Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

prenny-fcnpHappy New Year! The frigid temperatures that welcomed 2018 remind us that Mother Nature still is in charge. According to a constituent, though, there are sometimes quick fixes to things like frozen pipes. She used her electric hair dryer to thaw a pipe leading into her house, and did not have to call a repair person. Took less than five minutes on New Year’s Eve. Now that’s quick thinking!

The new year also is the beginning of some changes locally. Fairfax County’s new County Executive, Bryan Hill, formerly the county manager for James City County, in the Williamsburg area, began his tenure this week. Mr. Hill stopped by the Mason District Holiday Town Gathering last month, and got just a taste of the activities that happen in Mason District all year long. I look forward to acquainting Mr. Hill with Mason District and the interests and concerns of its residents. First on Mr. Hill’s list is the FY 2019 county budget, which he will unveil in mid-February. But winter is upon us, and snowstorms, hypothermia, navigating Fairfax County’s 6000 lane miles of roadways, hundreds of neighborhoods, and 24,000 acres of county parkland will confirm that he’s not in James City County anymore!

Speaking of snow, please be sure you are prepared to drive in the white stuff. Last Saturday’s dusting is just a taste of what surely is to come. Don’t be a statistic. Check your preparation now, especially windshield wiper fluid, and a good sturdy snow scraper. Driving in snow is easier when you can see clearly through your vehicle’s windows!

Fire Station 18, also known as the Jefferson Station, near Graham Road and Route 50, will move to temporary facilities next week, in anticipation of building a brand new station on the original site. The new station, supported by a public safety bond referendum approved by the voters, will have bunk facilities for male and female personnel, and perhaps most importantly, the fire apparatus bays will be drive-throughs. No more backing an engine into a narrow garage door opening and hoping the side mirrors will survive! A farewell open house for current and former firefighters assigned to the station was held on Sunday. A lot of memories were shared, along with anticipation for the new building. Station 18 will operate from a temporary site at South Street and Annandale Road during the expected 18 – 24 month construction period. There will be no interruption of fire and rescue services as a result of the move.

Stein Mart at Graham Park Plaza (formerly Loehmann’s Plaza) is closing. A recent visit to the store revealed that everything is 20 percent off, sales are final, and much of the stock is already depleted. The western portion of Graham Park Plaza is proposed for a mixed use (residential and retail) redevelopment. That application is working its way through county processes, and several neighborhood meetings have been conducted by the property owner/developer. The redevelopment proposal does not include the Giant grocery store, or the stores including the Celebrity Delly, just in case you were wondering.


 Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov.


  • Penny Gross

    Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov