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Get on the Bus and Learn

Hyland hosts annual virtual bus tour.

There on the stage of Mount Vernon High School's Little Theater was the customary stool, the white and blue jacket with the yellow lettering on the back, and the black cap. All the necessary props for "Gerry's Virtual Bus Tour."

As the highlight of his annual Town Meeting, Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerald Hyland takes his audience on an imaginary bus tour via a slide presentation of the happenings and proposed happenings throughout his district. That "trip" occurred for the 18th time this past Saturday morning.

Here are Hyland's assessments of many of the projects that directly impact his constituents.

* The Route 1 Hampton Inn Hotel adjacent to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project is planning an expansion to include 50 additional suites in a seven-story tower that will be attached to and match the existing structure. The present diner will be demolished to make way for the new tower, according to Hyland.

* Westgrove Park: There will be a Park Authority public planning workshop on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at Walt Whitman Middle School regarding this project. "I would prefer that there not be active recreation at this site. It is more appropriately left in a natural state," Hyland said.

* Madison Homes, Inc. has filed a rezoning for 13.4 acres along Huntington Avenue, directly behind the Riverside Park Apartments to allow for the Huntington Mews project to include 110 new townhomes. The Planning Commission is scheduled to review the case in May.

* Huntington Station, a 40-unit townhouse across from the Huntington Metro Station completed in 2004 by Carr Homes. Sales began in the low $400,000 and escalated to over $500,000.

* Westmoreland House is planned to be a $65 million high rise condominium complex by KSI. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid March.

* The Pavilions at the Huntington Metro Station is a 650 residential unit mixed use complex with 225,000 square feet of office space and another 30,000 square feet of retail space.

* Kings Crossing "is the most important piece of land for

development along the Route 1 corridor," Hyland said. "However, if this came forward to the Board of Supervisors the way the developers presently have it laid out I would not vote for it," he said. Envisioned as a mixed use development with a minimum of residential use, JPI developers have proposed a major portion of the land be developed as residential. This has caused a conflict between JPI on one side and Hyland, SFDC, and surrounding homeowners on the other.

* Del Ray Glass has received approval to construct a new

headquarters building.

* The former Krispy Kreme doughnut building was purchased by investors who plan to renovate the interior and exterior. The new retail center to be known as Krispy Korner will include tenants Sprint, Sylvan Learning Center and Quiznos fast food eatery.

* Heights @ Groveton: A rezoning request is currently pending for the old Groveton School site to accommodate a seven-story, 360,000-square-feet building with office, retail and residential components. Located in Lee District, it is scheduled to go before Fairfax County Planning Commission on Feb. 24.

* Safeway at Mount Vernon Square remains delayed by the fact that "they can't get electrical power to the store," according to Hyland. "I have never heard of anything like this," he said.

* Mount Vernon Plaza is scheduled for completion by October 2005. Some of the new tenants will include Wachovia Bank, PetSmart, Michael's Arts and Crafts, and Bed Bath and Beyond.

* Habitat ReStore: A retail store operated by the non-profit Habitat For Humanity home construction/reconstruction organization specializing in the resale of construction supplies. It is located behind Golds Gym.

* Laurel Hills: The new South County High School will open this fall. The 3,000 acres of land that was the Lorton Prison "will provide all Fairfax County residents with a recreation facility we never could have imagined would be possible," Hyland said.

* The new Inova Healthplex will be located near the old Lorton School. It will be a full-service facility with emergency outpatient and diagnostic services on a 14-acre site and will

send patients to INVH, according to Hyland.