Reston, VA

While the vote remains undecided nationally at the time of writing, Fairfax County has swung heavily towards Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. At the precinct level, however, the results are a little more divided.

Biden won all three of Herndon’s precincts and all of Reston except Cameron Glen and North Point, which President Donald Trump won by 37 and 78 votes respectively.

Support for the Democratic presidential candidate surged this year in Fairfax County. In the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton received 63 percent of the vote while Trump secured just under 30 percent of the vote. This year,  Biden won a decisive 80.67% of absentee votes in the county, while Trump received 17.86%.

In Pimmit, Biden had a six-vote lead over Trump, taking the precinct 48.92% to 48.20%.

Biden swept most of the precincts in the Tysons area, with Tysons itself going 57.71% for Biden. Merrifield had one of the largest percentages of support for Biden, with 62.23%.

The precincts didn’t unanimously favor Biden, however. In McLean and Spring Hill, Trump won by 55.49% and 50.71% respectively.

Further west, Trump won more securely in the Great Falls, Hickory and Seneca and Forestville precincts.

The results of this year’s election are far from final as results from more than 400,000 early voting and mail-in ballots are not reflected in the totals so far.

Absentee votes account for an estimated 51% of Fairfax County’s overall 77.5% voter turnout for this election. They are tallied by a central precinct and are not accounted for in the above breakdown.

Professor Frank Shafroth, director of the Center for State and Local Leadership at George Mason University, told Reston Now that it’s clear Democrats swept to a large victory in Fairfax County.

“[Expressing] trust in a time of such political upheaval… being in a state with the only medical doctor of any state serving as Governor… [and] the ability to rely on facts in the middle of this pandemic is vital to trust in governance at such a difficult time of loss [for] too many American lives,” he said.

Vernon Miles and Fatimah Waseem contributed reporting to this story.

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Door-to-door greeting and candy distribution is a classic staple of Halloween night, but Fairfax County and health officials warn it might be one of the worst activities to do amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked festivities as low-risk to high-risk, allowing people to gauge what level of risk they are comfortable taking when participating in the holiday.

For those that do plan to trick or treat this year, there are several precautions the CDC recommended taking, including:

  • Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters.
  • Give out treats outdoors, if possible.
  • Set up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take.
  • Wash hands before handling treats.
  • Wear a mask.

Photo courtesy Anne B.`

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Top Stories This Week

Before we head off into another weekend with COVID-19 abound, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.

  1. Fairfax County COVID-19 Cases Hit Highest Weekly Average Since June
  2. True Food Kitchen Delays Opening in Reston Town Center
  3. Halley Rise Project Remains on Schedule in Reston
  4. FCPS Proposes Oct. 19 Pilot for Joint In-Person and Virtual Learning
  5. Herndon Resident Killed in Car Crash in Herndon

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your social distancing plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

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Top Stories This Week

Before we head off into another weekend with COVID-19 abound, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.

  1. Local Officials, Business Owners Reflect on the Uncertain Future of Retail in Reston, Herndon
  2. MS-13 Gang Member Sentenced in Armed Robbery on Elden Street
  3. Homewood Suites to Open in Reston in November
  4. BREAKING: Fire Breaks Out in Reston Townhouse
  5. Reston Association Committee to Launch Pilot Program to Discourage Use of Plastic

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your social distancing plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

Photo via Google Maps

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Since 2013, Reston Now has been reporting news about the Reston and Herndon areas. Recently, we started providing additional coverage of Great Falls.

Keep up with our coverage by signing up for our email subscriptions.

The afternoon email — sent at 4 p.m. — rounds up the most recently published stories and sponsored content on our site. Our morning email is currently on a hiatus.

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Top Stories This Week

Before we head off into another weekend with COVID-19 abound, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.

