Mount Vernon's new Governmental Center had its official unveiling last week. Calling it "a special day for all the citizens of Mount Vernon," Gerald Hyland, Mount Vernon District supervisor, kicked off the dedication ceremonies before a large and curious crowd.
With the lobby full of dignitaries and area citizens, the newly renovated and expanded center at 2511 Parkers Lane was praised as "a true citizen accomplishment. This happened because the voters supported a bond referendum that made it possible," Hyland said last week.
Housed within the center are the headquarters of the Mount Vernon District Headquarters of the Fairfax County Police and the supervisor's suite of offices. But Hyland said, "It's not my office. It's our office — the people of Mount Vernon. The conference room is open to all the people."
Hyland explained that although the supervisor's area was completed before the police headquarters, he insisted the police utilize that space until their's was finished. Hyland remained in his temporary offices in the Regional Library building on Sherwood Hall Lane until the police section was complete.
Joining Hyland at the podium was Fairfax County Board of Supervisors chairman, Katherine K. Hanley, who thanked the people of Mount Vernon for "supporting the bond issue that built this new center. The people of Mount Vernon know a thing or two about building community."
IN RECOGNITION of his term as president of the Virginia Association of Counties and for "his devotion to the citizens of Fairfax County and the commonwealth of Virginia," state Sens. Linda T. "Toddy" Puller (D-36th) and Patricia S. Ticer (D-30th) joined with state Del. Kristen J. Amundson (D-44th) in presenting Hyland with a framed resolution adopted by the state legislature.
Representing the police, Lt. Col. Charles Peters said, "This building was designed by police to fit into our new philosophy of community policing. The significance of this facility cannot be overstated." Hyland thanked the police "for what you've done to make Mount Vernon safer for all of us."
Hyland then asked the crowd to help him work on a most important project — "to save Mount Vernon Hospital." Hyland promised them, "We will save the hospital."
As a way to enshrine the efforts of all those involved with bringing about the new Center and to capture the moment of its dedication, a citizens committee had been designated to create a time capsule containing memorabilia of this era. It will be imbedded in the wall of the Center just outside the door to the supervisor's offices. Its opening is scheduled for 2053.
One of the featured items in the capsule is a letter from Hyland giving his views on what the area will look like in 50 years. Although he would not reveal its total content, he did offer these predictions:
* We won't go to polling places to vote. That will be done from home by computer, which will greatly increase voter participation.
* Richmond Highway will continue to be transformed, and there will be monorail service.
* The population of the Mount Vernon District will continue to evolve.
* The taxing authority of counties will be the same as cities.
OTHER ITEMS to be placed in the capsule include photos of the area, history of Gum Springs, highlights of Mount Vernon's 16th Annual Town Meeting, the transformation of the Lorton Prison to Laurel Hill, Fairfax County Citizen's Handbook, items from Mount Vernon Community Day activities, a list of schools in Mount Vernon including private schools, and documentation of Mount Vernon's historic legacy.
After introducing his staff, Hyland told the crowd, "For me to have represented you for the past 16 years has been a true honor. The wonderful thing at the local level (of politics) is that accountability is absolutely direct.
"I can compare what we do here with what others do in the rest of Fairfax County. If government is to work, you have to find a way for the people to participate. This has been our goal here for these past 16 years. For me, these years have been very easy because you have been involved."
Also attending the ceremony was Lee District supervisor Dana Kauffman; former state Sen. Joseph Gartlan; state Del. Marian Van Landingham (D-45th); Col. T.W. William, garrison commander, Fort Belvoir; and other representatives of the Fairfax County Police Department who presently are stationed and previously served in the Mount Vernon District.
Preceding and following the Open House, refreshments were served in the supervisor's suite conference room. It was catered by the Peking Duck Restaurant and Hollin Hall Pastry Shop with equipment supplied by the Rent-All Center.