The Springfield Civic Association (SCA) welcomes you as we enter a new era, a Springfield Renaissance, if you will. Our local mall commences its two-year rebuild in July; watch its rebirth as a town center. New hotels and office buildings are on the rise bringing new restaurants, new activity and a welcome breeze of renewal. The SCA has helped to make this happen, partnering with Fairfax County government, local businesses and adjoining civic associations and home owner associations. SCA’s tradition of community activism and grass roots engagement is alive, well, and looking to the future. Come be a part of it; there is something for everyone and your contribution will only make us more vital. Continue reading
This time of year, there is always a lot going on. Two issues that are clearly on my mind are the County budget and the poor conditions of our roads.
While the budget this year is an improvement to the past few years, an underperforming real estate market, uneven job growth, and high office vacancies meant the County needed to close an $85 million shortfall this year. In addition, schools have requested a transfer of over $100 million this year. The Board has been working diligently to assess the efficiency of every County agency through a LOBS (Lines of Business) review, holding budget public hearings, and getting feedback from our community in an effort to balance all of our needs, affordability for the taxpayer, and retention of our AAA Bond rating for superior financial management.
While the budget has been a major focus of mine over the last few months as Budget Committee Chairman, I have also been working diligently to see to the repaving and repairing of roads that for years have been neglected. This year’s winter, which brought us several feet of snow and icy conditions, left our roads in even worse condition.
You don’t have to drive far to see the numerous pot holes popping up on our streets – a number that seems to keep multiplying by the day. As you may know, most roads in Fairfax County are owned by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), a state, not county agency. This includes the maintenance and repaving of our roads. Although VDOT has been out filling potholes as they become a nuisance, those repairs are often only a temporary fix until repaving can be done.
VDOT recently increased its efforts to improve the condition of our roads, committing nearly $300 million of maintenance funds in the last two years to Northern Virginia. Every year, VDOT rates statewide pavement conditions and determines the best treatment to extend pavement life. Pavement condition, ride quality, efficiency of doing entire subdivisions, and traffic volume are all taken into account when they create their paving schedule.
VDOT will be refining and ultimately finalizing the list of roads that will be on the 2016 paving schedule in the coming weeks. Additionally, Delegate Mark Sickles and I met with representatives from VDOT last month to push for more paving in our community and more attention to our roads.
Subdivision repaving is happening comprehensively in areas for cost savings. This means whole neighborhoods are getting done together, not solely based on condition alone. While this is efficient, it can be frustrating since not all the roads in poor condition are going to be fixed in one paving season. Some that may appear to be in worse shape may not happen until next year or later.
To make a request to VDOT for road paving or to report a pothole you may contact them directly by visiting their website at http://www.virginiadot.org/ or calling them at 1-800-FOR-ROAD. Of course, as always, you can also contact my office at 703-971-6262 and we'll be glad to contact VDOT on your behalf.
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Active citizens like you are what make Lee District and Fairfax County such a great place to live.
Springtime Greetings from the SCA:
Baseball is well underway as the 2015-16 year for SCA wraps up. At our May 17th meeting we host Supervisor Jeff McKay and a Congressional Staffer representing Congressman Don Beyer. This is our elected representatives’ opportunity to report and listen to us. Topics sure to be discussed are the state of Fairfax County Public Schools, the proposed “Meals Tax” to fix budget shortfalls, and the FBI headquarters relocation.
In May, the SCA also holds its annual Board elections for the 2016-17 year. Rich Duffy is stepping down as Treasurer after five years of stellar service to the SCA. Thanks, Rich, for all you've done to improve the Association's fiscal status, not to mention many other myriad tasks you've managed for our Community. Our books have never been in better shape so transition will be smooth for Rich's successor. If you are interested in serving on the Board as Treasurer or in another capacity, please contact Alice Merrill, SCA Board 2nd Vice President.
As we finish this year's agenda know that the SCA is always looking for ways to increase its relevancy. We are in regular contact with the Supervisor's Office, Franconia Police Precinct, Crestwood and Lynbrook Elementary Schools, the Springfield Town Center, and the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. The SCA continues to be involved with County and magisterial matters like Land Use and the Central Business District's look and feel. Ideas are always welcomed and encouraged.
Moreover, the SCA is making a determined effort to increase our social-media footprint, primarily via Facebook and Nextdoor Springfield. In the end, it doesn't matter how we get our message out, but it does matter that we are relevant in local affairs that impact our lives. If you have ideas or time to contribute to this effort, please contact any Board member or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yours in Springfield,
We are fortunate to host Mr. Bob Patrick, Director of the Veterans History Project (VHP) of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, as our speaker on Nov 18. The Center "collects, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war."
