Thirty-one years ago this month the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created Small District 5 “for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, maintaining or operating, or contracting for such acquisition, construction, maintenance or operation of a community center, including a community building and other recreational facilities, within said small district for the citizens who reside” in the defined boundaries. The more than 10,000 acres of the district was completely contained within Centreville Magisterial District, now known as Hunter Mill District.
The new center, located in Reston, opened in 1979 and was called the Reston Community Center. Designed to serve the residents and businesses of the greater Reston area, the services of RCC have been as broad and diverse as the communities and neighborhoods that make up the current boundaries: toddlers to seniors; photography to woodworking; language and cultural training; all dimensions of cultural and fine arts; recreational and training programs make up the services provided in two facilities. The program variety is matched with national recognition for outstanding quality community programming in Fairfax County and the region.
Over the last thirty-one years many things have changed in the greater Reston area. We have experienced growth in residential and businesses alike. Keeping pace with that growth has required changing on many fronts. Since the doors opened in 1979, within the Small District 5 boundaries the area has grown from about 400 businesses and 30,000 plus residents to over 65,000 and 10,000 residents and business respectively today. That growth has been accompanied by infrastructure changes of new schools, police and fire stations, a library and numerous other services to support a changing community.
A key change affecting Small District 5 has been the growth of what is considered the greater Reston area. No longer does the district sit wholly within Hunter Mill District and the growth within Reston far exceeded the area identified as the greater Reston area. Many residents have raised the questions of why the need to include their communities beyond the Hunter Mill District boundaries or beyond the defined boundaries of Reston in Small District 5.
In 2005 the debate of whether Reston should become a town brought these concerns front and center. It was clear by the majority of the correspondence I received, Hunter Mill District residents outside of Reston wanted neither to be part of a proposed Reston town nor remain in Small District 5. Many considered the RCC internally focused on the Reston community.
While there may be many viewpoints to the debate over the boundaries of Small District 5, it is clear now is the time to address the matter. In September 2005 the Board approved Sully District Supervisor Mike Frey’s motion for staff to provide options for persons to be removed from Small District 5 and the RCC Board of Governors held public hearings in February 2006 on the same subject. On February 27, 2006, I moved this debate into what I hope will be the process to find the best solution that will maintain the health of a thriving RCC, while satisfying the desires of many Hunter Mill, Dranesville and Sully residents that feel no relationship with the services provided by the RCC.
There is never a perfect solution to any problem that includes diverse views and needs; however, there can be a rational approach to arriving at what is the most appropriate solution to the boundary question given the circumstances today.
The Board of Supervisors will advertise a public hearing for March 27, 2006 to consider boundary changes to Small District 5. The proposed changes will be broad in scope to allow the opportunity for consideration of the best possible solution. This includes the removal of Dranesville and Sully residents as well as full consideration for the removal of Hunter Mill residents who are not Reston residents.
I encourage interested residents and businesses to participate by contacting the Hunter Mill District office at 703 478-0283, firstname.lastname@example.org or by participating in the public hearing on March 27, 2006.