  1. Fairfax County COVID-19 Cases Show Signs of Slowing Down
  2. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Approves New Residential Development
  3. Bonchon Chicken Announces Grand Opening in Reston
  4. Affordable Housing Could Replace Herndon’s Residence Inn
  5. Electrical Accident Causes Reston House Fire

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your social distancing plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

Image via Google Maps

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Since 2013, Reston Now has been reporting news about the Reston and Herndon areas. Recently, we started providing additional coverage of Great Falls.

Keep up with our coverage by signing up for our email subscriptions.

The afternoon email — sent at 4 p.m. — rounds up the most recently published stories and sponsored content on our site. Our morning email is currently on a hiatus.

You can also opt in to receive emails we send on behalf of local businesses and nonprofits. If you opt-out, you’ll still receive an occasional event or offer-related email as part of your subscription.

Note: we will never share your email address with a third-party.

Thank you to everyone who has signed up for our email subscriptions already!

If you would like to continue reading Reston Now and you’re able to give us a few bucks a month, we would greatly appreciate you contributing to our coverage via PayPal or joining our Patreon.

Not receiving emails or want to change your subscriptions? You can re-enter your email in the subscription sign-up, which will then pop up a message saying that email is already subscribed. The message will prompt you to update your profile, which will then send you an email that will let you manage your subscriptions.

Subscribe to Reston Now

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Eight candidates are running for six seats on the Herndon Town Council for the 2021-2022 term. This week, Reston Now will publish candidate statements, which are edited for typos and formatting only. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3. Featured here is Stevan Porter. 

I am Stevan Porter and I am running for one of the six seats on the Herndon Town Council. An IT professional and paramedic, I have lived in the Town with my wife Johnise since 2008.  We both love Herndon – its history, its small town feel, its local businesses, and most importantly its wonderful and diverse people.  These are things to treasure and preserve while recognizing the Town will continue to grow and change.

I entered this race to bring different perspectives, skills, and experiences to the Herndon Town Council.  We must avoid echo chambers and I believe lively and well informed discussions are critical to making the right decisions for our community. In both professional and volunteer roles, I have excelled by carefully listening to people, getting a comprehensive overall view of the situation, and then seeking the best approach possible.  Sometimes this means going with tried and true solutions and other times it requires taking new and innovative approaches.

What would your top three priorities be as a council member?

My first priority is to promote engagement of the entire community – its residents, its businesses, and its organizations. A healthy Herndon requires that we not only consider all these perspectives without partisan bias but also find ways to actively involve all stakeholders in the solutions.

The second priority is transparency and easy access to data. In order for the community to be fully engaged it also has to be well informed. The workings of government should be as transparent as possible and as much data freely available to our community members.  I would seek to streamline FOIA processes and make them as easy and inexpensive as possible.  This includes financials, police performance data, project information, and deliberations of the Council and its various boards.
The third top priority is support for the small businesses that are so important to Herndon’s small town feel.  During the COVID crisis we found a variety of creative ways to streamline and relax various processes.  We should seriously consider these and other measures even after the emergency ends.

What is the top challenge the town faces currently and how do you aim to address it?

Prior to COVID-19 I would have said infrastructure improvements needed to support all the ongoing growth and development efforts. In particular we are expected to max out sewage processing capability by the middle of this decade.  Water, traffic, and parking are also major concerns.

With COVID-19, however, the top challenge has shifted to revenue concerns.  Due to good management, Herndon is in a much better place than many localities but we are taking a big hit in excise taxes and anticipate hits in real estate taxes – particularly on the commercial side.  This will make budgeting very difficult.

To address this, we are going to have to look at spending priorities.  Raising taxes in this economy would be a bad idea and would only further hurt our residents and businesses.  This in turn could lead to actually reducing tax revenues.

As a community we need to determine what services the Town should continue to provide and how to do it.  We must look into innovative approaches that better leverage the resources and capabilities of our residents, businesses, and organizations.  I think we can still continue to provide many of the things our community has come to expect but how those services are provided may look very different.