VHP is a national initiative mandated by Congress to collect, preserve and make accessible the first-person accounts of America’s wartime veterans.
Since 2006, Mr. Patrick has managed all aspects of the Project and directed the building of a nationwide network of volunteer interviewers and organizations. To date, over 94,000 veterans have submitted their personal recollections making this the largest such collection in American history. Mr. Patrick serves as the project’s chief spokesperson and has appeared across the country on its behalf.
Mr. Patrick is a retired US Army colonel. During his over 28 years of active duty, he served in a number of leadership positions in the states and overseas.
Retiring from the US Army in 1999, he spent more than five years in a leadership role with the National World War II Memorial Project of the American Battle Monuments Commission. He directed the Memorial’s historic dedication on May 29, 2004.
Mr. Patrick holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the Virginia Military Institute and a Masters degree in Public Administration (Public Service) from Western Kentucky University. He is also a graduate of the US Army War College.
Indian Summer has been pleasant this fall; the trees are getting some color, the evenings are cool; and the STC is open for business and going gangbusters. We can now officially complain about traffic on Loisdale Road again. What we see going on today is a classic example of success breeding more success. It's been shared with me that there are many vendors interested in the STC, but the STC is not interested in all callers; it is being very selective.
On the subject of business in Springfield, "Aldi", the newest grocery store to locate to Springfield, is due to open in January. It will fill the void where Fischer's Hardware resided in Concord Plaza. Let's wish Aldi success. Fischer's was a major loss for Springfield, but it is gone and a new era is underway.
If you have not heard the latest on the FBI relocation it's because they are in an "impact-study" phase; a decision will not be taken on the FBI until 2016. No point in holding our breath; it will be decided in it's own good time. In the meantime we can work to make Springfield all the better come-what-may at the GSA site. Brookfield Park is taking shape into something special. Significant improvements are planned for the Lake Accotink Park trail. Washington Gas continues to lay new gas lines in our area, not without controversy mind you, but our entire Community will eventually have new, safer, gas line infrastructure. That's in the interest of property owners and a stable community.
The Springfield 5k Road Race is in the nascent stages of planning for 2015. We hope to be back at the STC, teaming with Business, Government and non-Government organizations to raise more money for Springfield charities ($22,500 in 2014) all the while promoting a more active and healthy lifestyle.
As for November's membership meeting, we will shift the location to Grace Presbyterian Church since Crestwood Elementary is not available. The theme is a salute to our Veterans presented by Mr. Bob Patrick from the Library of Congress, no less, and a member of Grace Presbyterian Church.
Social time runs from 7:00 to 7:30pm; business begins at 7:30. Oh! and I hope you enjoyed that extra hour we gained on Sunday morning, November 2nd; it's one more hour to putoff chores.
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Yes, it's been a long, cold winter. As they say in Maine, if you can't take the bad, you don't deserve the good. That makes me optimistic.
The SCA meets next on Tuesday, 18 March at Crestwood Elementary, 7pm for mixing and 7:30pm for business. Our subject is the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). The focus will be on what CERT can do for you and yours, how you can get CERT training, and why CERT is important especially at the local level. Our own Adam Samuels (LCDR/USN) will lead the proceedings.
We will also be accepting nominations for next season's Board of Directors. The Board of Directors has seven positions; president, two vice presidents, a treasurer, a secretary and two members-at-large. The formal election will occur at our May 20th meeting. If you are interested in serving on the Board or just getting more involved in the community please let us know.
The SCA is pretty well connected, having partnered with local business, Government and other non-government organizations over the decades. Whether new to the community or long-established we would be happy to make that introduction for you if we possibly can.
Looking further into spring, Supervisor McKay will conduct a "Community Walk" in Crestwood to talk directly to his constituents, hear your concerns and see for himself how things are going in our neighborhoods. We have also invited Mr. McKay to be our guest at the May meeting. More to follow as both events take shape.
The pending sale of the Springfield Town Center (STC) to Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust is of note and the SCA hopes to learn more about the PREIT in the very near future 9see page 11.) As for the much anticipated Wegmans at Telegraph and Beulah, we will also have to wait until 2015 even though the other stores in the Hilltop complex will open later this year. Just like spring, the STC and Wegmans will arrive eventually. Hang in there!
