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UPDATE: A Fourth Candidate Answers Resident Questions in Community Center Election

Election is May 19 at McLean Day

Update:  Will Ferrer, a student candidate running for the McLean Comunity Center Board, has submitted his answers to the  three questions submitted by McLean residents and readers. His answers are below.

Neither incumbent Susan Bourgeois nor Craig Richardson has responded to questions from McLean residents. Malika Nimmagadda is the only student candidate who has not responded.

ORIGINAL STORY: Half of the candidates seeking election to the McLean Community Center board answered the three questions submitted by McLean residents and readers about their views on major issues facing the board.

McLean Patch asked you to submit questions to the candidates. We sent your questions to all seven adult and youth candidates last week telling them that Patch would their publish the answers verbatim. We do not edit them.

The candidates who responded were adult candidate Laurelie Wallace, a graduate student at Marymount University, working toward a Master's degree in Special Education and substitute teacher and youth candidates Drew Armstrong, of Langley High School and Craig McKenzie, of Langley High School.

Candidates not responding to questions were adult candidates incumbent board member  Susan Bourgeois  whose name is on the ballot and incumbent board members Craig Richardson who is running as a write-in candidate, and youth candidates Malika Nimmagadda, a McLean High School student and Will Ferrer, of George C. Marshall High School.

Here are the candidates and their responses exactly as they were sent to McLean Patch.

Will Ferrer

1.What would you do with the $12 million budget surplus that has accrued over the past several years?
I believe in and support the idea of a downtown facility for recreational purposes. However, in the event that the board does not vote to begin such construction, I believe that the quality of the current community center could be greatly improved perhaps through a modernization of the building's interior, in turn allowing the facility to cater to a larger number of McLean residents.

2. Are you in favor of devoting the surplus to a multi-use recreational facility in the center of McLean, and how to do you see that affecting use of the current community center and the Spring Hill Rec Center? How do you see a structure of this sort affecting downtown McLean traffic?
I support the idea of a downtown facility for I believe that such a facility would greatly increase the sense of community amongst McLean residents as well as provide said residents with a convenient location for exercise and play. In addition I believe that a downtown facility would have little to no effect on the use of the current community center for the two buildings would serve completely different purposes. I also think that a downtown facility would have little to no effect on the Spring Hill Rec Center seeming as how both centers cater to different audiences in vastly different locations. Lastly, I think that traffic should not play a part in a decision to construct a downtown facility. Such a decision should be based solely on public opinion.

3.McLean residents agreed to tax themselves to pay for building the Community Center 35 years ago. Since the bonds that built MCC were paid off long ago, will you support dissolution of the Small Tax District that imposes that extra tax on residents?
No, I believe that said tax plays a crucial role in the continuation and expansion of McLean Community Center funded programs and to eliminate it would be to diminish the positive influence MCC has on the community.

Drew Armstrong

1. What would you do with the $12 million budget surplus that has accrued over the past several years?

I think it could definitely be put to good use in the community helping maintain and improve current programs both at the community center and throughout the community.

2. Are you in favor of devoting the surplus to a multi-use recreational facility in the center of McLean, and how to do you see that affecting use of the current community center and the Spring Hill Rec Center? How do you see a structure of this sort affecting downtown McLean traffic?

 Well as far as traffic goes, I think traffic will be bad regardless in downtown McLean during rush hour with or without a recreational center. Although I do believe it would be a great place for people around downtown McLean to enjoy. There is after all a fair distance between spring hill rec center and downtown McLean, especially for the youth who cannot drive.

3. McLean residents agreed to tax themselves to pay for building the Community Center 35 years ago. Since the bonds that built MCC were paid off long ago, will you support dissolution of the Small Tax District that imposes that extra tax on residents?

Yes I believe that if the funds are no longer needed the tax is no longer necessary. Especially since we now have a substantial budget surplus.

 

Craig McKenzie

1. What would you do with the $12 million budget surplus that has accrued over the past several years?

I feel that the budget surplus has been accumulating for way too many years now. While I personally support the construction of a new downtown facility, it seems like negotiations have been in place forever without any progress. When talking to my friends about the upcoming election I often ask them what they would do with the money.

I even give them the options that have been presented to me: a new downtown facility or a community gym at Spring Hill. Very few teens were in support of the community gym as they were already members of the rec center or Sport and Health. Many of them supported the renovation or expansion of the teen center. As an afterschool volunteer at the Old Firehouse, I can see that we are truly stretching the boundaries.

I support the construction of a new teen center/multi-use building which would include a half-court gym, fully functual computer lab, rental space, full kitchen, and a music room (of which the current teen center used to have). If it is decided by the board to not make an effort in the next year or the next few years to cut down the surplus, i feel it is unfair to the tax payers which support us, and we must lower the tax rate until the surplus is, not drained, but reduced.

