Updates from Letty – January 12, 2024

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,

Happy new year! Thank you for the outpouring of well wishes and kind notes I’ve received this week. I’m honored to take on a new role as mayor for Falls Church and eager to get back to work. Read on for my comments, which highlights a few priorities and how I’m thinking about the role, including a Taylor Swift reference if you’re a fellow Swiftie.

I’ll also share a lot of exciting economic development news – there’s a lot to look forward to in 2024!

A few calendar items:

  • We’ve recognized Monday as a city-wide day of service in honor of Dr King. It’s been our tradition since my first term that City Council will be volunteering together in the community. I encourage you to join the Tinner Hill march and commemoration, bring the kids to volunteer at GIVE Day at the schools secondary campus, or find another way to give back.
  • Our first Restaurant Week is next week, so start planning your meals! There is a lot of great media coverage in anticipation of 10 days of good deals and good eating at 40 participating restaurants – I thought this article was especially good.
  • New schedules – new Council committee schedules, Meet the Council sessions, etc are being hammered out, so those will be publicly noticed per usual. In the meantime – my personal office hours, where I rotate the locations and times around the city, will also be resuming. Come see me on Monday, January 29 at 12 pm at Northside Social – I’d welcome your input ahead of our Council retreat where we’ll develop our next work plan.


What Happened This Week:

(1) Letty’s Comments

You can read the full text of my speech following the mayor/vice mayor election from Monday night, but as I often give you the TL;DR version, I wanted to pull out two excerpts, which is my ask and my commitment to the community:

“I have been so fortunate to have learned and worked with various Councils in the past eight years, all with an amazing level of dedication, professional expertise, and passion. As I think about what helped us be successful as a team — it centered around one thing: positive intent.

And that starts with us.

I ask that the community and this body do our best to grant each other the assumption of positive intent. We are all up here because we truly love Falls Church and are dedicated to improving it. We need to remember that we bring a good complement of perspectives and skills. And when harnessed, we can be the most effective together.

How we act up here sets the tone for collaborative discussions with each other and among the community. People are watching us. We should model the behavior we want to see.

I remain anchored in the belief that we may not always agree — which is actually healthy — but if we stick to facts and civil debates to policy and share our thinking along the way, we can respect each other’s positions. And even if those positions may be different when it comes time for a vote, we can still unify around the outcome.”

And here’s my commitment:

“I will keep doing the Letty things that you’ve come to expect:

You have my commitment to make local government transparent and accessible — whether that’s with my blog that I’ve kept up for over eight years, regular office hours, and keep putting in the work and time in building relationships in the community with residents, businesses, and our neighbors.

You have my commitment that I’ll keep learning from others and being thoughtful about every vote I cast — doing my homework, asking questions, and seeking out the voices we don’t traditionally hear from.

You’ll also see us sharing the responsibilities of mayor and doing some things differently. We each have a vote and a voice. And to that end — I’m committed to a more egalitarian City Council and moving forward as a team, in collaboration with our School Board, Planning Commission, and our other boards and commissions and the community.”

(2) Economic Development Catch Up

2024 is going to be a great year of eating in Falls Church. We seem to be in a food renaissance, with a critical mass of restaurateurs who have discovered us!

Another adaptive reuse coming – it was made public this week that the owners of Pupatella have purchased 106 Little Falls (across from Stratford Motor Lodge and Harris Teeter) with plans to modernize the building to be a French cafe/creperie.

New tenants have also been announced at West Falls and Founders Row 1

  • Ice Cream Jubliee coming to West Falls (and if you missed it, the other announced tenants so far are: Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls, fast-casual burger concept BurgerFi, Korean comfort food restaurant SeoulSpice and the early education and preschool program Tierra Encantada)
  • Semicolon Cafe and Optometrist leases signed at Founders 1

More new business updates here (slides 12-25)

And if you haven’t seen it yet, this was a great review of the three development projects underway – West Falls, Founders Row 2, and Broad and Washington (future home of Whole Foods and Creative Cauldron).

What’s Coming Up:

City Council Work Session – January 16, 2024*

City Council Meeting – January 22, 2024*

Letty’s Office Hours – January 29, 2024 (12 pm, Northside Social)

*Mondays (except 5th Mondays and holidays) at 7:30 pm. You can access the agenda and livestream here, including recordings of past meetings