It was a milestone year in 2014: Reston turned 50, founder Bob Simon turned 100 and Metro’s Silver Line finally came to town. Those were the two biggest ongoing stories of the year.
All year long, there were celebrations and ceremonies marking Reston’s banner year.
The biggest party came at April’s Founder’s Day at Lake Anne Plaza, where Chuck Veatch, Reston resident and one of Reston’s original developers, put the last 50 years into perspective.
He read words from Simon in the original Reston deed that still ring true in 2014.
“The deed of Reston celebrates not the completion of this new town, but symbolizes its beginning,” Simon said in 1964. “It is a place where people will come to live, work, play and call their own. We have just begun to build — there is very much more to come. But from this day forward, Reston is its people.”
Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) were among the well-wishers at Reston’s big day. President Barack Obama also sent his regards in a letter to Simon.
“You are part of a generation that helped guide our country through uncertain and extraordinary times, and the energy and creativity you have shown over the years serve as an inspiration,” wrote the president. “As you celebrate a century of memories, I hope you take tremendous pride in the community you founded 50 years ago and all you have done to ensure our neighborhoods are vibrant places to live and work.”
Simon left Reston in 1967, when the project was turned over to Gulf Oil. He returned in the early 1990s, though. He lives in Heron House at Lake Anne and is out and about on a daily basis in the “new town” he envisioned when he purchased farmland in the Virginia countryside more than a half-century ago.
He will turn 101 on April 10, 2015.
The Silver Line
The $2.6 billion-Phase I of the project runs from Tysons Corner to Reston’s Wiehle Avenue, which will be the end of the line until Phase II of the rail opens in 2018.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx compared getting to Silver Line opening day to that of building medieval cathedrals. Often, builders did not know what they finished product would look like until they got there decades later.
“What I’m reminded of is that the work of transportation is really the work of generations,” Foxx said. “And if we’re not putting those cornerstones in place as a nation, we’re not building for the generations to come afterward. So this is a time to celebrate the voices of ‘yes’ sounding louder than the voices of ‘no.’ ”
Within a few weeks, about 20,000 daily trips started or ended at Wiehle-Reston East’s shiny, new station. That made the station the busiest by far of the new Silver Line stations. The station’s reached Metro’s usage predictions for the year within just a few months.
Coming in 2015: More work on Phase II, which has received nearly $2 billion in federal loans to complete the project. Phase II will have a stop at Reston Parkway near Reston Town Center, as well as take the line to Herndon, Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County.
There will also be a retail and food hall — the Stock Market @ Reston Station — opening at Reston Station, Comstock’s development on top of the Wiehle-Reston East parking garage. Comstock’s BLVD Apartments at Reston Station will also begin leasing in 2015.