Dozens of community members went to the Tysons Corner open house at Spring Hill Elementary last week.
Photo by Reena Singh.
As Tysons Corner continues to develop, curious residents are starting to get a feel for its identity.
Fairfax County Park Authority hosted an open house at Spring Hill Elementary on May 19 to display what the urban center’s cityscape - complete with green spaces and high rise buildings - could look like in the next five to 25 years.
The event is to allow the public to know what Tysons is becoming and what’s to come,” said county Public Information Officer Brian Worthy. “The process has been very transparent and we want to keep it that way.”
About six developers, ranging from Capital One to Metrorail, set up stations around the school’s cafeteria to answer any questions the 100+ visitors might have.
The county showcased what their plan for the green spaces might look like.
Barbara Byron, Director of the county Office of Community Revitalization felt that having stations rather than speeches would be more effective.
“We felt from the beginning that people had a lot of questions, but they all had different interests,” she said.
Those interested in Capital One’s new high rise building, for example, could head over to the company’s Director for Workplace Solutions Chris Calhoun. However, he joked that many visitors asked him about a company he was not affiliated with.
“They wanted to know where the Wegman’s will be,” he said, laughing.
A pedestrian bridge will connect the current headquarters building to the new one, which is scheduled to be occupied as soon as 2018. The number of stories in the 470 feet building is still to be determined.
Dittmar’s space, on the other hand, will be primarily residential with a hotel component. The site, on Westpark Drive and Leesburg Pike, is 1/8th of a mile from one of the four upcoming metro stations in the area.
“We’re here for community awareness,” said Dittmar Project Manager Chris Brigham. “I think the key feature will be the neighborhood park, which features a play area, sports court and walkways.”
McLean resident Kerstin Neighbour said a community cannot be built around high rise buildings and green spaces, however.
“I want to know where the elementary school for the Tysons children is going to be,” she said. “I think all children should be able to walk to school.”
She felt that Spring Hill Elementary, the school all three of her children attended - and walked to - will suffer overcrowding as more families move into the urban center.
“Communities should start with schools and libraries,” she said.
Vienna resident Fred Skaer came to the open house out of curiosity rather than concern. He joked that he knew about Tysons Corner when it was just a gas station.
“I’m retired, so I’m not too concerned about transportation, but I’m eager to see one of the feeder buses come through my neighborhood,” he said. “The main reason I came is because I know so much is happening in Tysons.”