To the Editor:
Mr. Simon’s Letters to the Editor [“Facts About Rec Center,” Reston Connection, July 24-30, 2013] has prompted me to respond to this issue.
Having been a Reston resident for 19 plus years, my family has enjoyed the many facilities and activities available to us through the Reston Association (RA) and the Reston Community Center (RCC) (supported by our dues, fees and taxes), therefore the RCC’s rec center proposal is one I am interested in for many reasons.
Like Mr. Simon, I look for the facts. I have attended most meetings on the subject and have spent many additional hours researching in order to fully understand the need, costs associated with, and scope of the proposal. I encourage everyone to do the same.
Having done so, I have to say that I am against the RCC rec center proposal as it is currently presented for the following reasons:
*Cost Structure: Currently, Small Tax District #5 (STD5) pays for 84 percent of the RCC’s multi million dollar annual operating budget because fees for service do not cover expenses. I think taking on the building, operation and maintenance costs of a new, much grander, state of the art facility should not be considered until a much more thorough study has been done.
*Business Model: I fear that in order to recoup more costs from non STD5 taxpayers, this proposed facility will need to adopt a county business model which allows renting to private entities, creating times of the day where the very public for whom the facility was built (and who pay for it) cannot use it.
*Need: The need for a new facility is something I believe has yet to be proven conclusively. Reston will soon be home to Crunch Fitness and Lifetime Fitness. Let’s see what impact they have on our area as far as need before deciding that Reston-only taxpayers have to provide it.
*Location: Baron Cameron Park (BCP) is a lovely and unique district park (and neighborhood park to many in Reston) that has been neglected for far too long. Keep in mind that if the need for indoor facilities grows, so will the need for outdoor ones. BCP’s existing outdoor amenities need to be upgraded and maximized and not diminished for the accommodation of a large indoor facility and parking.
I understand that Reston is growing and that we will need to expand to meet future needs, but the Brailsford & Dunlavey Study, commissioned by the RCC, is incomplete and vague. One flaw is that it deals only with current census data and does not take into account the extensive growth anticipated over the next 10 years. I do not believe that any currently developed parkland should be forfeited, nor do I believe that taxpayers are responsible for the wishes of special interest groups over the needs of the community as a whole.