Monday, July 22, 2013

Back in action

Whoa...what year is this? Too much has happened since the 2011 election for me to do a catch-up post. I spent a lot of time potty-training my twins and dealing with their terrible 3's and traumatic 4's and I really just lost my sanity for a while. Then, during the biggest crisis to hit Brambleton since I've lived here ( article 1 | article 2 ), I was helping out on the research/strategy side and didn't really want to write about what was going on because it upset me too much. Instead, I unloaded verbally on anyone who would listen (or couldn't escape). I'm not going to write anything else specifically about it now because of the lawsuit mentioned in that second link; even though I am not one of the petitioners, I know things that probably shouldn't be shared and if I get worked up about it again who knows what I might write.

So, Brambleton is growing, and it has growing pains. This has never been a perfect place but some folks move here and seem to regret it immediately - if their rants on Facebook are to be believed. Brambleton is a magical place where children never egg houses; where teens never drag race down deserted streets; where packages never go missing from porches; where unlocked cars are never ransacked; where neighbors never show up at Harris Teeter in identical chevron maxi-dresses... right? No. Brambleton is a place with problems both real and imagined. And this summer's malaise has manifested itself in one issue: the pools.

Brambleton has two pools. Three if you count Summerfield, which is only open to Summerfield residents because they pay for it in their condo fees. Or four if you count Sport & Health, which you shouldn't because not all residents are members, even though Brambleton gives you one free membership per household for a year. Or six if you count the two (at last check) private residences that have inground pools. So really, two pools. One is closed a lot in the mornings because of swim team practice and meets; the other is smaller and hosts swim lessons, though it doesn't close for those. Both are managed, uh, inconsistently by the same company. I haven't been to the Community Center pool this year, but my kids did lessons at Beacon Crest so we've been there quite a bit, and in the evenings, it's not so crowded. But apparently if you go at peak times you could be turned away, or if the lifeguards don't show up to open on time, there are lines; if you do get in, the bathrooms might be dirty; there isn't enough shade; the lifeguards are lazy; etc. (These are not my complaints - I'm just summarizing.)

Pool #3 was supposed to be open this summer, and was designed with the swim team in mind (which would free up the larger and more kid-friendly Community Center pool). But it's not ready, and boy, did the villagers mount up their pitchforks. I can't even begin to relay the insanity that went on (mostly on Facebook, but it spilled over onto the Brambletonian a little bit) after people showed up at the Community Center pool on a hot Sunday morning and the pool opened one hour late. Brambleton transitioned right into Crazytown. People were fighting over the pool issues, over the multiple neighborhood Facebook groups where the fighting played out (the Brambleton Facebook ridiculousness merits its own separate post), and over the methods by which problems should be resolved here. I wondered if some residents were just going to show up at the third site with shovels and try to hand dig the pool themselves.  Meanwhile, there are people with real problems in the real world.

Over the weekend, things seems to have simmered down a bit (the epic Regal Wood / Cartier block party helped!) But it still feels like there are rifts in this community (some of which were exacerbated by the elementary and high school redistricting) that are going to keep coming to light every time there is a problem related to growth. New residents should embrace what we oldtimers already know - Brambleton isn't perfect, but it's the best place to be.

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