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Herndon, By the Letter

Herndon, By the Letter

<bt>Here are some of the prevailing issues that any newcomer should know when first calling the Town of Herndon home:

o Herndon Town Council. Governed by six Town Council members and one mayor, the Town of Herndon opens its chamber doors to the public on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. In recent months, the council and Mayor Richard Thoesen have come under increasing public scrutiny as they have tackled controversial budgetary issues ranging from a new downtown cultural arts center to temporary day laborer hiring site to rising real estate assessments. All seven two-year seats will be up for re-election in May 2004.

o Entertainment opportunities. From its free "Friday Night Live!" concert series and Labor Day Jazz & Wine Festival on the Town Green to the annual Taste of Herndon and Herndon Festival and the Elden Street Players to the Town Square Singers, Herndon residents can avail themselves to a host of different events throughout the year.

o Redevelopment of Downtown. One of the priorities of recent councils has been the mixed-use development and revitalization of historic downtown Herndon. The Municipal Center and Fortnightly Library flank the Town Green while some of the town's most popular restaurants and shops dot the downtown landscape. In the coming weeks, months and years, the town will continue its discussions on downtown parking, mixed-use development and a downtown cultural arts center. The mayor and Town Council have stressed that they will continue to work on revitalizing downtown and local neighborhoods.

o Neighborhood Protection. The Architectural Review Board, the Heritage Preservation Review Board, the Town Council and the town's Planning Commission are just a few of the government bodies in Herndon charged with monitoring the four-square-mile town. With issues like overcrowding and infill on the minds of many residents, the Town Council has the final say on all recommendations made by all boards and commissions. Through its two-year "Plan of Action" which it adopted in September 2002, the council made protecting neighborhoods its number one priority. The council will also continue to look at the possibility of housing the Neighborhood Resource Center and the Herndon Free Clinic at two Alabama Drive locations recently purchased by the town for $950,000.

o Day Laborer Hiring Site. No other issue in the last 10 years has fueled the passions of the town as much as its proposal to build a temporary assembly site for day laborers who informally congregate at the 7-Eleven on the corner of Elden Street and Alabama Drive. Over the last five years, the town as attempted to find a solution to residents' concerns at the unregulated 7-Eleven site. Limited land, legal red tape and financial constraints make finding solutions to the day labor issue difficult. The town's FY2004 budget included more than $35,000 in grant money to Reston Interfaith for building supplies and fencing for an interim site at the old Herndon Lumber Yard on Van Buren Street.

o Outdoor recreation. From Runnymede and Bready parks to the Herndon Community Center and numerous neighborhood swimming pools, not to mention the famed Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) rail trail which dissects Herndon as it runs from Arlington to Purcellville, the Town of Herndon is known for numerous outdoor opportunities.

o New arts center. While the long-simmering debate over proposed $8 - 11 million downtown cultural arts center has not been quite as heated as the day laborer issue, by no means has it escaped the attention of those who oppose the town's multi-million dollar tax-payer funded investment. On July 8, the Herndon Town Council voted 5 to 2 to accept and endorse the findings of the second Herndon Cultural Arts Center Advisory Committee's final report.