RA Hears Concerns

RA Hears Concerns

Search for new headquarters garners attention.

After the governing documents passed earlier this year, the Reston Association has since lost much of the public attention it commanded for nearly two years when the board was working through the revisions, which at times were controversial.

But starting this week, the Association sought to re-engage with the community.

“It’s your opportunity to tell us how we’re doing,” said Director Robin Smyers, explaining the purpose of four district meetings to be held over the next month.

Smyers, who represents the Lake Anne/Tall Oaks district, hosted the first meeting Monday at the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne.

While residents responded to an update on various ongoing RA activities, few garnered as much attention as RA’s search for a new headquarters.

SEVERAL RESIDENTS asked about RA’s plans to build or buy a new headquarters. “Why does the current situation no longer meet your requirements?” said Ellie Fusaro, a Reston resident since 1967.

The Association’s lease for the current headquarters ends in 2009.

“We’ve been diligently working for a solution for a new headquarters,” said Smyers, who told the audience that the current location at Isaac Newton Square may be redeveloped in the near future.

“It’s not a question of whether they’re going to redevelop, it’s a question of when,” said Ray Leonhard, the Association’s chief financial officer.

Smyers also said that owning was more efficient. She pointed out that the Association has spent more than $6 million renting its headquarters the past 15 years.

In January of 2005, members approved a referendum that gave RA authorization to buy or build a headquarters building.

But Smyers said that because of rising cost estimates for both options, another authorization referendum is likely.

ANOTHER RESIDENT, Richard Christensen, said Reston needed more sidewalks. “Are there any plans to make sure there are sidewalks along all the streets?” he said.

Smyers and other RA staff said that Fairfax County has funded the addition of sidewalks in some parts of Reston. But the Virginia Department of Transportation controls the bulk of sidewalk funding, said Brian Murphy, RA’s director of maintenance.

“It’s definitely a slow process,” he said.