Lake Anne’s plaza will once again spring to life this summer with concerts.
Lake Anne Live! — an event series that kicked off last year — brings Thursday evening concerts to the plaza from June 15 through July 27.
The free concerts will feature music and dance from local musicians and dance instructors. Attendees will also have the chance to dance along the instructors, according to a release by the Lake Anne and Washington Plaza Merchant Association (LAWPA).
In a statement to FFXnow, the LAWPA team said they decided to continue the series this year due to popular demand.
“Because of the great response, especially to our dance nights, and because of repeated requests from our community and neighbors, we decided to have them again this year,” LAWPA said. “Our aim is to bring our community together for dancing, music, and laughter through the Summer.”
The line-up includes the following:
- June 15 (6-9 p.m.): Salsa Instruction and Dance with David Norton
- June 22, (6-9 p.m.): Swing Instruction and Dance with Gottaswing; pet adoptions by Lucky Dog Animal Rescue
- June 29 (7-9 p.m.): Bruce Corsino concert
- July 6 (6-9 p.m.): Bachata Instruction and Dance with David Norton
- July 13 (7-9 p.m.): To be announced on Lake Anne Plaza’s social media pages
- July 20 (7-9 p.m.): Concert with the Reston Community Orchestra
- July 27 (6-9 p.m.): Salsa and Bachata Instruction and Dance with David Norton
The plaza is located at 1609 Washington Plaza North. All concerts are free.
The Lake Anne area could pursue two different directions going forward, a consultant says: adhere to its status as Reston’s original village or transform into a destination landmark.
At a May 18 meeting, consultant Street Sense pitched the two visions for the nearly 60-year-old center. A second community workshop is planned in June.
Overall, the consultant suggests additional residential density on the Crescent site, allowing buildings from three to seven stories in height. The residential project should be between Lake Anne’s current density of 35 units per acre and 65 units.
Other changes are also suggested as part of the balancing act of preserving Lake Anne’s status as a local destination while charting its future growth. While an earlier public survey found community support for a grocery store, that’s off the books for Lake Anne’s economic future due to the nature of the center.
Angela McGarvey, managing director of brand at Street Sense, emphasized that multiple stakeholders, property owners, and properties at different stages of deterioration complicate the visioning effort.
“There is a financial imperative to move forward quickly and expediently toward a solution,” McGarvey said.
The first proposal envisions a “curated community with neighborhood draw.” It focuses on introducing new art studio spaces for rent, improving infrastructure, and redesigning the entry of Lake Anne Plaza’s existing surface lot to prioritize aesthetics, efficiency and wayfinding.
New development could feature low-rise apartments and townhomes, along with several accessibility projects like safe crossings from Lake Anne House and the Crescent to the plaza.
McGarvey noted that the plan puts less strain on existing infrastructure, maintains current programmed activities, and resembles the scale of current housing in the center.
But the vision would provide no new revenue sources, do little to change retail demand and revenue, and likely place the cost of infrastructure upkeep on existing residents and merchants. More partnerships with the county and others would be needed to maintain infrastructure, likely requiring changes to the Lake Anne of Reston Condominium Association’s condominium agreement and responsibilities.
The second proposal positions Lake Anne as an “iconic destination with regional draw.” The addition of cultural attractions is proposed, along with consistent retail hours and a cohesive merchant’s organization.
The presented vision also includes a parking garage on the west public surface lot and new infrastructure for the farmers’ market.
A mid-rise, mostly multifamily residential development is proposed with a centralized green space and connections to the Crescent site and plaza. Also suggested is a connection of the current trail network to Lake Anne, restoration of the tunnel on the east side of the area, and a safer crossing from Lake Anne House and the Crescent to the plaza.
The second vision would create new revenue streams and potentially make Lake Anne a “year-round destination,” the consultant said. Using a more intense residential product would also free up more land for public amenities and cultural uses.
But the plan would require more upkeep, and new programming and venues could impact the amount of open space and the design of public areas around the commercial center.
Both plans simply state the need for a “solution-oriented approach” to clarify roles and responsibilities related to infrastructure, according to Streetsense. In recent years, infighting and local disputes have plagued the village center.
The consultant emphasized that “any movements forward will include a more targeted discussion with property owners.”
Streetsense conducted a visioning survey in February and March to court public opinions, along with in-person workshops and focus groups. A final report is slated for a June release.
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn initiated the study last year to form a consensus around the economic vision for the Lake Anne Community Revitalization Area (LACRA).
A survey that will guide an economic visioning study for Reston’s Lake Anne area reveals community support for active public spaces and arts and culture focuses.
Consulting firm Streetsense hosted a public workshop on Monday (April 10) at Reston Community Center where roughly 50 attendees gathered to dive deeper into their hopes for the future of the area.
A public survey conducted by the firm found that most respondents prefer cultural and arts facilities, activated public spaces and a grocery store as options to anchor the community. Medical or institutional and office and technology uses were not desired.