Bruce Waggoner, President, SCA
The County Executive released his budget on February 25; on March 4, the Board of Supervisors in a bipartisan vote agreed to advertise a property tax cap of two cents. It’s a challenge to fund our residents’ needs, especially with growing federal and state service cuts so I reluctantly supported this. I don’t want to tie our hands by not providing flexibility to fund critical County services. (While the two-cents is the highest that the tax rate can go, the Board can adopt a lower increase.)
Education is our Board’s priority and the school transfer will be about 52 percent of the General Fund. We also fund school resource officers, crossing guards, school health aides and nurses, SACC, and FCPS’ debt service and dedicate two thirds of our bonding capacity to the schools.
The Board of Supervisors is legally required to adopt a balanced budget and there’s no getting around our economic circumstances. Many businesses and households have been affected by the federal Fiscal Cliff, Sequestration, the federal government shutdown, and the lingering effects of the Great Recession. Federal and state funding cuts have affected County services and to balance our County budget, we’ve reduced funding to human services, public safety, parks, libraries, and employee compensation.
We’re expected to assume costs beyond our residents’ ability to pay and we’re burdening our taxpayers—who through real estate and personal property taxes fund close to 80 percent of our General Fund. It’s good that our housing market is recovering and that in comparison to other areas of the state, we’re financially healthy. It’s not good that Fairfax County gets back only 19 cents on every dollar that it sends to Richmond. It’s not that we don’t pay enough taxes; it’s that we don’t keep them in Northern Virginia. We’re 27 percent of the state’s population, generate 40 percent of the state’s General Fund and get back only 21 percent.
Please let me know what’s important to you. You’ll find detailed budget information at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dmb/. To testify at a budget public hearing, contact the Office of the Clerk to the Board at 703-324-3151 or online at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/bosclerk/speaker_bos.htm. Public hearings are in the board auditorium of the Fairfax County Government Center on April 8, 9, and 10.
Lynbrook ES is SO VERY PROUD and GRATEFUL to be “YOUR” Springfield community school!!
Driving by Lynbrook ES on Backlick Rd. everyone sees our beautiful community school, “The Home of the Leprechauns”.
Every day we talk about the “magic” of our community school and March is a special month for joyful learning and celebrating our mascot, Lenny, on Lenny Day, March 17th.
Recently there was an apartment fire that caused hardship to several families in our Lynbrook ES community. This week we felt the true magic of our Springfield Community support. With extraordinary Leprechaun pride, we are so incredibly proud to share that our staff and Springfield community donated more than $3000.00 in cash, gift cards and goods to support our families’ needs. We thank our Springfield community from the bottom of our “Leprechaun hearts” for the most generous community care and concern that has been shared. It is in giving that we receive and we couldn’t be more proud to be giving to our community, educating our community students and families.
Those who only drive by our school can never quite understand all that we do to support our Leprechaun students, families, community and staff within our walls. Those who come to visit and spend time at Lynbrook ES, walk away feeling the true magic of our Leprechaun community of earners and leaders…our students, staff and families. Come visit and we will welcome you to our community school. Come visit and you will find our families learning new skills and volunteering in our Family Learning Center. Come visit and you will discover our dedicated teachers and staff leading JOYFUL learning, utilizing best practices for instruction and supporting all of our students’ unique learning needs. Come visit and you will feel the magic of our Leprechaun land, celebrating learning and leadership.
We are so very proud and grateful to be able to serve “YOUR” Springfield Community and support!
With endless gratitude,
Mary E. McNamee
Principal, Lynbrook ES
As you watched the ice storm hit the suburbs of Philadelphia back in January, did you know what you would do if that same thing happened here and we lost power in Springfield or all of Fairfax County for a week or two? Over 700,000 people lost power for 3 days or more- can your family and elderly neighbors do the same and are all set for impact of no power- loss of refrigeration, heat, cooking, cell phones… and internet (or Netflix HOUSE OF CARDS?!?!) Our disasters of late have been minor inconveniences from Snowmageddon (2010), Tropical Storm Lee (2011), and the Derecho windstorm (2012).
What if the East Coast earthquake (2011) or Hurricane Sandy (2012) had been significantly worse for our area and we had lost more than just power but had structural damage or injuries. It could be hours or days until Emergency services arrive- not the time to panic. What can we do in the meantime to help ourselves, to be self-sufficient until help can arrive? THAT is the purpose of the meeting this month.
