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Herndon’s indoor tennis court center is closed early for the season (courtesy Town of Herndon)

The Town of Herndon’s indoor tennis center has closed early for the season, the Herndon Parks and Recreation Department announced yesterday (Tuesday).

The closure was prompted by damage to the tennis enclosure, according to Reid Okoniewski, a spokesperson for the town’s parks and recreation department. 

Located next to the Herndon Community Center at 814 Ferndale Avenue, the tennis enclosure was “significantly deflated and a door was open for unknown reasons, which had caused the air to escape,” Okoniewski said. The town learned of the issue early Sunday (March 24) morning.

A later safety check found that 75% of the lighting was damaged, along with a portion of the courts due to fall lights. 

The lead time to get the specialized bulbs and the contractors to install them would extend beyond the April 14 season closure, which would not allow us to have it repaired safely in the time that remains,” Okoniewski said. 

Individuals with tennis contracts, classics and leagues were notified of next steps earlier this week. Indoor classes will move outside, and men’s double league and indoor tennis contracts have been cancelled for the reminder of the season. Patrons who are affected will have their refunds processed.

“We apologize for the inconvenience and hope we see you on our outdoor tennis courts,” the town wrote in a statement.

A new, temporary tennis structure will be installed for the new indoor sports season by the fall. 

The Rockville-based store Tennis Topia is expanding with a new location in McLean (photo by Doug McKinney/Tennis Topia)

(Updated at 4/14/24) A retail store that sells tennis and pickleball equipment is expanding to McLean after almost two decades in Maryland.

Tennis Topia anticipates opening its second location on April 20 at 6262 Old Dominion Drive, taking over suites F and G, which respectively belonged to a hair studio and a dry cleaner.

After 18 years at Wintergreen Plaza in Rockville, Maryland, where the company launched in 2006, owner Marco Impeduglia decided the time had come to extend Tennis Topia’s physical footprint further south in response to the demand for its services in Fairfax County.

“We have seen the tennis and pickleball participation numbers increase all over the DMV, but specifically, also in Fairfax County, and the McLean area is a hot bed for tennis,” Impeduglia told FFXnow. “…We’ve seen that over the last few years, and at the end of the day, we would be the only tennis and pickleball retail store in specifically McLean.”

Impeduglia has witnessed that growth firsthand as the founder and executive director of Pros to You, which provides tennis and pickleball ball coaching to several swim and tennis clubs in Northern Virginia and Maryland. In McLean, its clients include the Langley, Chesterbrook, Highlands and McLean clubs.

Based on national data that indicated participation in both sports had increased in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fairfax County Park Authority estimated that the county had about 12,881 pickleball players and 83,141 tennis players in a pickleball study report released in December 2021.

After starting Pros to You in 2015, Impeduglia bought Tennis Topia in Rockville last year, because he saw “untapped potential” in a business where coaches could teach athletes not only how to play tennis and pickleball, but also what equipment to use and how it functions.

He says branching out into the retail market has “elevated” Pros to You’s coaching capabilities, ensuring their players have access to the best, most up-to-date equipment.

“It’s really worked hand-in-hand specifically over the last year,” he said. “So, we’re excited to cater to our tennis players and pickleball players that are down there, but also, even for other tennis programs that are out there in Virginia, we welcome them to come to the store and get the best new hot item for their players.”

In addition to racquets, Tennis Topia sells shoes, balls, apparel and other athletic gear. Though it’s smaller than the flagship Rockville store, the 2,100-square-foot McLean store will have the same equipment brands and services, including racquet stringing with a 24-hour turnaround time.

Impeduglia says his team looked at “dozens” of potential store locations before finding the Old Dominion Drive site, which is adjacent to the Chesterbrook Shopping Center. Other retailers in the strip include Fonts Books & Gifts, an independent bookshop that opened last fall.

