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Board Recognizes Huntington Community Improvements

Although Mack Rhoades appreciated the award he and the Huntington Community Association received from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, he'd rather be out repairing homes in his neighborhood.

"I'm the kind of person who just likes to do the work," said Rhoades. "I just want to get it done."

"I've had the fortunate experience to witness community leadership which goes above and beyond the norm," said supervisor Gerald Hyland (D-Mount Vernon). "Mack Rhoades is the president of the Huntington Community Association. It became apparent to me when Mack first took office that his role was not merely to fill the position, but he was committed to make a real difference in his community."

Hyland and the other supervisors had invited Rhoades and other officers of the community association to the Government Center to receive an award in recognition of their efforts to improve the Huntington neighborhood.

Two years ago, Rhoades and the community association started a pilot neighborhood inspection program. Association members evaluate the exterior of the 500-plus homes in the neighborhood for zoning and health code violations.

"The association mails a notice to the owner and/or renter and they're given 30 or 45 days to repair," said Rhoades. "At the end of that time, the house is reinspected. A notice is sent again if it's still in disrepair. They're given another opportunity at the end of that time and then it's turned over to county enforcement."

Rhoades credited the inspection program with turning the community around. During the first year of the program, the community association had sent out a number of notices but that has gradually tapered off.

"People saw other people fixing their houses," said Rhoades. "If you go to Huntington now, people are making renovations and housing prices are up by about $25,000 since we started the program.

Beginning this year, the community association will kick off its Huntington Habitat program, which will give help low-income residents repair their homes. "They'll only be responsible for paying for the materials," said Rhoades. "The community will provide the labor. Once that happens, their requirement will be to work on the next house."