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Facing Challenges of Next Half Century

U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11) on Reston’s future.

It is shaping up to be another momentous year for Reston, and we have much to celebrate.

We are in the midst of commemorating Reston’s 50th anniversary, which coincides with the 100th birthday of its founder Robert E. “Bob” Simon. Bob’s vision for the “new town” of Reston has been heralded across the globe for its forward-looking design to create a community where people of all walks of life could live, work, and play.

Those who live or have visited Reston quickly earn an appreciation for how environmental stewardship and cultural inclusiveness are prized alongside recreation and economic opportunities. This year also happens to mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, and Reston was a pioneer at the time in welcoming a diversity of residents and families.

Today, Reston is home to nearly 60,000 people, and two of Fairfax County’s 10 Fortune 500 companies are headquartered here. It is in the heart of the Dulles Corridor, which is the economic engine of the region and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Just weeks ago we welcomed the start of service on Metro’s new Silver Line. It will make the many attractions, businesses and job opportunities here in Reston even more accessible to the rest of the National Capital Region. And that’s just the beginning. The second phase of Silver Line, which will connect to Dulles International Airport with a stop near Reston Town Center, is already under construction.

As Reston prepares for its next half century, our greatest challenge will be striking a balance between its humble beginnings with the five village centers, including Lake Anne, and the continued evolution and growth of the Town Center area. One of Bob’s seven goals for Reston was the ability for residents to age in place, “for anyone to remain in a single neighborhood throughout his life.” He says it “results in the heterogeneity that spells a lively and varied community,” and I agree.

You can apply that same goal to the community itself. Reston has always been and will continue to be a “lively” community. As we look around today, Bob Simon’s “new town” seems new once more.

As the former Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the current Congressman, I am proud to represent the people of Reston and share in the community's vitality and future.