50-meter indoor pool, which will alleviate overcrowding at the current pool at RCC Hunters Woods.

Meanwhile, RCC is working with Brailsford & Dunlavey, the same facility planning and program management firm used in 2008.

RCC has planned a series of public feedback opportunities. The next one is at 6:30 p.m. Monday at RCC Hunters Woods.

"We are in the process of listening to the community," Gordon told the RA board. "I am sure we are going to hear about parking, and from field users, garden users, and dog park users about preserving amenities. I am confident we are going to hear about funding as we do when considering building any facility - as you all know."

One subject that has already come up: why build at Baron Cameron, which had also been mentioned as a possible location for a new FCPS high school? Some citizens have suggested on Patch that the facility might be better suited for Lake Fairfax Park.

Gordon says Lake Fairfax is part of Small Tax District 5, but it not suitable for a new facility for several reasons. Among them: Lake Fairfax already has a Master Plan for new improvements and projects are already in the works there.

"Baron Cameron Park is the right location to consider from RCC’s perspective because we won’t have to pay for land acquisition costs by virtue of the partnership with the Park Authority," said Gordon. "It is in an area of Small District 5 (North Reston) that is underserved with respect to indoor aquatics and fitness related recreation amenities; it is zoned for active recreation; and it is well-sited with respect to egress/ingress issues."

Gordon told the RA board she "disagrees" with Baron Cameron land being used for schools.

"The school system had [the land] for a long time," she said. "I think schools of tomorrow are going to be vastly different than what we have today.  There is a question about whether demographics really do suggest whether another high school campus is going to be needed here."

Future feedback sessions:

March 11, 6:30 p.m. - Interim report from Brailsford & Dunlavey; responses to input from February meeting.

March 18, 6:30 p.m. - RCC Finance Committee review of staff report; opportunity for public comment.

March 25, 6:30 p.m. - Long Range Planning Committee: Focus Group Session on Indoor Recreation Facility Program. RSVP is requested at RCCContact@fairfaxcounty.gov.

April 1, 8 p.m. - Regular RCC Board Meeting; Opportunity for public comment. (also on May 6 and June 3)

April 8, 6:30 p.m. - RCC Finance Committee Meeting; Recommendations on budget outline/instructions to staff; opportunity for public comment.

Late April/May - Park Authority Master Planning community input process begins (tentative).

May 13, 6:30 p.m.  - Finance Committe Review of Staff's FY15 Budget Outline.

June 17 - Annual Public Hearing for Programs and Budget.

 

More:

RCC Outlines Process for New Facility

RCC Considering New Rec Center

What's On Your Rec Center Wish List?

 

 

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Jim Hubbard March 09, 2013 at 02:21 PM
It's certainly a good thing that the RCC Board sees the need to consult with the taxpayers about a new facility, but it would be even better if the consultation involved something other than the details. The notion of RCC building a new facility raises fundamental questions. Why do three, perhaps four, public or quasi-piblic bodies all provide recreational services in Reston (Reston Association, the Reston Community Center, the Park Authority and the County itself (at the Southgate Community Center)? Why should RCC be the one to build a new facility? Why should it be built at Baron Cameron Park rather than Lake Fairfax Park? I, for one, do not find the response that "Lake Fairfax already has a master plan" as an adequate explanation. Surely, it is in the nature of "plans" that they can be changed. Since the latest estimates suggest that more school facilities may be needed in this part of the county, preserving the Baron Cameron site for school uses would seem to be prudent. And as others have pointed out, most of Lake Fairfax stands undeveloped. But, still, the larger issue is that the community, and not the RCC Board, needs to decide the basic issues, not simply what amenities a new facility might include.
Denise March 09, 2013 at 09:01 PM
Agreed (again) with the points above. Saying that Lake Fairfax already has a master plan seems like a weak rationale. Apparently the County already has a plan for a high school on the Baron Cameron property and Ms Gordan seems to think that plan can be changed. I would like to see ways that Reston residents can pay less in taxes rather than more. I don't understand the whole Small Tax District #5 and why we need to pay into a separate tax fund for RCC and its projects as well as pay Reston assessment fees and Fairfax County taxes. Property taxes are already high and going up. My guess is that there is a fairly small percent of residents who need a large pool. Why is it necessary for all of us to pay for it when so many are feeling pinched financially as it is. (and does this mean that our small district 5 taxes are going to increase in future?)
Leila Gordon March 10, 2013 at 05:05 PM
I want to clarify a couple of points: 1) the County has no plans for a high school at Baron Cameron Park, that plan of over 20 years was never realized and thus led to transferring the oversight of the property over to the Park Authority for its use as a park many years ago. The land transfer completed in 2010 simply made official what was de facto the case. 2) Lake Fairfax Park is Master Planned for these uses: "active recreation" including sports fields, skate park, Water Mine Park (due for significant capital project reinvestment), and lake sports such as fishing and boating; and "passive recreation" including campgrounds, nature areas and path system. There is parking for these amenities. It is not accurate to characterize Lake Fairfax Park as "undeveloped." Finally, the community will decide basic issues and not just what amenities a new facility might include and that is why we look forward to receiving the input we are getting both in writing and by participation in our meetings. We appreciate Mr. Hubbard's direct input in that regard and welcome "Denise" to share her thoughts with us by email with name and address. And everyone or anyone else with thoughts about the issue is also welcome to share their ideas.
Skip Endale March 11, 2013 at 02:22 PM
There is not need to have another 60odd acres torn down for a new building. There are plenty of buildings here and plenty of dilapitated areas that could be torn down to make room for that need, if it arises. I suggest the focus should be on working with what you have and making it better.
Leila Gordon March 11, 2013 at 02:43 PM
Thanks for the feedback, Skip. We are limited in options with respect to what we have at present; the Hunters Woods facility is limited by the parking agreement with the shopping plaza owners and Lake Anne by the Historical District designation there. Also, the possible Baron Cameron site and project would in no way impact 60 acres; the footprint of what might be put on that site might be more on the order of magnitude of 2-4 acres. And that footprint has yet to take shape since the process of gathering community input is not complete.
Joe Oris March 11, 2013 at 05:26 PM
I don't know why Reston does not yet realize the revenue potential from indoor tennis. Those of us who currently pay fees to Worldgate in Herndon, or Four Seasons or Fairfax Racquet Club in Fairfax, would be more than pleased to pay the fees to an indoor facility in Reston. And it shouldn't matter whether it's RCC or RA governing it - the tax monies are coming from the same place! Utilizing that nice open space at Baron Cameron park, without considering indoor tennis, is a waste of that space.
Skip Endale March 11, 2013 at 05:47 PM
@Leila, thanks for responding. The 2-4 acres you are talking about would more likely cover the size of the building and would not take into account needed space for parking and public road access. Again, I think its not a wise choice to create yet more development in the area than really necessary because a. Fairfax County’s office vacancy rate, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., is 13.8 percent; the rate for the Reston/Herndon submarket is 17.8 percent b. there are many pockets in Reston that lend themselves to gentrification Even though proposed development appears to make the RA portfolio more attractive and improves the resume of the individuals driving this development forward I challenge your perspective and propose you take the long view over the short view. Thanks,
Robert Mowbray March 11, 2013 at 06:29 PM
Baron Cameron is "open" space and should remain so. RA has a policy that new development in Reston will not result in an increase in stormwater runoff or a decrease in tree cover or open space. Since the land belongs to the Park Authority, RA policy may not apply However, FCPS did work with RA in the design of the renavations at Terraset to indure that they will actually result in a decrease in stormwater runoff. How much impervious surface will be added for this facility? How much open space will be lost?

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