The organizational meeting for a new citizens’ group to advocate for improvements at Audrey Moore RECenter drew lots of support. About three dozen residents – and several county officials – came to a Feb. 5 meeting to explore the formation of a group called Friends of Audrey Moore RECenter (AMRC).
Built in 1976, Audrey Moore is the oldest rec center in the county and is due for an upgrade, said Tony Vellucci, the Braddock representative on the Park Authority Board.
Vellucci said a friends group would bring together concerned patrons of AMRC to help identify, encourage, and advocate for improvements “to position it as a vibrant RECenter for the future”; obtain community input in addressing issues related to AMRC; and educate members of the friends group about the Park Authority so they can be better advocates for AMRC.
Vellucci would like to see improvements to Audrey Moore included in the county’s next park bond referendum, which is expected to be on the 2016 ballot. If it is, expansions or improvements to AMRC could begin in 2017-18, he said. If not, AMRC would have to wait for the next park bond, which couldn’t go to voters until 2020.
The Park Authority is preparing to carry out the Parks Count! needs assessment, which is done every 10 years. That initiative includes a random survey of local households and an opportunity for public comment, so a friends group could ensure AMRC patrons have a say in that process.
Participants at the meeting discussed various ways of organizing a friends group. Several people volunteered to be on an organizational committee, and Vince Romano agreed to be the initial lead coordinator. The next friends meeting will be scheduled for March, a date hasn’t been set yet.
Several friends groups have been created for Fairfax County parks, although this would be the first one for a rec center. Friends groups active in the Annandale/Mason area include Friends of Accotink Creek, Friends of Green Springs, and the newly created Friends of Long Branch Stream Valley.