2014 in Vienna: A Year in Review

2014 in Vienna: A Year in Review

Year of loss and successes.

Young residents and their parents were there for the opening of the Silver Line, Saturday, July 26.

Young residents and their parents were there for the opening of the Silver Line, Saturday, July 26. Photo by Emma Harris/The Connection

This year started off on a sad note for the Vienna area. M. Jane Seeman, then mayor, died of lung cancer on Feb. 23, 2014, and the community mourned the loss of a friend and Vienna’s most dedicated supporter.

Seeman had been diagnosed less than 10 months before her unexpected death. Before the diagnosis, she had already planned not to seek re-election in the spring 2014 election, saying it was time for a younger generation to step in.

The Free Little Library was dedicated to Seeman in September, 2014. Sitting aperch a post fronting the Little Library on Mill Street, the “free” little library holds books donated by the community that the public may borrow at-will.

ON JULY 26, the new Silver Line Metrorail started service in the Tysons area. Four stations surround Tysons Corner, and one station is centered in Reston. Ridership, according to Metro press releases, is “strong.”

With the coming of Metrorail to Tysons, Metro initiated new buses that ride down residential streets in Vienna, from East Street to Old Courthouse Road. Community sentiment in the Old Courthouse Road area was opposed to buses running along school routes and along roads with no shoulders or sidewalks. Since the Metro buses have been driving, Vienna’s Town Council has not heard many complaints from residents, according to Vienna Mayor Laurie Di Rocco.

Di Rocco said that residents along the Route 432 bus line want infrastructure improvements – to sidewalks, roadways - to enhance safety, and that these were already planned by the Town of Vienna and Fairfax County.

IN MAY 2015, the Vienna Community Center will close for renovation for approximately 12 to 18 months. Programs and classes will continue at venues throughout the Town of Vienna. The community center was built in 1966 and no major improvements have been made to the building since that time. The building itself, said Di Rocco, is in need of an upgrade. Part of the roofing leaks and Parks and Recreation programs and classes, geared to toddlers to seniors, have outgrown the current space.

The Vienna Town Council approved the site plan Nov. 17, 2014. The completed design will be LEED Silver. LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a “green” building certification.

Plans call for a new 9,115-square-foot, high-school-sized gym 35 feet high that will include bleachers and walking/running tracks. It will have electronic scoreboards.

The meal and lodging tax, rendered by residents and non-residents alike, funds the renovation.

A SMALL MIXED-USE CENTER on an empty lot adjacent to Bikes@Vienna is to be developed by Nick Arrington, owner of the property. The lower level of the center is designated for commercial use while the upper level will house four residential condo units.

2014 WAS A YEAR OF TRANSITION, Di Rocco said. The Town of Vienna lost, not only M. Jane Seeman, but Planning and Zoning Director Greg Hembree, as well. Hembree worked for the Town for 27 years before his sudden death on Sept. 6, 2014. As of late December, Hembree’s position had not yet been filled. One of Hembree’s long-term projects was the formulation of the Maple Avenue Corridor Vision, a commercial development plan that benefits the Town and the cooperating businesses mutually.

The Maple Avenue Commercial Zone plan was passed by the Town Council in September.

“We continue to invest in infrastructure,” said Di Rocco. “Street and sidewalks, water and sewer, are continuing improvement projects.”