If the new shop works out, he sees opportunities to further expand Tennis Topia in Northern Virginia, possibly including a location in southeastern Fairfax County, where Pros to You currently works with clubs in the Hollin Meadows, Mount Vernon Park and Riverside Gardens neighborhoods.

For now, Impeduglia is looking forward to giving players in the McLean area a more convenient retail option.

“We literally get a chance to open up this store right when the outdoor [playing] season starts,” Impeduglia said. “So, I’m super-pumped to really cater to the Northern Virginia folks, because it’s tough for them to come to Rockville. So, they want a location, they want a store like that, they’re going to get it in less than six weeks.”

The Glade tennis courts in Reston are slated for a full renovation (via Reston Association/YouTube)

(Updated at 8:32 a.m., March 5) Infrastructure damaged by a storm at the Glade Tennis Courts in Reston is set for repairs that are expected to wrap up in the fall or spring.

In an update released Friday (March 1), Reston Association Capital Projects Director Chris Schumaker said RA plans to complete a full-court renovation, including new fences and LED court lighting, for the facility.

RA also plans to repair a damaged underground irrigation system that hydrates the clay courts, Schumaker said. The system was damaged by a storm in 2018.

The courts at 11550 Glade Drive will remain closed for the duration of the renovation period. Schumaker estimated reopening in the fall or early next spring.

Meanwhile, renovations at the North Hills pavilion (1400 N Village Road) are set to wrap up in mid-April. They include accessibility improvements, new parking areas, a pathway linking the parking lot and the pavilion, new grill stations and park furniture.

RA also plans to make the parking lot ADA compliant and provide an accessible pathway to link the parking lot to the pavilion.

The Barton Hill tennis courts in Reston (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 10:30 a.m. on 2/6/2024) After more than a year of impassioned and often acrimonious public testimony, Reston Association will drop plans for pickleball courts as part of the renovation of Barton Hill’s tennis courts.

At a meeting on Jan. 25, the RA Board of Directors voted to remove pickleball courts from the scope of the renovation, which had inspired passionate testimony from both pickleball lovers and neighboring residents concerned about safety, security, parking and the noise associated with the burgeoning sport.

Board director Jennifer Jushchuk, who proposed removing pickleball from the renovation, said she was impressed by the level of public engagement on the proposal.

“I feel like we’ve pitted members against members, and I don’t think that was ever the intention of the board that approved it,” she said, adding that she hopes RA can determine the scope of pickleball needs in the community.

“I just don’t think we got there with Barton Hill,” Jushchuk said.

Most board members said they were concerned about the disproportionate impact of pickleball on the surrounding community.

“I have to be sympathetic to the needs of the people who actually live in the community,” said director Travis Johnson.

Some of that debate continued at the Jan. 25 board meeting.

Residents like Laura David, who lives on Harper Square Court, pressed the board to look for more appropriate places for pickleball that wouldn’t disturb neighboring communities with noise.

“Let’s think outside of the original box we all had, which was to look at Barton Hill,” David said.

Others like Hayes McCarty, a Reston resident for more than 50 years, said RA’s board should take into account noise studies it commissioned that found average noise levels created by pickleball fall below limits enforced by Fairfax County’s noise ordinance.

“The association paid a lot of money for these studies. These people are experts, and I think we have to listen to what they have to say,” McCarty said.

As the plan moved through approval process, RA scaled back plans for pickleball at the facility, which currently consists of four unlit tennis courts built in 1985 at 1901 Barton Hill Road.

Last September, RA reduced its plan for the facility from six to four dedicated pickleball courts and two dedicated tennis courts, removing blended lines that would have allowed both tennis and pickleball uses. Now, all of the courts will be for tennis.

Some board members were dismayed with how the decision was rolled out.

Board director Margaret Perry said she wants RA to brainstorm alternatives for other pickleball locations before voting against its inclusion in Barton Hill. Her motion to delay the vote to the board’s March meeting did not gain traction, and she ultimately voted against removing pickleball from the project.

