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Old 01-01-2012, 02:44 PM
 
165 posts, read 202,386 times
Reputation: 92

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I was at Lake Anne today and came up to the cement play area that you see on the left when you walk in. My children started playing on the structure (that what it is there for). There was one man sitting on the it smoking a cigarette. A group of about five other men were standing around and some were also smoking. A sign on the play area states that it is for children and that loitering is not allowed.

When I asked the younger man who was sitting on to move, he acted as if he did not understand English. I tried to say vamoose in Spanish but maybe he didn't understand that either. Somewhere in the mix, he seemed to get the idea that I was displeased, and got up but never said anything. He looked like he was about to punch me and he stood in up and stared in my face for a long while before he left. Next, I went over the the other group of men and I asked them to please move off of the play area. They were more cooperative but still lingered around me after they got off the the direct play area boundaries. (Is it too much to ask for them to move a few feet away from where children play to smoke their cigarettes?) The second group also had very limited English.

My concern is that no one is telling these folks what is acceptable. I don't know how long they had been in the country but they need to understand that this is not appropriate. I blame this on the Reston HOA. One person with children should not have to deal with this. The main thing for me is that will just stay away from Lake Anne and discourage people with children from buying in that area.

The larger context of the issue is that Reston is a fringe area. It took a big hit about four years ago when a large portion was redistricted from the Oakton high school pyramid to South Lakes. There is a large low-income immigrant faction in the areas to the south and west. To the north and east, the areas are very affluent (i.e. Great Falls). The question for Reston is how is it going to weather this. Will it remain a high-value area, or is it going to the dogs?

 
Old 01-01-2012, 03:44 PM
 
5,125 posts, read 10,088,665 times
Reputation: 2871
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMOCCC View Post
I was at Lake Anne today and came up to the cement play area that you see on the left when you walk in. My children started playing on the structure (that what it is there for). There was one man sitting on the it smoking a cigarette. A group of about five other men were standing around and some were also smoking. A sign on the play area states that it is for children and that loitering is not allowed.

When I asked the younger man who was sitting on to move, he acted as if he did not understand English. I tried to say vamoose in Spanish but maybe he didn't understand that either. Somewhere in the mix, he seemed to get the idea that I was displeased, and got up but never said anything. He looked like he was about to punch me and he stood in up and stared in my face for a long while before he left. Next, I went over the the other group of men and I asked them to please move off of the play area. They were more cooperative but still lingered around me after they got off the the direct play area boundaries. (Is it too much to ask for them to move a few feet away from where children play to smoke their cigarettes?) The second group also had very limited English.

My concern is that no one is telling these folks what is acceptable. I don't know how long they had been in the country but they need to understand that this is not appropriate. I blame this on the Reston HOA. One person with children should not have to deal with this. The main thing for me is that will just stay away from Lake Anne and discourage people with children from buying in that area.

The larger context of the issue is that Reston is a fringe area. It took a big hit about four years ago when a large portion was redistricted from the Oakton high school pyramid to South Lakes. There is a large low-income immigrant faction in the areas to the south and west. To the north and east, the areas are very affluent (i.e. Great Falls). The question for Reston is how is it going to weather this. Will it remain a high-value area, or is it going to the dogs?
If you live in the area, perhaps you could ask the HOA to post the playground rules in Spanish as well as English. I'm assuming, of course, that you would have chased off a group of unaccompanied grandmothers as well, if one of them had lit up on the playground.

There is a sizable Hispanic population in the Lake Anne area of Reston. It is not discouraging families with children from moving to the area. Enrollment is growing at Lake Anne ES across demographic groups, with considerably more white students, for example, there than a few years ago. People want to live near areas with jobs. Reston has them.

The redistricting of students from Oakton and other schools to South Lakes was hardly a "bit hit" to Reston. It boosted South Lakes' enrollment, reduced the percentage of low-income students to bring the percentage at South Lakes somewhat more in line with neighboring schools, and likely will soon be shown to have increased SAT scores. The only downside is that FCPS underestimated how much the school's enrollment would grow, so it's now overcrowded. But I expect most people in Reston prefer trailers to the declining enrollment the school was experiencing 5-6 years ago.

And, of course, the Silver Line is coming Reston's way as well. Bottom line is Reston may not be for everyone, but it will continue to appeal to many people and is hardly the fringe.

Last edited by JD984; 01-01-2012 at 04:14 PM..
 
Old 01-01-2012, 07:55 PM
 
165 posts, read 202,386 times
Reputation: 92
Adults who are not accompanying children should not sit on play equipment and block the way of children, especially if they are smoking. The "no loitering" sign is in Spanish as well as English. If you think that I would be ok with a bunch of white guys blowing smoke in my kids' faces, you would be wrong.

The Oakton school district is one of the most sought after in the region. When the boundaries changed, property values in the areas acquired by South Lakes plummeted. The reason why they are having higher than expected enrollment at South Lakes is due to the high fertility rate of immigrants. This is happening all over the county, such as in Annandale where they were forced to redistrict for this reason. The highly coveted Langley school district had to change boundaries due to a declining population. The reason? A very rich white population was aging and had fewer children to put into school.

I agree that Reston is becoming quite a business destination. My concern is that as a residential area, it is possible that it could decline. Reston is sandwiched between the very affluent Great Falls and very low income pockets to its south and west. Great Falls schools actually provide charity to sister schools just a few miles away. We live in a very odd time, and the question is whether Reston can keep its quality of life and property values up or become another Annandale.

One of the first signs of decay in a neighborhood is having just the kinds of things happen like the I described with the smoking loiterers. Women, in particular have a very low tolerance for areas that are dirty and seem unsafe. (There were cigarette butts lying around the play area too.) It you want to watch a mall decline, such as the Landover or Germantown mall, this is also how it starts.