2. Are you in favor of devoting the surplus to a multi-use recreational facility in the center of McLean, and how to do you see that affecting use of the current community center and the Spring Hill Rec Center? How do you see a structure of this sort affecting downtown McLean traffic?

I feel that the construction of a new downtown recreational facility is not needed as many McLean residents, including the teens I've talked with have their own memberships to the rec center or Sport and Health. With that being said, I understand the difficulty for teams to get indoor gym space through the current supply in the McLean area. If building a new gym would be to support the McLean based teams, I am all for the new space. As a governing board member, I would dedicate myself to opening up to these organizations to get their input on the issue. After all, there is no use building a new gym if it wouldn't be used.

3. McLean residents agreed to tax themselves to pay for building the Community Center 35 years ago. Since the bonds that built MCC were paid off long ago, will you support dissolution of the Small Tax District that imposes that extra tax on residents?

Without the funds from the small tax district, it would be impossible to have any of the wonderful programs we have today! The bonds which built the McLean Community Center were to do just that, to erect the building itself. We must still have the tax in order to fund programs, otherwise, the building would be put to waste.

Please, imagine McLean without the 4th of July fireworks, McLean Day, Concerts in the Park, the community garage sale, and the OFTC block party. The community center is directly responsible for making McLean a more enjoyable place to live, and without the special tax, it would not be able to keep the same role. Some of the other community centers in the county have a very limited budget, and as a result, have limited programing. I pride myself and am very lucky to live in an area where our community center puts out so many great activities. Some of those very programs, such as the Teen Center's have shaped the very person who I am today.

I am proud to call the McLean Community Center and Old Firehouse my "home away from home" and would strongly object to any
dissolution of the tax district which makes the amazing programing possible. 

Laurelie Wallace

1. What would you do with the $12 million budget surplus that has accrued over the past several years? 

If I am elected to the McLean Community Center Governing Board, I will support using McLean Community Center resources to improve and expand current facilities as well as to advocate for a new multipurpose recreational facility for the community.

2. Are you in favor of devoting the surplus to a multi-use recreational facility in the center of McLean, and how to do you see that affecting use of the current community center and the Spring Hill Rec Center? How do you see a structure of this sort affecting downtown McLean traffic?

 I strongly believe that there should be a McLean Community Center presence in downtown McLean.  I will advocate for a multipurpose recreational facility in the downtown area.  I think this facility is needed and it is a great way to attract the public to our local businesses, shops and restaurants.  I would ensure that this facility would have different uses than the current McLean Community Center and the Spring Hill Rec Center.  The traffic issue cannot be addressed until we have an exact location for the proposed multipurpose center but I do think that issue needs to be considered if we decide to move forward with building the facility.  As long as we have a place to put the facility and the facility will encompass the diverse interests of McLean residents, I am in full support of it.


3. McLean residents agreed to tax themselves to pay for building the Community Center 35 years ago. Since the bonds that built MCC were paid off long ago, will you support dissolution of the Small Tax District that imposes that extra tax on residents?

Regardless of the fact that the bonds have been paid off, the Small Tax District currently funds the McLean Community Center and its programs.  If we get rid of the tax, how would the McLean Community Center and its programs be funded?  That would have to be answered before I would consider supporting the dissolution of the Small Tax District. 

McLean Patch will publish additional responses if we receive them. Election Day is Saturday at McLean Day.

McLean Day Survival Guide.

McLean Mom May 18, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Being new to the area, I have a few observations. McLean does a lot of things well, but building community isn't one of them. I think the youth in McLean are poorly underserved by MCC. With so many elementary schools in town, the MCC should be doing more to bring the greater McLean community together. The teen center requires membership. Performances at the Alden theater specify age 4+. Also, McLean Youth Athletics is a powerful, influential organization. There is a huge budget surplus that they want a piece of. Sports are important, but should not be the sole focus. Will there be a vote to the people on how to use the surplus, or will it be left to this board to decide? We all know how politics are run, and this seems like a formula for disaster.
Craig Mckenzie May 19, 2012 at 11:16 AM
Hello McLean Mom! While I agree with 98% of what you said, the membership for the firehouse includes sooo much! You get a FREE afterschool program, snack, use of an amazing computer lab, Georgetown Learning Center on Mondays, access to Friday night activities, and 50% off to dances. Transportation from cooper and longfellow? Included! But, the youth are underserved! Once you reach high school, the program availability drops. This is something I have been working hard for on the OFTC Teen Council. While the board has the final say on the surplus, citizen comments are always welcome and taken into strong consideration. Also, if you or others wish to have more of a say, run for the board! Representative government is wonderful- everyone has a vote and an ability to hold office. Meetings are generally every fourth Wednesday of the month and i encourage you to attend and talk during the "citizen comment" portion of the meeting! Thanks, Craig Mckenzie, candidate

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