Barkley Seconds ‘Public Parking’ Investment for F.C.
I was genuinely impressed with the long range view taken by Council Member Dan Maller in his guest commentary in the News-Press last week on how the City of Falls Church might plan for its future growth and prosperity. In particular, his call for a “significant public investment in parking,” brought to mind a topic I addressed in a June 2002 News-Press guest commentary.
Numerous local communities have used the incentive of providing a portion of the required parking to attract commercial real estate development, and in so doing have gained greater control over exactly what type of development takes place. As the country begins to recover from the economic downturn, it is important that the City have all the development tools that competing jurisdictions have in order to attract its share of new construction.
The positive effects of developing public garages to support commercial development can be seen all around us. The highly successful and much copied retail development, Bethesda Row, comes to mind. Representatives from Federal Realty, the project owner/developer, stated at a 2003 Falls Church Economic Authority meeting that the project would never have gotten off the ground had it not been for parking provided by Bethesda’s municipal garage next door. Bethesda has built numerous garages that serve as catalysts for building one of metropolitan Washington’s major centers of commerce. More importantly, parking fees generated by the garages paid off the municipal bond financing of the garages, and now provide for maintenance and promotional activities that continually support the Bethesda business community.
The City of Alexandria also owns and operates municipal garages and parking lots – seven in its Olde Towne section. One of the city’s earliest municipal parking garages lies beneath the Alexandria town square, a popular gathering spot for numerous community activities. Does the idea of a town square sound familiar? The garage helped make that possible.
Numerous other examples can be cited, from Winchester to Fredericksburg to Richmond. It is time for the City of Falls Church to get serious about public parking garages. Municipal garages are the single most useful mechanism for attracting business customers and promoting increased business activity, and they serve as a considerable incentive to entice new commercial development.
GMHS Music Makers Hailed For Top Rating
Congratulations one hundred times over to the GMHS Concert and Symphonic Bands for earning the highest possible “Superior” ratings at the District Band Festival last Friday night! But if this alone isn’t reason to celebrate, consider that in the history of GMHS, the Concert Band has never participated in the competition, and never before has the Symphonic Band received the highest rating in the hardest grade of music to play. Add to that the disrupted (and reduced) rehearsal schedules because of the snow, and the competition outcomes are indeed Superior.
Mary Jo Webster announced the news over the weekend, and stated that “(The student’s) hard work, dedication and commitment was the KEY to this greatness!” As proud parents of a Concert Band student we of course agree, but must add that without our school’s music program and its phenomenal instructors (at all levels), and the dedication and commitment of our City’s music program supporters, none of this could have happened.
Congratulations, Mason Musicians!
Victoria and Tony Ulses
Census Forms In the Mail This Month
This month the U.S. Census Bureau is mailing out forms to every household as part of the 2010 Census. The League of Women Voters of Falls Church encourages everyone to take a few minutes to promptly complete the form and mail it back in. The more people that complete this short form by mail, the lower the overall cost of the Census will be.
The Census is critically important to the City of Falls Church because it determines the apportionment of congressional and legislative seats and is used to distribute more than $400 billion a year to state, local and tribal governments. This year’s form is one of the shortest in U.S. history, and the information provided by respondents is protected by strict confidentiality laws and is not shared with other government agencies or law enforcement authorities. .
The League of Women Voters is among the organizations partnering with the Census Bureau to help get the word out about this important decennial event. For more information, go to www.census.gov.
President, League of Women Voters of Falls Church
Assails Plan to Eliminate Arts Panel
I am an international award-winning artist and I write concerning the Virginia House of Delegates’ plan to toss out the Virginia Commission on the Arts. Finally, younger artists can have a career here, somewhat, and not have to go to New York City which might not be the best place for them.
The arts seems to add a quotient of humanism and thought – people aren’t machines- which benefits the state and society which was lacking. A lot of the arts are free and open to the public or affordable.
Wasn’t the Prague Spring and Croatian Spring about the arts? These are the same people that banned Anne Frank books. Do they see anything objectionable or do they approve of, and support, the corporate scandals, bank bailouts, defense industry investigations and convictions, or policies to the lesser.
Did Jefferson oppose the arts?
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