On behalf of all of us at the mighty Falls Church News-Press, past, present and possibly future, we offer a heartfelt thanks to all the more than 100 souls who shared last Thursday night with us in the patio outside at the Ireland’s Four Provinces restaurant in downtown Falls Church to participate in our celebration of 30 years of consecutive weekly publication. We couldn’t be more grateful, and the calls by many there for another 30 years, while eliciting a sense of exhaustion from our editor who founded this and has been overseeing it for these many years, it was underscored by his commitment reiterated on the occasion to ensuring the paper endure for at least that long beyond when he might feel like taking a break.
U.S. Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr., Falls Church’s Favorite Son, highlighted the grand occasion with his usual creative remarks, this time making a point about the great population disparity between the cities of Seattle and Olympia in Washington, the latter being the state capitol. Originally, he noted, the two cities were the same size, so having the capitol in Olympia was readily merited. But the similarities between the two diverged greatly thereafter, with Seattle roaring into a world-class center.
He was making a parallel to Falls Church and the factors that impact whether a city grows and thrives, or not, and cited the role of the News-Press and its role as a driver of community greatness in that context. The remarks were much appreciated, even as we doubt Falls Church is going to grow to Seattle’s population of 650,000, being about 15,000 now, up from 9,200 when the News-Press began in 1991 (not unless there are more land annexations, at least!) But the point was more than valid as Falls Church is now thriving, having long since shed its former reputation as a bedroom town hostile to commercial development in a way that other comparably-sized communities in the region have not. And the steadfast community-binding influence of the News-Press has been huge.
The many developments here, completed, underway, planned or dreamed to date, have and will continue to allow for a first rate, world class public school system, a pioneering role in the promotion of transit (the mega-project at the west end driving a huge revival of the Metro rail station here) and alternative energy to deal with global warming and congestion.
It is putting our Little City on a certain path to meet the challenges of affordable housing and equity in all its dealings, and make it a major driver creating the kind of wider regional social environment many of us favor. The Little City has become a powerful reality and role model.
A good local press contributes not just by providing information, but by setting in motion community engagement, and showing everyone that through it they have a voice in shaping the future.