Updates from Letty – August 3, 2018

Blog posts are the personal views of Letty Hardi and not official statements or records on behalf of the Falls Church City Council
Dear Friends,

With no City Council meeting this week, my weekly blog post will be short and sweet. (There were five Mondays in the month, and we give ourselves the last week off when that happens). I wanted to take the opportunity for a few housekeeping items:

1) Remind you about several meetings this weekend

2) Solicit your feedback on community engagement and these weekly posts

3) Pay attention to the end. As parking is a big topic these days, hot off the presses is a map of public parking available in downtown Falls Church. Did you know that there are two garages available for night and weekend parking? If you choose to drive or have out of town visitors, check out the map so you know of all of the available spaces and share widely!

I look forward to hearing from you.


PS – At Monday’s work session, we’re back to work and have a proposal for an updated affordable housing/living policy and final Founders Row application for discussion. Agenda and documents are posted.
(1) Community Meetings This Weekend – we have two opportunities to learn and give input on two important capital projects in the city.

  • Library – if you haven’t looked at the library renovation/expansion plans yet, there will be a pop up opportunity at the Farmers Market on Saturday from 930 – 11 am.  I’ve attended both of the community meetings this week as an observer – while there has been decent attendance at the meetings to hear the reasons why moving the kids area downstairs and a corner entrance was chosen by the Library Board, there were at most 1-2 general citizens who had young children in attendance. Ultimately any of the options can work, but we should continue outreach to minimize the number of surprised citizens later in the construction process. Help spread the word!
  • A New High School – Sunday at 2 pm at GMHS, there will be a presentation of the new GMHS design and opportunity for Q&A and feedback. The design will be finalized in the fall so while it’s summer, it’s important to pay attention.

(2) Your feedback?

I read this quote this week and reflected on the 3 year anniversary of this blog – yes, this blog dates all the way back to July 2015!

“Government governs best when informed citizens are engaged.”

That has been the premise of these weekly posts and my office hours. With civic engagement declining across the country, this has been my attempt against that tide in Falls Church. I try to distill admittedly dry, local government business to provide a transparent view into how we operate, my decision making, and channels to listen and represent you. Local is where it happens! We have such a smart and dedicated community that will engage when given the information and opportunity. I know government meetings often occur at inconvenient times and not everyone has time to follow the livestream or recordings if they’re available – so hopefully this blog reaches some of those folks who neither have the information nor opportunity.

I’d love to hear how this blog and my office hours can be more useful to you.

For example, any topics you’d like to see more of/less of? I try to separate my opinions and why I voted the way I did away from the nuts and bolts of the topics.

Other ways to reach you or others?

My office hours time and location? I usually hold office hours 2-3x/quarter, usually on weekday mornings and occasional weekend mornings at various locations around town.

I’ve also encouraged us to schedule official meetings at various times and days to best accommodate schedules, we’ve also tested out free babysitting at big town hall meetings, and I’ve been a fan of “going to the people” a la pop up meetings in the market, parks, etc. As Virginia law allows, I’d also love to try using technology – people should be able to tweet quick issues to alert us, use Facebook Live to tune in, etc.

Your ideas and suggestions to reach more people, better communicate, and engage are welcome!

(3) Parking

Along with the new business openings in the most recent report from our Economic Development Office (ICYMI: custard ice cream is coming to The Little City!), you should also check out the new Downtown Parking Map for the free public parking locations. Please visit https://www.fallschurchva.gov/parking for parking garage hours and more information.

downtown parking



What’s Coming Up:

Later in September:

  • Sunday, September 23 – Sunday Series Town Hall (2 pm, GMHS Auditorium) or Wed, Sept 26 – Joint PTA meeting (same topics as 9/23)
  • TBD – mid October – final GMHS design meeting