Local Commentary

Guest Commentary: Future of F.C. Depends on Citizen Involvement

For my entire life, the City of Falls Church has been my home, and I have watched with great interest the changes that have taken place here over the last decade in terms of its rapid growth and development.  As we continue to move forward, the decisions made today will have a profound effect on the direction of the City. That is why I would like to encourage other young adults and all Falls Church residents to get more involved in the ongoing dialogue about the future of our City.

This City has shaped my life.  My family (my parents and three siblings) moved to Falls Church more than twenty five years ago, and I feel fortunate to have grown up in such a unique and close-knit City mere minutes away from the busyness of our nation’s capital.

I am a proud graduate of George Mason, Thomas Jefferson, and Mount Daniel schools, where I received a top notch public education that laid the foundation for my professional career.  I played and coached basketball, soccer, and baseball through the Recreation and Parks Department and learned the important lessons of hard work, dedication, and leadership.  My first jobs were at the Seven Corners Animal Hospital and the Falls Church Animal Hospital. And I was involved in church and youth group at The Falls Church. Looking back, I realize just how much this City has given me and how many opportunities it has provided me.

As a young professional in the D.C. area, I have decided to stay and live in Falls Church because it is important to me to be here and give back to the community in any way I can. It is my hope that other young adults and people of all ages will do the same.

There are many opportunities for service in our City.  With my background in Environmental Science, I volunteer and serve as an appointed member and secretary on the Falls Church Tree Commission.  Through this experience, I have been able to learn from other residents, provide input on development plans, help revive our specimen and historical tree designations, and welcome the new City arborist. There are currently several vacancies on local boards and commissions, and I would encourage others to find out more (there is a list of vacancies on the City’s website, fallschurchva.gov).

Changes in the City will persist due to inevitable growth and the continued need for a diversified tax base. New construction at Thomas Jefferson has begun and more additions to our schools may be necessary. New development on Broad Street and Washington Street will continue. We are fortunate to have our City provide many necessary and important services; however, due to budget issues, these services may change from year to year. Input from informed and involved members of the community is vital to ensure that we keep the services we value. We can all make a difference. It is never too late to make your voice heard as the City moves forward and addresses these important issues.

The future of this City depends on citizen involvement and volunteers. Those who have grown up here and returned are in a unique position to help make sure that the next generation receives the same great services that we have enjoyed. Their input will help ensure that this City succeeds and continues to be a leader in the Northern Virginia area.

Falls Church is many things. It’s my hometown and yours. It’s our childhood memories and our hope for a future full of potential. Now is the time for those of us who have been given so much to return the favor. The City needs our time, our input, and our energy so that our children and grandchildren can be blessed with the same upbringing and opportunities that we all have been afforded as a result of this very special community.

 


William Henneberg is a lifelong resident of Falls Church City and serves on the Falls Church Tree Commission. He is a graduate of George Mason High School, University of Mary Washington, and is currently completing a Masters in Professional Science from American University. He works as a Research Assistant for the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.