“Respondents tend to agree that responsibility for public areas of Lake Anne should be borne by a wider set of parties than current management,” meeting materials said.
The survey closed in mid-March, with most respondents hailing from outside the Lake Anne area.
Respondents also generally agreed or were neutral about the possibility of adding structured parking.
The survey revealed mixed views on an “educational anchor” or school in the area. A little over 40% of respondents agreed with the need for new residential development — roughly 5 percentage points more than those who disagreed with the prospect.
Residents were also divided on whether economic sustainability was a priority at the expense of the neighborhood’s historic aspects. The survey found that “seasonality” and infrastructure were the two biggest challenges facing the area.
The largest portion of respondents — nearly 45% — was age 65 or older. Most also lived outside of the immediate Lake Anne area. Roughly 56% of respondents also reported a household income of $160,000 or more.
The firm also held four virtual focus groups with area stakeholders earlier this year, as it creates an economic vision for the future of the Lake Anne Commercial Revitalization Area.
The study was initiated by Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn.
After releasing the first draft of the vision on May 18, Streetsense hopes to firm up a formal vision by June 5.
Reston’s annual Founder’s Day celebration will return to Lake Anne Plaza on Saturday, April 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The celebration, which marks Reston’s founding and founder Bob Simon, Jr., will feature community performances, cake, activities and music.
This year, the celebration kicks off with a community clean up.
“April is earth and volunteer month and what better way to give back to the environment than a community cleanup,” event organizers said.
Volunteers will gather at the Bronze Bob statue to clean up nearby Reston Association paths.
Residents can also contribute to Reston Museum‘s new Free Little Art Gallery by bringing artwork. Public Art Reston, a local nonprofit organization, will also have a free activity availability.
A ribbon cutting ceremony for the gallery is slated for 12:30 p.m. at the steps of the Washington Plaza Baptist Church, after which the gallery will be permanently installed at the museum. It will be Reston’s second Free Little Art Gallery, following an installation outside the Cathy Hudgins Community Center at Southgate.
Performances include a show by the Foley Academy of Irish Dance, Adrenaline Dance Studio, South Lakes High School Theater, Reston Community Players and Langston Hughes Middle School’s choir.
Local food trucks will be on site at the event, which is presented by Reston Museum and Reston Community Center and cosponsored by Public Art Reston. Lake Anne Plaza hosts the event.
Cake will also be served at an event with local authors Rebecca Green, Shelley Mastran and Cheryl Terio-Simon at RCC’s Jo Ann Rose Gallery.
Work on establishing a new economic vision for the Lake Anne area is underway.
In collaboration with consulting firm Streetsense, the county is currently courting feedback via a public survey on economic visioning for the Lake Anne Commercial Revitation Area, an area that was designated as a possible hotspot for commercial revitalization in 1998.
The survey comes after Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn jumpstarted an effort to establish a vision for the area.
“The goal is to develop a market appropriate, aspirational economic vision that builds on the historic and unique characteristics of the Lake Anne area,” the survey says.
In a letter distributed to area residents and stakeholders, Alcorn stressed that the purpose is to build consensus around the vision for the area.
“Both the supervisor and county staff have no preconceived ideas about specific outcomes but hope that it is a vision that combines an understanding of the local market with the interest of the Lake Anne community,” the letter said.
The survey, which is open through March 10, is public and open to all.
Streetsense is working on a multi-month study as part of its work on the vision. It will include community engagement with residents an business owners, including virtual listening sessions by the media consulting firm.
A half-day, in-person workshop is also planned for April to develop a program of uses and experiences that define the Lake Anne story.
The consultant is expected to present findings from the public engagement phase in May, prior to publishing its final report, which is slated to come forward in early June.
The Fairway Drive underpass in Reston is slated for a facelift.
Public Art Reston is seeking artists to submit ideas for an art project at the underpass, which connects residential areas with a pool, community center and the Lake Anne Village Center.
The project is the third permanent public artwork commissioned by Public Art Reston. The organization partners with Reston Association.
Reston’s master plan for public art contemplates using the pedestrian tunnels for public art projects in an effort to “foster community engagement, enhance public safety and instill pride of place,” according to Public Art Reston.
The organization expects to involve the community in the project. The selected artist or artist team will work with Lake Anne Elementary School students and other neighborhood groups to create the work.
A similar workflow was adopted to add Ben Volta’s “Thoreau’s Ensemble” on the Colts Neck Road underpass in 2019 and Valeria Theberge’s “Emerge” at the Glade Drive underpass in 2010.
Here’s more from Public Art Reston on the importance of artwork in Reston’s history:
Public art is an important part of Reston’s history. Commissioned, site-specific play sculptures were integrated into the built environment of its first development at Lake Anne Village Center. Offering residents daily encounters with art was a unique feature for a 1960s suburban development, and one that distinguishes Reston for its visionary role in current placemaking initiatives. Among these commissions are Uruguayan modernist Gonzalo Fonseca’s whimsical sculptural environment for North Shore Drive Underpass (1965) and Baltimore-based potter, Olin Rossum’s abstract ceramic mosaic for Moorings Drive Underpass (1967).