Listening to different perspectives and ideas is critical to how I approach problem solving and to making Herndon the best it can be for all of its people, businesses, and organizations.  I hope people will learn more about me at www.porter4herndon.com or on Facebook (@Porter4Herndon).  I look forward to earning your vote for Stevan Porter for Herndon Town Council this November.

A previous Reston Now post mistakenly stated Porter did not submit a statement.

Photo via Stevan Porter

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Eight candidates are running for six seats on the Herndon Town Council for the 2021-2022 term. This week, Reston Now will publish candidate statements, which are edited for typos and formatting only. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3. Featured here is Pradip Dhakal. The remaining candidates did not respond to a request for submissions.

What would your top three priorities be as a council member? 

My top priorities are:

1. Housing options: including bringing affordable and workforce housing in the town

2. Transparency: making the processes and decisions transparent to the public.

3. Diversity and Inclusion: making the town government, boards and commissions more diverse by community outreach.

What is the top challenge the town faces currently and how do you aim to address it? 

With the Silver Line Metro coming, the developments including the Herndon Transit-Oriented Core (HTOC) and Transit Related Growth (TRG) area serve both the biggest opportunities as well as the biggest challenges. How we define and inspire growth in this area translates into long term fiscal viability/sustainability. By attracting businesses and employers, by providing diverse housing options to people and thus by collecting more revenues for the town, we can, in turn, invest in the neighborhood by enriching quality of life through various services we can offer.

What legislative matters or proposals do you hope to bring forward on the council? 

There are many guidelines, ordinances and regulations in the town which are less relevant than when they were initially adopted. It’s time to conduct independent studies as well as surveys to find out how these guidelines and ordinances can be updated or amended to better serve the current needs. This includes zoning ordinances, HPRB guidelines and many others.

How does your background uniquely position you for this position?

I am already serving my first term as a councilman. This tenure has enabled me to learn the processes, the challenges and the opportunities. My constant outreach and engagement with the constituents for the past two years have given me great knowledge on what people need/want. I have served in leadership positions in various organizations which has given me a strong passion to listen, to learn, to serve, to implement changes and to inspire the transformations.

The Town of Herndon is poised for transformation as Metro and the redevelopment of downtown Herndon is underway. What is your current assessment of progress made so far? How do you hope to continue ensuring the development occurs in a timely and productive manner? 

As I mentioned above, the metro and downtown redevelopment offers great opportunities for us to attract diverse people, unique businesses and employers in town. I think we are little behind in terms of making the infrastructure ready, attracting investments and making ourselves ready for the change/opportunities. The downtown development is already underway. There is not much we can do now. But I will make sure we break the ground soon.

Photo via Pradip Dhakal

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Eight candidates are running for six seats on the Herndon Town Council for the 2021-2022 term. This week, Reston Now will publish candidate statements, which are edited for typos and formatting only. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3. Featured here is Signe Friedrichs. 

What would your top three priorities be as a council member? 

  • Economic Recovery from Coronavirus
  • Redevelopment of Downtown and Arts Center
  • Transportation (public, multi-modal)

What is the top challenge the town faces currently and how do you aim to address it?

Top Challenge: Financial security–providing basic services while tax revenues plummet because of residents and businesses distress.

Solutions: Prioritizing spending, maintaining reserves and deploying county resources when possible to maintain status quo without layoffs or decreasing services.  

How does your background uniquely position you for this position?

I have served the town in many capacities. I have lived in Herndon since 1996. I have been an academic, a military spouse, a small business employee, a membership relations manager for the local chamber of commerce, and the executive director of a nonprofit. I know business owners, and Herndon residents and can represent them well. I love Herndon’s small town feel and community cohesion.

