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Votes

Tear Up and Build

Building and renovating are key themes in Vienna.

Whether it was speed humps, brick sidewalks or new parks, construction was a theme this spring and summer for the town of Vienna. Coupled with the construction theme was the town election in May, which resulted in placing two new council members on board.

Later this fall, the sniper situation dominated people's interest, as police patrolled schools and shopping centers to protect and ease people's frames of mind. When police caught two suspects, the town breathed a collective sigh of relief, with local schools, churches and organizations sending their police officers cards and goodies as thanks.

o The Northern Virginia Park Authority discussed plans in March to renovate the Washington & Old Dominion station off of Church Street. Model train enthusiasts and the park authority hope to turn the station into a museum, and install central heating in the current building. Rebuilding costs are estimated at $250,000.

"I've got lots of old tickets and time tables up to 100 years old.

And I've got about 850 photos, lots of images, all in a vault in my

office," said Paul McCray, manager of the Washington & Old

Dominion Trail for the Northern Virginia Park Authority.

o After 20 years as park and recreation director for Vienna, Richard Black retired in March 2002. He was replaced by Cathy Salgado, who came into the job with 16 years of experience in prior positions.

Under Black's tenure, the Vienna Community Center underwent two renovations, in 1988 and 1999. He also renovated several area playgrounds in the 1980s.

o Town voters elected two new citizens to the town council, in a uncontested town election in May. Laurie Genevro Cole and Edythe Frankel Kelleher were the two newest council members, with Albert Boudreau and Jane Seeman winning their re-election bids as council member and town mayor, respectively.

Then-council member Steve Briglia had originally sought re-election, but dropped out of the race to become town attorney. When Briglia dropped out to become town attorney, all candidates ran unopposed. Out of the 10,240 registered voters in Vienna, 9.6 percent of voters, or 978, voted in the May election. Cole and Kelleher were the first two new members to be elected on the board since 1997; the council appointed citizens to fill vacant seats during 1997 to 2002.

o In May, town officials learned that VDOT projects for the renovation of Branch and Beulah Roads would happen, but not for another few years. The reconstruction of Beulah Road is scheduled to come up for bid in late 2004, with estimated costs at $5,815,000. The bid for Branch Road is scheduled to come up in early 2007, with costs estimated at $4,688,000.

While Vienna mayor Jane Seeman said she was glad that the two roads were still on the list, she was disappointed that the work to improve the roads won't happen anytime soon.

"[Beulah] is eroding and it carries so much traffic that patching- that's just what it is, patching," said Seeman. "It needs complete reconstruction, down to the road bed. It needs a curb and gutter. It needs to be taken to ground zero and rebuilt."

Since reconstruction may be later, Vienna may be forced to do more patching until 2005 on Beulah Road, as a temporary measure.

The roads are part of a six-year plan adopted by the

Commonwealth Transportation Board to improve heavily-used existing roads. VDOT said the road projects were delayed due to the economic downturn, increased funding for highway maintenance, and updated cost estimates.

o On June 19, the fire department responded to a two-alarm fire at the Vienna Inn, a neighborhood landmark. Seven fire engines were dispatched to the scene, and more than 50 firefighters brought the fire under control in around 25 minutes. Damages were estimated at $125,000.

Because the fire was concentrated in the restaurant office and the dry storage room, the Vienna Inn reopened shortly afterwards, continuing to offer its chili dogs to all. This fire was the third fire to occur in the Vienna Inn's history.

"There have been a lot of people coming through here and expressing their concern," said owner Marty Volk. "I've seen a lot of old friends who have stopped by."

o Although the initial completion date was the Halloween Parade, workers were still placing brick sidewalks and fixing utilities for the Maple Avenue Enhancement Project. The project, which runs from Park Street to East Street, began last May, and is intended to beautify the areas along the main town drag of Maple Avenue. The project extends brick sidewalks, creates brick crosswalks at intersections, and improves street lighting with ornamental fixtures, all at a cost of $5.4 million.

While construction crews were ripping sidewalks apart, area commuters and local businesses complained of the snarling traffic and slower business crews blocked lanes and closed off street entrances.

o On Saturday, July 13, the town celebrated the grand opening of a new dog park. Located on 700 Courthouse Road, all dogs will be allowed the enjoy the park's offerings, as long as they are licensed by Vienna or Fairfax County. The park, which had cost a little over $10,000 to construct, is 13,500 square feet, with a five foot fence surrounding it. The park is open from 7 a.m. until dark.

o Throughout the year, the town council approved speed humps for various neighborhood streets in Vienna. Several residents took advantage of the town's policy on speed humps, which allows residents to make a petition to create a speed hump on their street. If 75 percent of neighbors sign the petition, the town will consider their request.

Since September 2002, the town council has approved speed humps or other traffic calming measures for several streets, including Moore Avenue, Walnut Lane, Elm Street and Patrick Street.