Town Meeting To Examine Fort Belvoir's Impact

Town Meeting To Examine Fort Belvoir's Impact

Residents encouraged to attend Feb. 4 event.

Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerald Hyland views his upcoming 19th Annual Town Meeting as one of the most significant in recent years due to the impact of the Base Realignment and Closure report on Mount Vernon district.

Scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 4, in the Little Theater of Mount Vernon High School, the event is often the venue for revelations that dramatically impact district residents. Two years ago Hyland's announcement of the potential closing of Inova Mount Vernon Hospital set off a resident firestorm.

"The BRAC proposal for bringing an additional 21,000 people to Fort Belvoir will affect every element of our revitalization efforts for Route 1, as well as transportation and schools.” Hyland said.

"Put these two things together and it represents a major challenge while presenting great opportunities," he said. A third element to this public forum is the renewed interest in the redevelopment of the Route 1 corridor.

"There are a number of developers coming to the corridor because of the tremendous opportunities presented by the build up at Fort Belvoir, the proposed Army Museum and overall growth," Hyland said. He said this year's meeting will also deal with the proposed Laurel Hills development.

"This presents a whole new issue. How do we make sure we approve the right development proposals that complement what has been happening and will continue to happen along the corridor?" he asked.

TO HIGHLIGHT those challenges and opportunities, Hyland will take his constituents on a "virtual bus tour" of the Richmond Highway corridor and other areas throughout Mount Vernon district that are experiencing new growth and change. The tour is planned to begin at 10 a.m.

Directed primarily to Mount Vernon district residents, including those in Lorton and Springfield areas, the four-hour meeting is open to all Fairfax County residents. It offers a local forum to hear and discuss significant issues and provides an opportunity for participants to meet and question their elected officials and County staff.

Other elected county officials will attend the meeting including Fairfax County Board of Supervisors chairman Gerald Connolly and Lee District Supervisor Dana Kauffman. Fairfax County Executive Anthony Griffin, county Chief Financial Officer Ed Long, Fairfax County Public Schools superintendent Dr. Jack Dale, and Fairfax County Fire Department Chief Mike Neuhard and Police Chief David Rohrer will also participate.

They will cover such subjects as an overview of the fiscal year 2007 budget and taxes, transportation plans for the coming year, Mount Vernon schools' successes and challenges, and public safety.

Joining in his first Hyland Town Meeting will be the new Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander Col. Brian Lauritzen. He assumed command of the post July 2005, replacing Col. T.W. Williams.

It is expected that Lauritzen will direct his presentation to the anticipated changes triggered by BRAC.

PRIOR TO THE TOWN meeting, participants will have an opportunity to walk through an exhibit area set up in the school cafeteria at 7:45 a.m. There they can meet with representatives from a variety of county agencies as well as those from the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project and the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Residents will also be able to get information about Hyland's new history project and share their oral histories and stories of life in Mount Vernon district. Southeast Fairfax Development Corp., Gunston Hall, the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority and Volunteer Fairfax will also be represented.

Public officials have also been invited, including U.S. Representatives James Moran (D-8) and Thomas M. Davis, III (R-11); state Senators Linda T. "Toddy" Puller (D-36) and Patricia "Patsy" Ticer (D-30); and state Delegates David Albo (R-42), Kristen Amundson (D-44), David Englin (D-45), and Mark Sickles (D-43).

Coffee and donuts will be available outside the exhibit area, which will remain open until 9 a.m. when the town meeting begins. In addition to panelist presentations two 15-minute question and answer sessions will be interspersed in the program with a wrap-up question and answer session scheduled from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. For more information call Hyland's office at 703-780-7518, TTY 711.