Metro Development Progress

We understand that the new metro station will be opening in Herndon this winter. Projects already funded, mainly by the State and County, will mean that building bus bays, bike lanes, sidewalks, and traffic abatement systems are underway. In addition, several attractive redevelopment projects for the 1970s and 80s style office buildings on Herndon Parkway are proposed by the developers who own them. Herndon is seen as the next part of the County to “take off”, and we want to make sure we have the infrastructure to support redevelopment on that side of the town. Rest assured, though, the neighborhoods and downtown should remain small, intimate and communal in keeping with Herndon’s personality.

Photo via Signe Friedrichs

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Eight candidates are running for six seats on the Herndon Town Council for the 2021-2022 term. This week, Reston Now will publish candidate statements, which are edited for typos and formatting only. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3. Featured here is Sean Regan.

My wife Anne and I have lived in Herndon for 22 years and we can’t imagine living anywhere else. We have raised a family and opened a business here. Herndon embraced us – our kids received a great education in the neighborhood schools, our business has grown, and we’ve made friends who have laughed with us in good times and cried with us in hard times.  Anne and I love Herndon, it is our home. 

Over the years we’ve tried to give back.  I coached youth lacrosse, Anne was on the board of our local pool and the founding board of the Herndon Environmental Network.  I volunteered for committees to design the “It’s On!” logo and the stone markers you see when you enter Town.

 Since 2012 I’ve been proud to serve on Herndon’s Planning Commission, creating development frameworks for Downtown and the Metro area, and reviewing dozens of land-use applications in all parts of Herndon.  Through that role I’ve learned the workings of Town government and have come to appreciate the challenges of running a small town amidst the Northern Virginia sprawl. 

Running for Town Council is the next chapter for me.  I was raised in Columbia, Maryland, one of the earliest and largest planned communities in America. I grew up appreciating the beauty of an economically, racially, religiously diverse community where many voices could speak and many people could lead. That’s what I want for Herndon, and that’s why I’m running for Town Council. You can learn more about my campaign at www.ReganForHerndon.com.

Qualifications

I understand Town government from my eight years on the Planning Commission. I’ve owned a business in Herndon for 18 years, managing large scale construction projects for non-profits like Mount Vernon Estate and the Northern Virginia Children’s Science Center. I feel invested in this community and am comfortable working with people with different points of view. I think that last idea is an important one – in today’s society politics, social media and other factors have pushed people to the edges and encouraged an “us versus them” mentality which Is not good for the country.  We need to come together, find common ground in the middle, and build from there.  This strategy might not work on the national level but it can work in a small town like Herndon.

Issues

Herndon should be a welcoming town where everyone can thrive so we need to identify policies rooted in historical bias and work to change them. The next Council will be tasked with balancing the budget in light of the effects of COVID-19, which will not be easy in the short- or long-term. In addition, depending on how the “qualified immunity” issue is resolved in Richmond, the Town may have trouble attracting good police officers and could need to fund something akin to doctors’ and dentists’ expensive malpractice insurance to retain them. Finally, I’d like to work with surrounding jurisdictions on regional issues like traffic and climate change. Our 24,000 voices can be powerful if we speak as one on these broader issues.

Economic Development

We need to understand how workplaces are changing, and position Herndon’s Metro area, downtown and other office properties to take advantage of the trends. We need to understand how housing is changing and adapt our zoning code to create an adequate supply of affordable, workforce and age-in-place housing. We need to attract a major university or cultural institution to anchor the metro area and differentiate it from every other stop along the Silver Line.

Whether by mail, by early in-person voting, or at the polls November 3rd – please vote!

Photo via Sean Regan

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Eight candidates are running for six seats on the Herndon Town Council for the 2021-2022 term. This week, Reston Now will publish candidate statements, which are edited for typos and formatting only. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3. Featured here is Jasbinder Singh. 

I served on the council from 2010 to 2012 and from 2014 to 2016.  I am back for the third time, because I want to help Herndon set a new direction.  During my first two terms I served with: integrity, ability, and an inquiring mind.

If elected, I intend to approach my job in the same manner.

