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RCRC Looks to Bolster Lake Anne Revitalization

Group pursues funds for improved signage directing people to Lake Anne.

One of the lead groups for Lake Anne revitalization agreed last week to pursue grant funding for improved signage for the village center and try to help the revitalization area receive bond money.

The Reston Community Reinvestment Corporation (RCRC) board decided Thursday, Aug. 11, that they would file an application requesting $600,000 from the county’s Investment in Communities Program (ICP) for improving signage at three intersections.

According to the county’s Web site on revitalization, the ICP program has approximately $3 million in funding for small businesses, nonprofits and revitalization organizations.

“We’re all in favor of improving the signage,” said Howard Green, RCRC treasurer, adding that every expert they’ve heard from has said that signage is an issue for the Lake Anne Village Center.

The application would be an extension of the Gateway Project.

“[Gateway] was sought and funded by Reston Association to give people a better shot of finding their way around the Reston community,” said Kurt Pronske, RCRC president.

During discussion, Pronske explained that the application would include three intersections, or what’s called nodes, each costing $200,000.

While the changes to three intersections would focus on signage, they do much more, according to Reston resident Lee Rau, an observer at the meeting. The projects include extensive landscaping changes at the intersections that increase visibility in an aesthetically pleasing manner, Rau said.

No final decisions on which intersections to submit in the application have been made, but three were mentioned: Village Drive and Baron Cameron Avenue, Wiehle and Baron Cameron avenues, and Reston Parkway and Baron Cameron Avenue.

“There could be more discussions of where these nodes could be,” said Pronske.

IN A RELATED MATTER, the RCRC board discussed getting revitalization projects for Lake Anne on the general obligation bond referendum in 2006.

“Revitalization has not been on the docket for general obligation bonds since 1988,” said Harry Swanson, deputy director of revitalization and real estate at the county’s Department of Housing and Development. He reported that it will be on the docket in 2006, but that work has to be done by community groups far in advance to get capital investment projects in the referendum.

If RCRC is successful at getting capital investment projects for Lake Anne on the bond referendum ballot, it will be voted on in November 2006.

Projects eligible in the bond, Swanson said, will be in areas of public safety and neighborhood and community revitalization. And while Lake Anne would be competing with six other revitalization communities in the county, the money available in the entire bond for all capital investment projects could be as much as $120 million, Swanson said. The other revitalization areas are in Annandale, Springfield, McLean, Merrifield, Richmond Highway and Bailey’s Crossroads.

“A parking garage is a good example,” said Swanson, discussing the types of projects that could get in the referendum.

“But do we really want to build a parking garage before we have a design plan for Lake Anne?” said Anne Strange, RCRC board member representing the Washington Plaza Baptist Church. Other board members explained that money from the bond, if passed, wouldn’t be available until January 2007 and that the money does not have to be spent right away.

“We kind of have the cart in front of the horse,” said Pronske, who added that they will have to estimate some of the needs for Lake Anne to get projects into the referendum.

It was also reported during the meeting that a member of the Lake Anne Village Advocates, a group of concerned citizens formed to facilitate Lake Anne revitalization with input from community members, may be invited to join the RCRC board.