The application deadline is Feb. 24. Materials are available online.
A CBD boutique is coming soon to Reston’s Lake Anne Plaza.
OmBaked is expected to open in the spring. It’s founded Radhika Murari, a Restonian who moved to the community in 1991.
Murari says she wanted to open the company’s first retail location to be surrounded by like-minded business owners who support the local community.
“Lake Anne Plaza is the heart of Reston and embodies the principles of Live, Work, Play upon which Reston was founded,” Murari wrote in a statement.
Here’s more from the company on what they plan to offer:
OmBaked will sell CBD products that help us Move Better, Focus Better, Relax Better, Sleep Better, and Eat Better. We will also sell CBD products for furbabies. The products will cover the whole range; from bath bombs, body lotion, soft gels, and beverages.
Murari is also behind the concept OmMade peanut butter, a venture that recently received a state and local grant. The business features gluten-free peanut butter that uses local state peanuts to create flavors.
OmBaked is a storefront for the OmMade brand.
The Reston location is an extension of Murari’s effort to invest in the economy and health of her local community, according to the company.
Camp Sunshine’s 15th polar dip — Freezin’ for a Reason — will return to Reston’s Lake Anne Plaza on Feb. 11 for a final hurrah.
Beginning at noon, spectators will gather to watch registered participants plunge into the lake — or take a “chicken dip” with just toes — to raise funds for Camp Sunshine, a nonprofit that organizes retreats for families who have kids with life-threatening illnesses.
“The Virginia Polar Dip has a unique aspect that adds to the fun,” Gail Toth, event founder and organizer, said. “We have a one-hour succession of splashes that brings plenty of cheers and laughter from the crowd of spectators.”
The event is the final dip after Toth and the team anticipate reaching their fundraising goal. Organizers hope to raise $100,000 for the charity in an effort to reach a $1 million target set when the event began in 2008.
Online event registration is open. On-site registration begins at noon on the day of the event, followed by the beginning of the polar dip at 2 p.m.
The fundraising model encourages registered participants to raise or donate a minimum of $100 to plunge into the frigid waters of the lake. Participants receive an event t-shirt.
The event was started by the Toth family, who took part in Camp Sunshine in 1996 when their 3-year-old daughter was a cancer patient. The family brought the event to Virginia to support other local families after they took part in a dip in New Jersey.
The inaugural Virginia event in 2008 brought 2,199 dippers to the lake.
Event organizers note that Reston Association does not maintain the lake for swimming standards. Typically, swimming is not allowed in Lake Anne.
Despite a hiccup in the planning process, the popular Reston Farmers Market will remain at the Lake Anne Plaza next year.
Last week, the Fairfax County Park Authority signed a new use agreement with the Lake Anne Reston Condominium Association (LARCA) to continue the market at its longstanding location in 2023.
“We signed a license agreement last week with the Fairfax County Park Authority and we look forward to hosting the County-run Farmer’s Market in 2023,” LARCA President George Hadjikyriakou wrote in a statement.
Contract negotiations were hung up by an issue revolving around insurance, according to Ben Boxer, a spokesperson for the county.
“Farmers Markets have received significant community support at all ten locations throughout the county and we are appreciative of the ongoing partnerships with our vendors and hosts that make this program such a remarkable success,” Boxer said.
Both parties and the county did not comment further on the nature of the issues. Boxer noted that the context of the discussion was related to “contract negotiation,” and Hadjikyriakou deferred additional comment to the county.
Earlier this year, a free summer concert series relocated to Reston Station after the Reston Community Center failed to reach an agreement with LARCA.
The market takes place at 1608 Washington Plaza North.
A new vision for the future of the Lake Anne area in Reston is brewing.
Fairfax County has hired the consulting firm Streetsense to lead the visioning effort. Beginning next month, the team will launch an initial immersion and discovery phase, followed by a significant community engagement process, according to Tracy Strunk, director of the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Development.
“A final report will identify a strategic position for the area within the competitive landscape, and guide future developments, including branding, marketing, design, and merchandizing, that create a market-relevant consumer experience,” Strunk said.
The four-month study will cost roughly $125,250.
The report will target the Lake Anne Commercial Revitalization Area in an effort to create a market approach with the interests of area stakeholders. The 44-acre area was established in 1998.
At a meeting with media yesterday (Monday), Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn emphasized that the “economic visioning study” will begin with conversations with “various stakeholders.”
Earlier this year, the county approved $300,000 in county funds to help develop a revitalization plan for the area.
In a Jan. 10 letter to Lake Anne residents, Alcorn said the funding would be used for economic envisioning and master planning in order to “support the long-term sustainable development planning for Lake Anne.”
A cursory review of the plaza flagged nearly $37 million in repairs for the aging area.