Colin Mills: Giving Thanks For Reston 2013

Colin Mills/File photoHappy Thanksgiving, everybody! It’s time once again to gorge ourselves on turkey, mashed potatoes, and mediocre football games. It’s time to battle the traffic and cold weather to gather together with our families and friends. But most importantly, it’s time to give thanks for the blessings in our lives.

And as I’ve done every year since I started as RCA president, I’d like to take this moment to share with you what I’m thankful for here in Reston. This is one of the annual traditions that I enjoy the most.

It’s easy to read the headlines and become focused on the problems and threats we face. Whether it’s the government by crisis in Washington or divisive issues like the Comprehensive Plan and the Lake Anne land swap here in Reston, it’s easy to find things to be upset about.

But despite the often-depressing headlines, we’re also very fortunate. Reston is a great place to live, work, and play, and that’s just as true today as it was 50 years ago when Bob Simon was turning his dream of a New Town into reality. Whatever challenges we may face, they pale in comparison to the many benefits and blessings we enjoy.

Here’s what I’m thankful for this year:

1. As always, I’m thankful for my colleagues on the Reston Citizens Association. We’ve faced a lot of issues in Reston this year, major issues with implications for our community’s future. And RCA has stayed on top of those issues and remained a strong voice for our citizens. That’s a testament to the hard work and commitment of our Board and committee members. 2014 is shaping up to be another active year in our community, and I’m glad I can count on my colleagues to keep up their good and dedicated service next year. It’s an honor to work with you.

2.  I’m thankful that the Silver Line is going to open soon. As long as I’ve been around, we’ve been talking about bringing the Metro to Reston. At last, it’s going to happen! Now when I head downtown to see my beloved Nationals (wait ‘til next year!) take thefield or visit the museums with my family, I won’t have to drive to West Falls Church or Vienna; I’ll be able to catch the train right here.

There’s still work to be done on this front; we must make sure that Toll Road users aren’t picking up too much of the tab for Phase 2, and we need transportation improvements to ensure that the Wiehle station doesn’t bring traffic gridlock. But these issues can be worked out. Getting rail to Reston is a huge and exciting step forward.

3. I’m thankful to the Reston Association and the Alliance of Reston Clusters and Homeowners for their continued work with RCA on community issues. Strengthening our alliance has been a major goal of mine, and I’m happy to say that we’re succeeded.

Our partnership reached a new level last month, as we submitted joint comments on the Comp Plan and held a community forum to let the citizens know what Reston’s future might hold.

This sort of collaboration is what community leadership is all about. I’m thankful for what we’ve done together so far. And I’m even more thankful that our collaboration is just beginning.

4. Speaking of RA, I’m thankful to RA President Ken Knueven and Vice President Andy Sigle for their strong and competent leadership. I’m also very thankful that Cate Fulkerson has been chosen as RA’s new CEO. All three of them are open, honest,smart, dedicated, community-minded, and very capable. They’re also a joy and a pleasure to work with.

RA has a lot of important issues on its docket right now, from renovating our aging facilities to accommodating the influx of new residents that the Silver Line will bring to helping the revitalization of Lake Anne move forward. It’s going to take strong, visionary, and responsive leadership to meet those challenges. Fortunately, RA is in good hands with Ken, Andy, and Cate. I’m excited to see what the future holds.

5. I’m thankful that Ken Plum will once again represent us in Richmond. When Ken takes his seat for the next General Assembly session, he’ll be #1 in seniority in the House of Delegates. That’s a tribute to the great job he’s done representing us for over 30 years. He has faithfully represented Reston and our interests throughout his tenure, and better yet, he shows no signs of slowing down. Congratulations on your well-deserved re-election, Ken!

6. I’m thankful for Reston’s committed citizens. As I’ve talked to political and community leaders throughout northern Virginia, it’s become clear that Reston has a reputation for an unusually active citizenry. Some folks see us as a pain in the neck because of that, but I’m very proud of our reputation. It means that our citizens are invested in the community, and that they see Reston as a special place worth protecting. As long as we have citizens who care, Reston will remain a great place to live, work, and play. Whether we agree on the issues or not, I’m thankful that you show up and speak up for our community.

7. I’m thankful for Ariake. I love sushi, and I love locally owned business, and Ariake provides both. The fact that they converted an old McDonald’s into such an attractive and appealing space is a marvel. I look forward to many more delicious plates of nigiri.

8.  On the home front: I’m thankful for my daughter, Leslie. It seems like she’s growing every day, but she remains as smart, funny, caring, and clever as ever. I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful kid. I’m thankful to my parents for their love and support as always.

9. And last but certainly not least, I’m thankful for my wife, Jennifer. She brings me love, support, advice, and happiness, all in abundance. We got married this year, and frankly, it’s the best idea I’ve ever had. I love you, honey!

10.  Thanks to all of you who took the time to read this, and who read me regularly and comment on my posts. I wish you safe travels, delicious meals, and joyful reunions.

And as you start to doze on the couch during the Lions game, I hope you’ll take a moment to give thanks for all that’s good in your life. If the spirit moves you, leave a comment and tell me what you’re thankful for. I’d love to hear it.


Speaking of giving thanks, are you thankful for a Restonian who works hard on behalf of our community? Then nominate him or her for RCA Citizen of the Year! You can download the form here. Nominations are due by Dec. 15.

Colin Mills is the president of the Reston Citizens Association. He writes once a week on Reston Now.

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