(Correction: This story initially said Margaret Perry voted for removing pickleball.)

Board president John Farrell said he was particularly concerned with how some board members justified nixing pickleball, noting that neighboring residents often have concerns about the addition of any new facility or program to the community.

“No way in hell am I going to give the neighbors a veto over serving the other 63,000 people [in Reston] and I’m disturbed that I heard some of my colleagues suggest that that’s the fundamental analysis,” Farrell said. “I hope that’s not the case.”

A proposal to renovate the tennis courts at Barton Hill is moving forward (via Joan Azeka/Unsplash)

In response to concerns about noise, Reston Association has scaled back plans for pickleball courts at Barton Hill.

At a Sept. 6 community meeting, staff said they reduced the number of pickleball courts planned for the facility at 1901 Barton Hill Road from six to four and removed blended lines between tennis courts that allowed both tennis and pickleball uses.

The move was in response to concerns about increased noise from the pickleball facilities, according to Chris Schumaker, RA’s capital projects director.

RA conducted two types of noise studies on June 1 — one for continuous noise and one for instantaneous noise. In both cases, RA found that the average noise levels — measured in weighted decibels (dBAs) — were below the limits enforced by Fairfax County’s noise ordinance.

The average for continuous noise was 54 dBA, and the average for instantaneous or impulse noise was 57 dBA.

Staff also plan to install a sound attenuation product called Acoustiblok, a technology that could reduce decibels by 25 and 30 units.

“We feel pretty confident that we can mitigate the noise at Barton Hill,” RA Chief Operating Officer Peter Lusk said.

According to Schumaker, RA has submitted a request for the Virginia Department of Transportation to install a crosswalk over Barton Hill Road at the Sunrise Valley Drive intersection to address safety concerns.

The request was bolstered by a May 20 traffic study that found a high number of pedestrians using the crosswalk.

Staff also said that pickleball and soccer events could be staggered to limit impacts on the street.

RA’s Board of Directors will consider the project at its Sept. 28 meeting. The project will then go to the Design Review Board for review and approval, likely in November.

A contractor would be selected in February or March, depending on the board’s input. The contract will then head to the board for final approval after that point.

At the meeting, residents’ feedback fell on both sides of the fence. As pickleball has grown in popularity, concerns about the noisiness of the sport have mounted nationwide.

Laura David, who serves on the board of Reston’s Harpers Square Cluster, noted that the noise study took the average noise level from the center court and not from the boundary. She said that neighboring residents remain concerned about high levels of noise from the whacking of pickleballs.

“Sound still continues to be a major concern,” David said.

Others said RA should continue to support pickleball and asked for the original number of planned pickleball courts to be restored.

“There’s a shortage of [facilities]. There’s a real shortage,” said Reston resident Carol Dickey.

Some questioned if it made sense for RA to invest money in the project if it yielded only four pickleball courts.

“You’re talking like it’s something bad. It’s not,” said Carol Shepherd, a Reston resident of 46 years and a pickleball player.

Photo via Joan Azeka/Unsplash

The Glade Recreation Area in Reston (via Google Maps)

A planned renovation at Reston’s Glade tennis courts has been rescheduled for next year.

The project, which was originally scheduled to begin this year, has been pushed to next year, Reston Association announced yesterday (Monday).

The courts reopened this week after the court surface was reconditioned and new court lines were installed. The old layer of the clay was removed, replaced and reconditioned.

The change was prompted by limited contractor availability, according to RA Chief Operating Officer Peter Lusk.

“The pool of contractors that can complete this work is small and are booked through the end of this calendar year,” Lusk said. “RA contemplated starting the project in late 2023, through 2024, but pausing the project for cold weather is not considered best practice.”

Staff are working with the contractor to determine dates for next year. Once it begins, the project would take between three and five months.