Between 2013 and 2017 I wrote more than 30 articles describing how the town works or does not work.  These articles, published on my blog HerndonOpinion.com, provide a meaningful context for transforming Herndon into a vibrant town.

The experience described above, combined with my educational background in Civil Engineering & Public Policy, professional experience in policy analysis and environmental litigation, and a passion for public service uniquely qualify me to serve as a councilmember.

Have you ever wondered, “Why does it take Herndon 10 years to complete projects that would normally be completed in 1 or 2 years?  It is clear that Herndon needs to modernize, focus on excellence, and yet, retain its small-town feel.

Accomplishing this objective would be challenging during normal times.  However, these are not normal times. Municipalities across the country have laid off staff, cut capital budgets and even terminated major projects.  Economic conditions will not return to normal until at least the second half of next year.

Consequently, I have asked, “What should we do over the next two or three years to best cope with Covid-19 and its effects?

In the short-run, I believe, our first priority should be to conserve as much cash as possible, postpone or eliminate projects that are wasteful or require raising capital in the financial markets or require that we give land free to developers and/or special interests.  I propose that we take two immediate actions;

Make Town’s Current Financial Health Transparent under significant economic and development scenarios, and

Reverse anti-Transparency Policies of the last 8 years – policies that have kept the public in the dark, particularly about the economics of the proposed downtown development.

These actions should help the public to provide informed input into the Town’s decisions.

Covid-19 is highly problematic, but it has given us an opportunity to make our government nimble and efficient. In the Medium-run, we should reform regulations that delay our projects or impose unnecessary burden on our citizens.  HPRB rules and many other regulations fall in this category.  We should also implement the state-of-the-art budgetary and management practices that help governments make prudent decisions.  The budgets of all departments should be scrutinized for efficiencies.

Finally, we should keep an eye on the long-run.  For too long, we have focused on the downtown.  We should take actions that help revitalize the entire town, reduce traffic, develop a master plan for undeveloped areas, help our children learn about our environment and the wildlife around us, and create a vibrant and multicultural society. Last but not the least, we should examine whether the at-large town elections of councilmembers truly lead to policies that reflect the wishes of all the people of Herndon.

Our road to excellence will not be easy, but with the participation of our citizens in this endeavor, there will come a time when the Town of Herndon can say,

“Yes, we can!”

Photo via Jasbinder Singh

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Eight candidates are running for six seats on the Herndon Town Council for the 2021-2022 term. This week, Reston Now will publish candidate statements, which are edited for typos and formatting only. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

My name is Clark Hedrick and I’m running for the Herndon Town Council. I’m asking for your vote on November 3rd because I want to bring Herndon together; to build on our strengths and to fix what needs fixing. We’re living through one of the most challenging moments in our community’s history–local government has never been more important.

I am well-qualified for the task which will be entrusted to the next Council. As a member of Herndon’s Board of Zoning Appeals, I’ve worked with residents and Town officials to resolve zoning matters. I also have extensive experience working with local governments including issues of tax, business licensing, communications infrastructure, and civil disputes. I’ve devoted my career to improving government transparency, oversight, effectiveness, and responsiveness. If elected, I will bring those values to the Council. As an active member of the community, I’m committed to seeing our Town emerge stronger from this crisis.

Like many local governments, the next Herndon Town Council term will be dominated by responding to the economic and financial impact of COVID. Until the full scope is understood, the Council must exercise extreme fiscal restraint to preserve essential services and protect Town employees. The Council must also review its land use and business licensing code to reduce regulatory burdens and costs. If the budget permits, I would like to lead the Council in declaring a Meals Tax holiday to help our small business owners and patrons, and to jump start the local economy.

More broadly, Herndon is at a crossroads. As Fairfax County (and Loudoun) develops around us, the Town must work to preserve its historic and small-town feel. Likewise, Herndon will be more connected than ever before with the opening of the Herndon Metro Station–our challenge is to make sure that the Town remains an affordable and accessible place for families, retirees, and individuals at every stage of life. We benefit from being one of the most diverse communities in the region–we need to ensure that we will continue to enjoy that benefit for decades to come.

