Opinion: Commentary: What Will Lorton Look Like in 2040?

Opinion: Commentary: What Will Lorton Look Like in 2040?

The first Lorton Visioning Community Meeting will be held on Saturday, Oct. 26.

Twenty years ago, Lorton was a sleepy stop along I-95, comprising largely farmland and industry. It was known for the prison, landfill, quarry and water treatment plant. Thanks to previous planning, today Lorton is a thriving community with diverse neighborhoods, new schools, small businesses, an arts center, mountain bike trails and park land. We are at a unique point in Lorton’s development and now is the time to plan the next steps. What do Lortonites want Lorton to look like in 20 years? What makes you proud of your community and are you willing to ensure it continues? Or, do you want change?! Are you willing to share your vision for Lorton? Join us Saturday, Oct. 26 for the Lorton Visioning Community Meeting. Everyone’s voice matters.

Today, several significant projects have already begun. The new Liberty Lorton development is well underway, with much of the residential construction complete and the commercial development moving along. The Lorton Community Center, renovated Lorton Library and the South County Police Station and Animal Shelter will open in 2022. Texas Donuts just opened its doors in Gunston Corner and Panera is coming to Lorton Market Street. Potential projects on the horizon include Fairfax Peak, proposed to be an indoor ski slope with hotel and other recreational activities, a park on the closed landfill and a traffic light at Liberty, just to name a few.

Now is the time to start planning what the Lorton community will look and feel like in 2040 and everyone in Lorton needs to be part of this process. We want to know what moves you about where you live, work, learn and play now. What do you like and dislike? What is missing from your everyday life? What can’t you do in Lorton that you want to do? All residents should have the ability to find the goods and services they need within their community. What do you consider the “heart” of Lorton? Should we have a town center? Do you want high rises and more mixed-use communities? What should we do with our industrial areas?

The diversity of the Lorton community is truly one of its strengths. Did you know that in 2012 a Penn State University study identified Lorton as one of the most diverse communities in America? It found that Lorton’s [then] 19,000 residents were about one-third white, one-third black and one-third other identities. And, ethnicity is only part of the vast diversity that is Lorton; from socioeconomics to housing, from parks to industry. This all adds to the challenge of creating a true sense of community and bringing folks together who are separated by two major transportation corridors, I-95 and Route 1.

So, we want to know what the future of Lorton looks like to you. The Lorton Visioning initiative is a collaborative effort among Lorton’s community members and leaders with the goal of developing a vision of Lorton in 2040. Over the next 6-months we will be engaging and listening to Lorton’s 30,000+ residents to get your thoughts, ideas and support for this important planning process. Tell us what you think. Take the survey: tinyurl.com/Lorton2040 and attend the first Lorton Visioning Community Meeting on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 10 a.m. at Laurel Hill Elementary School. This meeting will be an open house to introduce the Lorton Visioning process, as well as gather feedback from the Lorton community. I hope to see you there.