The Town of Herndon Parks and Recreation Department offers a newly approved lower fee entry for admission to the community center to residents in lower income brackets. A daily or multi-visit admission pass grants access to the community center's indoor pool, gymnasium, fitness room, and racquetball courts.
“Families who may typically and historically be under-connected to valuable assets in the community or underrepresented in spaces positioned for advocacy will now be able to directly experience the benefits the programming at the Herndon Community Center can offer,” Cindy Roeder, director of Herndon Parks and Recreation, wrote on behalf of the town in an email on Friday, Sept. 15.
The price decrease resulted from a community collaboration with 12 ON Herndon Ambassadors of Cornerstones, who advocated for more affordable access to Herndon's recreational activities. On September 12, the Town of Herndon Council approved a resolution to amend the town's parks and recreation fees.
ON is an abbreviation for Fairfax County’s Opportunity Neighborhoods initiative of Neighborhood and Community Services. Led locally in Herndon by the nonprofit Cornerstones, it brings together residents, service providers, schools, and other supporters in the community to create a shared vision to address needs and achieve equitable results for youth and their caregivers.
Alexandra Stewart is the strategic director of Cornerstone's Opportunity Neighborhoods in Reston. During a public comment at the Sept. 12 Herndon Town Council meeting, Stewart said that "an amazing partnership was formed to develop the vision" through the commitment and dedicated collaboration of Opportunity Neighborhoods' 12 resident leaders. They hold the title of either neighborhood ambassador or community connector. Members collaborated to identify system gaps and meet community needs, striving for equitable outcomes.
The Opportunity Neighborhood members who worked hard to change the fee policy were gathered beside Stewart at the Town Council Public Hearing. Standing at the microphone and addressing the council, Stewart, emotional with pride, had to pause, hand on heart, and take a deep breath before she called out their names one by one, and they stood for recognition.
“The town is extremely appreciative of the collaborative spirit demonstrated by the ON Herndon team, and we look forward to working with them on future projects to inform, engage, and celebrate Herndon’s diverse community,” Roeder added.
Earlier this month, during a council work session, Roeder briefed Herndon Town Council members on the proposed resolution to expand access to the community center's programming for Town of Herndon families and individuals. They are residents who, due to financial constraints, may need help to utilize the center. The fee reduction will increase opportunities for socialization, personal and family wellness, physical and mental health, and a sense of belonging within Herndon's important pillar and community.