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Strategic Plan Looks to Further Simon’s Ideals

Reston Association plans for new properties, service needs to 2016.

Teen volunteers after a cleanup at the Southgate Community Center. The Five-Year Strategic Plan for Reston examines ways for the Reston Association to keep facilities maintained and better keep track of what needs cleaning and repair.

Teen volunteers after a cleanup at the Southgate Community Center. The Five-Year Strategic Plan for Reston examines ways for the Reston Association to keep facilities maintained and better keep track of what needs cleaning and repair. Photo Courtesy of Reston Association

— When Robert Simon used the proceeds from the sale of Carnegie Hall to buy almost 7,000 acres of Virginia farmland in March 1961, he founded a community with a plan. A place where residents could live, work and play in a variety of housing types with a variety of recreational opportunities. For the community’s first 50 years, those principals guided the community’s development and governance.

Reston’s next 50 years will see the addition of Metro, the re-envisioning of its village centers and an increase in population and the infrastructure that will be necessary. With this in mind, the Reston Association has updated its strategic plan this year, which will look ahead to 2016.

"In the plan we focused heavily on the plans Bob Simon laid out," said Ken Knueven, Reston Association board president. "We put in considerable effort to get it done with things that can have a measurable impact by the end of this board year, and will allow us to measure the outcome of the board’s goals."

RA Board Members to Host District Meetings

Members of the Reston Association Board of directors will hold meetings with residents from each district starting in September. Meetings will be held at 7 p.m. at the RA Headquarters building, 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive.

Wednesday, Sept. 5- Hunters Woods/Dogwood with Director Cheryl Beamer

Wednesday, Sept. 19- North Point with Director Mike Collins

Wednesday, Oct. 10- Lake Anne/Tall Oaks District with director Ken Knueven

Thursday, Nov. 8- South Lakes with Director Richard Chew

THE GOALS primarily consist of ways the RA can incorporate additional dwelling units as they are constructed, as well as increase the way the organization engages its members and key stakeholders.

"The RA is a primary community organization, and our role going forward is to continue to be a major voice and continue our positive relationship with county staff and Supervisor [Cathy] Hudgins [(D-Hunter Mill)]," said Milton Matthews, CEO of the RA. "And as properties continue to be added in Reston, we want to make sure we can add them to the RA, to be able to offer them the services our members receive, and not have them separated from the surrounding communities."

The plan also lays out the specifics by which the RA will continue to provide services to members, and how they will continue to monitor amenities, programs and services.

Results from the RA’s community-wide survey will be put together during the third quarter of 2012, and within four months staff, with input from the community, will have a list of recommended changes.

According to the report, by the fourth quarter of 2012, the RA will create "evaluations tools for existing and new programs." The third quarter of each subsequent year, up to at least 2016, will see staff and key stakeholders engage in brainstorming sessions in regards to possible new programs.

The plan also calls for increases in RA’s use of technology, with a method of scan technology to be used for members to access services and facilities by the end of 2013, the ability for members to check individual property records on the RA website by first quarter 2014 and the ability to expand the community’s ability to check the availability and reserve RA facilities.

MORE IMMEDIATELY, the RA Board of Directors will be branching out into the community come the fall.

"Our board members will be holding town hall meetings in their individual districts starting in September," Knueven said. "As we start moving toward the future, we want to make sure everybody in this community feels like they’re being heard."

The district meetings will kick off Sept. 5 for the Hunters Woods/Dogwood District.

"It’s important that the Reston Association remain relevant as Reston heads to its 50th anniversary," Matthews said. "And to make sure we stay relevant for the next 50 years, we need to make sure the services we offer are what the community wants."