- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 16, 2005

Developers of Reston Town Center opened a $2 million park to the public last week, continuing to expand the mixed-use complex into a community within a community.

KSI Services donated the 1.25-acre park, called Reston Town Square, to the nonprofit Reston Urban Core Association.

The park features a fountain and an amphitheater for musicians and community theater. It was designed by Alan Ward of Sasaki Associates, an international landscape architecture firm.

“It is the fulfillment of the urban vision for the area and the park is part of that vision,” KSI Services said.

The park is next to two 21-story residential towers that KSI Services is building as part of a plan to add 1,000 condominiums at Reston Town Center.

The dense development could lend political leverage to civic leaders who want Reston to gain legal status as a municipality instead of a nondistinctive part of Fairfax County.

Reston Town Center, a 25-acre planned community opened in 1990, is the residential and commercial hub of the 11.5-square-mile area of Reston.

Opening of the park coincides with a move by the Reston Citizens Association to have the community recognized as a town by the state of Virginia.

The association says status as a town would give Reston’s 58,000 residents greater control over local issues, including assessments for property taxes.

The association has been trying to win support for a township at public meetings and says it has collected more than 600 signatures calling for a referendum on the issue.

In 1980, two out of three Reston residents who voted opposed the idea of township. Now the Reston Citizens Association is citing savings in making its case for township, saying residents could reduce their property taxes by an average of $215 a year. A town also would be eligible to apply for its own state and federal grants, the association points out.

In other news …

• The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has dedicated its National Fair Housing Training Academy on the campus of Howard University.

The academy teaches fair-housing advocates how to investigate and prevent housing discrimination.

“Although the Fair Housing Act of 1968 made it illegal to discriminate in selling, renting or financing housing in America, recent studies we have conducted show housing discrimination is alive and well in the U.S.,” said HUD Secretary Alphonso R. Jackson.

• Alvarez & Marsal Real Estate Advisory Services’ Washington office was one of four firms selected to share a five-year, $88 million Air Force contract to help turn over military family housing to private ownership.

The private owners will be required to renovate the housing before renting it to military families under a government priority system.

So far, the Defense Department has privatized more than 100,000 military homes and generated more than $11 billion in private capital to finance the renovations.

• The District’s Cambridge Property Group acquired Crown Ridge, an eight-story office building in Fairfax County, for $58.3 million on behalf of 1211 Connecticut Avenue Associates LLC and Sullyfield Circle LLC.

Property Lines runs Mondays. Call Tom Ramstack at 202/636-3180 or e-mail [email protected]

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