We are an epicenter of opportunity, with countless small businesses and Fortune 500 employers right here in town. We are home to Virginia’s most engaged and hard-working citizens. But more importantly, if the last few months have proven anything, it’s that we look out for each other in times of need–I am proud to be your neighbor.

You can learn a little bit more about me, my family, and my commitment to bringing Herndon together by visiting www.ClarkHedrick.com. And I want to hear from you so please connect with me on social media either at Facebook (@herndontogether) or Twitter (@clarkhedrick). I’d be honored if you voted for me, Clark Hedrick for Town Council on November 3rd.

Photo via Clark Hedrick

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Top Stories This Week

Before we head off into another weekend with COVID-19 abound, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.

  1. Best Buy in Reston to Close Next Month
  2. Fairfax County Sees Over 400 New COVID-19 Cases Per Week in Mid-August
  3. Facing Lawsuit, Balducci’s to Close Reston Town Center Location
  4. Two Alternatives On the Table for Soapstone Connector
  5. Fairfax County Board to Consider Proposal to Ban Firearms in County Areas

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your social distancing plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

Image via Google Maps

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Reston Now is running statements of candidates running for mayor of the Town of Herndon. With longtime Mayor Lisa Merkel stepping down, two candidates are running for her position. Featured here is Sheila Olem, the town’s current vice mayor, who is running against Roland Taylor.

What is the top challenge the town faces currently and how do you aim to address it? 

The COVID pandemic is our biggest challenge for staff and council, as well as our local businesses until a vaccine is available.  We have been addressing this crisis since March and it looks like we may have another year. Town Manager, Bill Ashton, has been the General in charge of our town staff, our troops, since the shut down in March.  Having a professional town manager that is charged with the day to day operations is a gift in good times.  During this crisis it has been a blessing.  My background in public health has helped me understand the “why” of our new normal.

What would your top three priorities be as mayor? 

  1. Continuing our leadership as the environmentally focused leader in urban Northern Virginia.
  2. Continuing and improving our great town services and quality of life for residents, visitors, and businesses.
  3. Bringing home county, state, and other regional dollars to benefit our town.

How does your background uniquely position you for mayor? 

For over twenty years I have been involved land use issues and served on numerous committees, including the Dulles Toll Road Task Force (2000-01), Hunter Mill Task Force (2005),  Herndon’s Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA)  (2000 -07), and the Virginia Municipal League’s (VML) General Laws Policy Committee.  Having a good working relationship with our County elected officials is an asset when projects such as the New Fire Station in Herndon and the need for funding to build an Arts facility in our redevelopment area of the downtown.  I have had a working relationship with every Dranesville Supervisor since 1990, three Republicans and one Democrat.  My goal is to do the best for Herndon and work with all elected officials.  As a homeowner and business owner in town since 1990, I have also worked with staff on numerous occasions for building and business permitting. Improving our process is always on the table. Legislating and bringing home dollars is the job.

The Town of Herndon is poised for transformation as Metro and the redevelopment of downtown Herndon is underway.  What is your current assessment of progress made so far? 

The size fits with our community’s desire to keep a hometown feel in our downtown.  The current project has been underway since 2009. My tenure on council started in July of 2010 so I have been there for this long process.  It has been thoughtful, vetted by the community with focus groups, public hearings etc.  Once complete the project will generate tax revenue for the town, new customers for existing businesses and the new residents will see why we enjoy having a walkable vibrant community. 

How do you hope to continue ensuring the development occurs in a timely and productive manner?  

I support the current project; we do have a meeting to determine the final finances of the project.  We have been planning and investing for this project for the past ten years.  Once the final agreement papers are signed and ground breaks the project will be completed in twenty-four months!

Photo via Sheila Olem

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