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Task force releases recommended concept for Reston Town Center North facilities

Reston Town Center North (courtesy Hunter Mill District Office)

After several months of uncertainty about the future of Reston Town Center North, some clarity is on the horizon.

The RTC North Task Force — a group assembled by Hunter Mill District Walter Alcorn last year — has officially completed its recommendations for the area, which is roughly bounded by Baron Cameron Avenue, Town Center Parkway, Bowman Towne Drive and Fountain Drive.

The report, which follows months of meetings and an in-person walkthrough, recommends the placement of several public facilities across eight blocks.

At a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting today (Tuesday), Alcorn described the step as a “significant milestone.”

“It should be noted that discussion is ongoing by the Task Force on possible interim uses of county parcels, specifically Blocks 1 and 8, pending funding and county approval processes,” Alcorn said. “It is recognized that there will be a need for flexibility with community needs changing over time.”

The task force recommendations for where to locate facilities in RTC North break down as follows:

  • Block 1: Future school site
  • Blocks 2, 4 and 6: Inova development
  • Block 3: New library
  • Block 5: Homeless shelter and human services building
  • Block 7: Athletic field
  • Block 8: Recreation center
A conceptual map of future public facilities in Reston Town Center North as recommended by a task force (courtesy Hunter Mill District Office)

The task force recommends placing a new Reston Regional Library on Block 3, which will face a central green. The new library would have 40,000 square feet of space, including a community meeting space.

“Following best practices in community design, the new library facility should serve as a location for placemaking, which means designing spaces to create community interaction in indoor and outdoor settings,” the report says.

According to the task force proposal, the Embry Rucker Shelter and associated housing would be located on Block 5. Originally built in 1986, the shelter has long needed upgrades. The new 25,000-square-foot facility would have medical beds, training and workforce development services, and 18 permanent housing units.

The task force anticipates the new location will allow residents to access transportation and employment opportunities effectively. The current shelter will continue to operate until the new facility is completed.

Block 5 will also have a new, 160,000-square-foot health and human services building to replace facilities currently located at 1850 Cameron Glen Drive (Block 1) and Lake Anne. The existing Cameron Glen Drive facility will be demolished, making way to accommodate a future FCPS school.

But the school likely wouldn’t happen for at least another 30 years.

When the current shelter on Block 7 is demolished, an athletic field would follow, adjacent to a new recreation center on Block 8. But because the rec center is seen as a long-term project, the task force suggests using that site as a common open area in the interim.

The task force will meet on Nov. 29 to discuss those potential interim uses, which could include a dog park, exercise circuit, accessible playground, walking trails, food trucks and pickleball courts, Alcorn said.

The 90,000-square-foot recreation center was proffered as part of an agreement with the Board of Supervisors. The report says the Fairfax County Park Authority will conduct a user survey to determine what services and amenities should be offered.

Fairfax County is refining its vision for RTC North after an unsolicited offer by developer Foulger-Pratt fell through earlier this year. The proposal would have included 350 affordable housing units and a new Reston Regional Library.

To facilitate the redevelopment, the county is in the thick of swapping land with Inova, which owns parcels that currently host an emergency room, the North County Human Services Center and the Sunrise assisted living facility.

Under an agreement that has been in the works since 2015, Inova will retain the emergency room and Sunrise parcels, which will be developed as blocks 2 and 6, while getting a 5-acre parcel owned by the park authority (Block 4) in exchange for giving the human services center site to the county.

In September, the board unanimously approved a motion to implement a real estate exchange agreement with Inova that would facilitate the construction of a new Embry Rucker Shelter, library and affordable housing.

A Block 9 next to the Reston Police District Station wasn’t included in the task force recommendations. Owned by the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, the block is expected to be redeveloped as affordable housing, according to the report.

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