Image via Google Maps

The Barton Hill Recreation Area in Reston is slated for upgrades (via Google Maps)

Reston Association is poised to share updated plans for the renovation of Barton Hill tennis courts earlier this year.

Staff are prepared to host an early spring meeting to share the update plans to upgrade the tennis courts following a legal disagreement with a county that prompted RA to remove lighting upgrades from the plan.

The proposal to host a meeting in early spring will go before RA’s Board of Directors at a meeting on Thursday (Jan. 26).

Last year, county zoning staff said that RA needed to develop a Planned Residential Community plan to install court lighting. Despite an appeal by RA, the county’s Board of Zoning Appeals reaffirmed that county’s zoning administrator’s decision.

Instead of pursuing additional legal action, RA chose to drop court lighting from the renovations.

“Reston Association staff ire pared to host a meeting in early spring to share the update conceptual plans of the project,” according to draft meeting materials.

The renovation includes the installation new pickle ball courts and the refurbishment of court surfaces.

The tennis courts were developed as a PRC zoning district in 1985. Four unlit tennis courts with a single water fountain and a nine-space parking area are located on the site. A neighboring parking lot has 19 parking spaces.

Photo via Google Maps

The Barton Hill Recreation Area in Reston is slated for upgrades (via Google Maps)

Upgraded lighting is no longer a component of upgrades to the Barton Hill tennis courts in Reston.

Reston Association will not challenge the Oct. 26 vote by the Fairfax County Board of Appeals upholding an earlier decision to require additional approvals before lights can be installed at the facility.

Board of Appeals member Daniel Aminoff emphasized that the county’s current ordinance does not specifically indicate that lighting-related upgrades are considered exceptions to a requirement for an amendment to Reston’s existing Planned Residential Community (PRC) plan.

“Had the Board of Supervisors intended to include lights, they would have specifically delineated in that case,” said Aminoff.

The board agreed with a county zoning administrator that a PRC plan amendment is required for the proposed upgrades in addition to a site plan.

RA had argued that it only needs a sports illumination plan to move forward with 23 LED light poles, which would stand 26 feet tall. RA also said the approved development plan for the area describes the courts as a recreational area and, as a result, allows for greater flexibility in planning.

The project will still include refurbishment and replacement of the existing tennis courts. RA’s board removed roughly $381,000 from its budget after the lighting component was dropped, according to RA spokesperson Mike Leone.

Leone declined to provide a response on the association opting not to appeal the county’s decision.

The proposal includes renovation of four courts and striping for tennis and pickle ball. RA previously anticipated the project would be ready by the end of the year, but the new timeline has not currently been finalized.

Photo via Google Maps

The Barton Hill Recreation Area in Reston is slated for upgrades (via Google Maps)

Reston Association is seeking more time to work through the county’s appeals process on its proposed upgrades to the Barton Hill tennis courts.

At a board meeting last night (Thursday), RA’s Board of Directors unanimously approved a motion to request more time to gather information and for the appeals process. The board met in closed session and approved the motion with no public discussion.

The board directed the the association to also look into “negotiating a resolution on the issue with the Hunter Mill District Supervisor,” according to the approved motion.

Staff may need at least one month to gather more information before the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals takes the issue up at a meeting on Sept. 28.

The proposal has been hung up due to a disagreement over what is required to move the project forward. In addition to approval of a site plan, the county contends that, in addition to a site plan approval, RA needs to get an amendment to the existing Planned Residential Community (PRC) Plan approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors before installing lights at the tennis court facility.

RA has maintained that these additional steps are not necessary and would burden the association with unnecessary additional costs and further extend the timeline of the project.

The association hopes to upgrade lighting at the facility — including 23 LED light poles. The renovation of four courts, striping for tennis and pickle ball and upgrades to the lights is planned.

RA had hoped to wrap up the project by the end of the year, but it’s unclear how the appeals process will affect the timeline.

The county was not immediately available for comment.


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