Anyway, I understand that you want to be a booster for Reston like so many who post on this board. I am just suggesting that the Reston HOA might want to work on quality of life issues. I know that the shops at Lake Anne have not been doing so well. They will have one family less of customers after today.

Just to emphasize, you might want to address the issue rather than try to beat down on people who are bringing a concern up. Talking Reston up won't stop a cultural change.
 
Old 01-01-2012, 08:13 PM
 
19,198 posts, read 31,471,463 times
Reputation: 4013
You don't have a right to dictate the culture nor school boundaries, I am happy to say. And since I actually live a little south of Reston, I was wondering just where you believe all these threatening "very low income pockets" are? I still get around a good bit, and I don't think I'm aware of any of them. And did you know by the way that the median household income in Annandale is about $90,000 per year? Is that what you fear Reston will sink into?
 
Old 01-01-2012, 08:39 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 10,944,195 times
Reputation: 3699
Oh no, not Annandale!

I think, if one were so concerned about the racial make up and income of neighboring locations, one should move to the center of that "safe" little Great Falls area. If you can't afford it, guess you'll be stuck with us heathens amidst the untouchables

All kidding aside, I understand wanting to live in an area you view as safe with high test scores and whatever else. Just about every other "moving to NoVA" post is about that. But the way you come across in these postings is pretty darn rude and elitist.
 
Old 01-01-2012, 08:51 PM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 4,515,268 times
Reputation: 891
Lost in all this is the fact that these men were hanging out on a playground, smoking and making it harder for kids to be using the playground equipment. Does anyone think that adult men w/o children hanging around playgrounds and leaving cigarette butts is really acceptable?

On the other hand, a poster who talks about the "high fertility rate of immigrants" is already pre-disposed to see a problem. I suspect if you focused on the quality of life issues and avoided talking about the race of people who are being anti-social, it'd help quite a bit -- we can avoid getting distracted by race issues.
 
Old 01-01-2012, 10:07 PM
 
5,125 posts, read 10,088,665 times
Reputation: 2871
Quote:
Originally Posted by stpickrell View Post
Lost in all this is the fact that these men were hanging out on a playground, smoking and making it harder for kids to be using the playground equipment. Does anyone think that adult men w/o children hanging around playgrounds and leaving cigarette butts is really acceptable?

On the other hand, a poster who talks about the "high fertility rate of immigrants" is already pre-disposed to see a problem. I suspect if you focused on the quality of life issues and avoided talking about the race of people who are being anti-social, it'd help quite a bit -- we can avoid getting distracted by race issues.
If this incident actually happened as portrayed, I'm sorry the OP had an unpleasant experience, but I'd still question whether one afternoon's experience leads to the broader inferences that he/she has asked us to draw - which is that the quality of life in Reston is on the skids.

The OP has compounded the factual errors of his/her first post with even more factual errors in his/her second. For example, the higher enrollment in the South Lakes district than projected 3-4 years ago is due to several other factors besides the fertility rate of immigrants (such as fewer people leaving the area than had the been the case in prior years, as the local job market has been better than the job market in other areas); the Langley HS boundaries haven't changed for a very long time (in fact, one of the principal complaints of some people during the South Lakes redistricting in 2007-08 was that Langley HS was excluded from the study); and the areas south of Reston (Vienna/Oakton/Chantilly) aren't low-income areas. I'm as eager for Armageddon as the next person, but at least get your facts right so we know how much we can keep in the freezer before all hell breaks loose.

Reston has long accepted more low and moderate-income housing than neighboring communities in Fairfax County, and interactions between some of the lower-income residents and other residents or visitors in Reston's parks, trails and civic spaces are occasionally strained. But, overall, it's a place that's flourished, with many employers in the area, a variety of housing types, and an enviable location near Dulles, and it's certainly poised to do well with the arrival of several Silver Line stations over the next few years.

Last edited by JD984; 01-01-2012 at 10:18 PM..
 
Old 01-01-2012, 10:41 PM
 
165 posts, read 202,386 times
Reputation: 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by stpickrell View Post
Lost in all this is the fact that these men were hanging out on a playground, smoking and making it harder for kids to be using the playground equipment. Does anyone think that adult men w/o children hanging around playgrounds and leaving cigarette butts is really acceptable?
Confronting five large men who never really left me alone and then separately a younger one who was thinking about punching my lights out was a brutal experience. How would anyone like to spend what they thought would be a nice afternoon out with their wife and children like that?

Anyway, I was on to more than I thought. The 2010 Census data shows that tract 4821, the immediate area around Lake Anne, had a median household income decline of 23 percent over the past 10 years. It is one of only three tracts in all of Fairfax County to have a decline of over 20 percent.

Something is changing there.
 
Old 01-02-2012, 05:21 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 31,080,646 times
Reputation: 42988
Kids like to play on the cement blocks in front of the coffee house, however it's not a playground. It's a piece of "civic art" created in the 1960s as a place where people would sit or otherwise hang out on the plaza. It's between a coffee house and a small market, and the original idea was people could buy a sandwich or a cup of coffee and then sit on the blocks enjoying the day.





The other two areas that children like to play are the fountain and the cement statues in front of the art center:



However, even though kids like to play there these were built to be public art, and are not designated as playgrounds. Adults can, and frequently do, use these areas too as seen below.



These pieces of art were intended for people to use. However, if you don't feel comfortable having your child play near adults, I would suggest that Lake Anne Plaza is not where you want to take him. You want to go to an actual playground.
 
Old 01-02-2012, 06:56 AM
 
Location: Reston, VA
2,090 posts, read 4,246,426 times
Reputation: 1331
Caladium - thanks for putting this thread into perspective.
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