Mount Vernon Letter: County Excluded Civic Association

Mount Vernon Letter: County Excluded Civic Association

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

On June 18, Fairfax County held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to showcase its first outdoor gym that was installed at the Gum Springs Community Center. The grant partners, Fairfax County Park Authority (Park Authority) and Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS), scheduled the ribbon-cutting to coincide with Gum Springs Annual Community Day. However, it should be duly noted that the one organization that was not invited to the ribbon-cutting was the community-based organization that is also the voice for the community — the New Gum Springs Civic Association.

For Fairfax County to provide a “Photo courtesy of Fairfax County” and its video by the Park Authority that documents the civic association's exclusion just adds more salt into the wound and contributes to a path of what's becoming a fragile relationship with Gum Springs.

Although two "community members" are pictured, not one member of the civic association was invited to participate in the ribbon-cutting. Mount Vernon Supervisor Dan Storck was unaware of this "misstep" by both the Park Authority and NCS. Supervisor Storck denounced their actions and vowed that such actions would not occur in the future. No word from either the Park Authority or NCS. It now appears the Park Authority and NCS feel their actions were not only warranted but also justified and had no impact on its relationship with Gum Springs. Wrong!

This is the second time this year that a Fairfax County agency/organization has held an event in Gum Springs under the guise of it being the community by excluding the civic association. It also appears that certain Fairfax County agencies/organizations are stepping up plans to be the community without living in the community and not really asking the community what it needs but rather what it will get by excluding the civic association from decisions that directly affect the community.

Could this perhaps be the reason Department of Community and Recreation Services changed its name to Department of Neighborhood and Community Services?

Queenie Cox


New Gum Springs Civic Association