A number of your neighbors in our own neighborhood surrounding Springfield Plaza shopping center (Springfield and Springvale) have recently joined a volunteer, county-side emergency response network called CERT, or Community Emergency Response Team, and would like to provide a few easy tips of how to implement the “"Make a Kit, Have a Plan, Know your Neighbors" many of us have heard from FEMA but never found the time to make happen once the skies clear and power is restored. The speakers are your own neighbors so they know our neighborhood. Training includes: Training includes:
· Things you can do to prevent emergencies in your home and office; safety practices
· Things you can do now to prepare for a disaster and reduce the impact when it happens
· Things you can do during a disaster to protect yourself and your family
· Things you can do after a disaster to help your family and your neighborhood recover if the professional responders are delayed or cannot get to you right away
Also presented will be the dates of the next FREE training class for CERT set up specifically for our neighborhood and taught at the Springfield Volunteer Fire Department on Backlick Road later this spring. http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/index.shtm
Please join us for a good discussion, and the opportunity to find out how a few simples steps now will help you, your family, and your neighborhood feel more secure the next time you hear a storm (hopefully not called HURRICANE PUTIN?) is coming our way.
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
On behalf of the Springfield Civic Association (SCA) Board I bid you a Happy New Year! It's fitting that our community's horizons continue to brighten as we start 2014. The Springfield Town Center's (STC) transformation continues apace as it pushes to open by Thanksgiving. Undoubtedly there is a long way yet to travel. Yet, there is happy news to be revealed about the STC's tenants and future plans. We are seeing the build-out happen before our eyes. It is real, and it brings with it a tremendous sense of anticipation and optimism for improvement and revitalization across the greater Springfield Community. The Wegmans Plaza at Beulah and Telegraph continues to take form and should open this year, though Wegmans itself is not slated to open until 2015. That is an internal corporate decision and is not reflective of County efforts to bring about an earlier opening. The decision on the FBI's relocation will not likely come until 2015 as well. It only proves once again the old adage that "Patience is a virtue"; how virtuous then are we who live in a place where patience is also a prerequisite.
The SCA's topical slate for our next three meetings is varied and we trust will interest you. First up is January 21st; our topic is "Restorative Justice" with a focus on anti-bullying. In that spirit we have reached out to Lynbrook, Crestwood, and Garfield Elementary Schools and hope for a good showing from concerned parents. The March meeting topic is emergency preparedness wherein we will focus on SCA-based emergency readiness training. Given the storms we've been through in the last several years it can't hurt to be in the know. Our May meeting closes out this season. We will hold our annual elections for the seven SCA Board seats. If you are interested, please let the Board know by our March meeting. After elections are held we will hear from our Supervisor, Jeff McKay, for the latest, greatest news on County affairs that impact us so directly. Given all that is in play regarding the County budget, the STC, Wegmans, and other revitalization in our area it is never dull catching up with Jeff McKay and his excellent, constituent-focused staff. Come join with us. At $15 per household we offer good value. The camaraderie is free.
I was pleased to serve on Governor-Elect McAuliffe’s transportation advisory transition team and on December 12 other members of the team and I reviewed the governor-elect’s transportation plan and made recommendations on how to move forward to fix our Virginia transportation infrastructure. Transportation will be key to our future. Our economy relies on a strong transportation network and job retention and economic growth are linked to a strong transportation infrastructure. That infrastructure is not limited to roads; it includes local and regional transit systems, as well as pedestrian connectivity. Planning is not enough and if we’re to make a dent in our transportation project backlog, we must get projects out of the ground a lot faster—a point I made at the session.
The bi-partisan transition team included subject matter experts in roads, transit, pedestrian, bicycle, space program, ports, and smart growth and Aubrey Layne, the governor-elect’s appointee for State Transportation Secretary, joined us for the discussion. It was interesting and challenging to see how the different pieces of the transportation puzzle fit together. As former chair of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC), I understand our mobility needs and the reality that roads alone can’t solve our transportation problems. (Fortunately, the transportation bill allocates major funds to transit.)
Last year, the first significant bipartisan compromise on transportation in a generation resulted in $1.4 billion-a-year transportation funding for Virginia. This bill came just in time—our funding crisis could have made Virginia ineligible for federal highway matching funds. Not only were those federal dollars at risk, but the state had drained its maintenance funds, obvious from the condition of our roads. Now that these funds have been secured, it’s important that we spend them wisely.
So what does this mean for Northern Virginia and Fairfax County? The most important thing for me is making sure that the funding from the transportation bill gets to our local roads and transit needs as quickly as possible. As chair of Fairfax County Transportation and Legislative Committees, and NVTC Legislative Chair, I’ll be doing everything I can to make that happen.
Supervisor Jeff McKay