Claims to Set Record Straight on Housing Plan
Regarding your editorial last week, “This Just In: Tortoise May Win” I think we need some clarification as to what actually happened.
You described a project that went through “countless hoops…before winning approval…last December.” You then blamed the economy for stopping it. The fact is that the project itself did not win approval. The Site Plan was sharply rejected by the Planning Commission in a 6-1 vote. In fact, FCHC intransigence on the project resulted in 100% of the PC members who voted FOR it in the summer to vote against it at Site Plan. I was one of those who supported it in that initial vote.
The Planning Commission was then told that FCHC was coming back to us with “major” changes early this year. We held a work session with them to find that they had added only four on-site parking spaces. The parking deficit was the main reason the Commission rejected it last year and these spots did nothing to address any concerns. I’m cautiously optimistic now that they’ve finally gotten serious and found a new partner who could provide equity and, more importantly, knowledge and experience about such projects.
The economy didn’t kill this project last time. It was the FCHC unwillingness to make practical changes that killed it. I think I speak for most everyone when I say that we’re hoping for better this time around.
Falls Church Planning Commission
Light Rail On Route 7 a ‘Boondoggle’
A few years ago, on a Metro ride, I overheard one of our former mayors talking about his vision of a light rail line along route 7. I laughed it off as a pie in the sky idea. Seems like he now has convinced Rep Jim Moran to follow through on his pie-in-the-sky. This would certainly be a boondoggle and a complete waste of money, even though it will be Federal money. If such a feasibility study is launched, I am sure the study would discover that the idea is too expensive and, besides, there is no space on route 7 in Falls Church to put a rail line. This does not need a study!
We can surely spend that $500,000 somewhere more worthwhile.
West End Park Thrives With Activity
It’s time to stop the West End bashing (Editorial 5/14). West End Park is a treasure. As I travel new parts of the City by bicycle, I find new parks and neighbors blessed with multiple parks. Yet West End Park remains the only park safely accessible to over 350 children, in a neighborhood bounded by the crazy driving of West Street and the four lanes of Broad. At only 2 acres, it is hardly Central Park.
Bob Wilden (Remembered, 5/14) often told me that losing West End Park was not bad for the Falls Church Housing Corporation (FCHC). He said FCHC’s current project in City Center is bigger, better and broader than the project envisioned at the West End. He said it had all worked out for the best.
Bob Wilden taught me a lesson we can all share. After the end of the West End Park fight, Bob invited West End Neighbors co-chairs, Tom Edmonds and me, to lunch. He explained that communities need work together, and we did. Bob and I worked together closely for the last two years to organize a group to protect reasonably-priced housing in the City. He also joined the Board of my group, ENIAC Programmers Project, which preserves histories of women computer pioneers and provide role models for girls to pursue careers in science and technology.
Bob thought that grudges and nastiness hurt communities. He was right, and it’s time for the News-Press to drop the West End bashing.
All Encouraged to Join in ‘Relay for Life’
We want to thank the News-Press for its outstanding feature on cancer survivor Hope Galley and want to encourage all cancer survivors in Falls Church to join us for some special events in connection with this year’s Falls Church Relay For Life.
Persons who have undergone treatment for cancer in any form are invited to join us for a survivors reception at 5 p.m. on Saturday May 30, right before the formal start of this year’s Relay. The reception, which will be held in the Cafetorium of Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School, will feature entertainment by the Potomac Harmony Showtime Chorus, an award-winning women’s choral group from Arlington.
Following the reception, survivors will proceed to the George Mason High School track to participate in the Opening Ceremony and “Survivor’s Lap” at 6 p.m. We hope survivors will also join us for the moving Luminaria Ceremony, which will take place at approximately 9:30 p.m. At that time, victims of cancer are remembered and survivors are celebrated as the track is lit with candles donated in their names.
As cancer survivors, we have found the Relay For Life to be a wonderful opportunity to join with others who have lived with this disease and reaffirm the gift of life! We encourage you to join us, and, if possible, to register in advance at www.fallschurchrelay.org.
Ellen Salsbury & Gwenn Hofmann