As early morning showers gave way to 70-degree temperatures and partly cloudy skies, Oakton residents came together Saturday to host a parade and ceremony in honor of the library they hope will start construction in 2005.
The proposed 17,000-square-foot library will be built off Hunter Mill Road, near the intersection of Hunter Mill and Chain Bridge Road. Pending the passage of a countywide library bond referendum in November 2004, construction for the library would begin in 2005, with its completion in 2007.
Library plans had been discussed between citizens and the county for years, as the library’s site belonged to a parcel of land that had been under debate since 1998. From 1998 until 2000, when Hearthstone Vanguard, the land’s developer, proffered over three acres for the library and a park, residents initiated a letter-writing campaign, set up information tables, spoke at community associations and secured more than 150 articles and letters-to-the-editor arguing for a library and for adequate development of the 19-acre parcel. They were awarded a $2.1 million, 3-acre parcel for their efforts.
Next to the library will be a 58-home residential community built by Hearthstone Vanguard.
Residents hope the library will also serve as a gathering place for Oakton, as the library’s design includes meeting space. Two constituencies, Oakton Elementary and Sunrise Assisted Living for senior adults, would be within walking distance of the library.
"We really learned we want to take ownership of our own community," said Providence District supervisor Gerald E. Connolly (D) in his remarks during Saturday’s ceremony.
Oakton resident Andrea Mehrer agreed, "It’d be wonderful to have a library in our community."
The Oakton community library will be the first in the county system to be a "green building," or a building utilizing an energy-efficient design, according to Katayoon Shaya, project manager for the Oakton library and for the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services for Fairfax County.
The next step for the library is the design development phase, which means defining and finalizing the design. The county has funding for 35 percent of the Oakton library project. If the bond passes, the county and the architects will restart the design process.
As citizens await the bond referendum, fund raising for the library’s collection and programming has continued. The Friends of the Oakton Library became a 501(c)3 nonprofit in winter 2003, and a garden seminar fund-raiser will take place on April 6.
"This area has grown so dramatically. We so badly need a library and community space in Oakton, because the library in Vienna is very small," said Oakton resident Jim Hyland, who grew up in Vienna.