"One of the simplest ways to increase safety within our neighborhood is to be able to recognize your neighbors," said David Dale, president of the Spring Bank Community Association (SBCA).
About 35 association members assembled at Groveton Baptist Church on Dec. 12.
The meeting focused on how to reinvigorate their "Community Watch" program. The group is aimed at increasing the size of the association while raising awareness of one another within their community.
"The reason we created this association in the first place was one, to communicate our desires to the local government officials and two, so they would have a contact point for us," Dale said. "We have accomplished both these goals, but we still need to get more people involved," Dale said.
MPO Greg Kottemann, of the Fairfax County Police, Mount Vernon District Office spoke about increasing neighborhood awareness and crime prevention.
"THE NEIGHBORHOOD Watch Program has taken on added significance since 9/11," Kottemann said. "We are a safer community if we know each other. This enables all of us, you and the police, to solve more problems."
Kottemann suggested that residents report any suspicious activity in the neighborhood. He said crime is down in the Mount Vernon district, but there has been an increase in car thefts and car break-ins.
Kottemann said in Mount Vernon District there are 40 Neighborhood Watch programs in operation.
"These programs provide us, the police, with a central contact for a particular neighborhood to both receive and give information," he said.
Development and growth in the area were also on the minds of association member.
Aaron C. Liebert, vice president and area managing partner of JPI Development Partners, Inc, also addressed the association. JPI developed the more than 11 acres of the Kings Crossing site.
"We are still making a lot of changes to the plot design and we still want input from the community," Liebert said.
He plans to return in February or March with a scale model of the entire project.
Martin Tillett, SBCA vice president, commended JPI for their efforts in promoting "Green Buildings" in some of their other projects.
Green buildings incorporate vegetation on their roofs to absorb moisture, decrease runoff, and improving air quality with both residential and commercial structures
"I was pleasantly surprised to learn that JPI was doing green buildings in Dallas," Tillett said.
Tillett urged Liebert to consider similar construction in the Kings Crossing site.
SINCE THE ORIGINAL plan to develop Kings Crossing, which now houses Chuck E. Cheese and National Wholesale Distributors, the acreage has been increased to include the Pen Daw Mobile Home Park and the area behind the two existing buildings.
The area includes a Resource Protection Area, which is now planned as a park to serve the proposed development.
The primary stumbling block between JPI, SBCA and Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerald Hyland has been the percentage of land devoted to residential and office/retail. JPI has proposed that 80 percent be residential. Hyland and the SBCA want half to go to homes and the other half used for offices and retail development.