By RCA President Colin Mills

There’s just something about this time of year.  As the days get longer and temperatures start
to creep upward from the winter (an unusually long and cold one this year), my
mind and body both feel the urge to wander. 
I don’t know if it’s the shoots of green and flashes of floral color, or
if it’s the arrival of baseball’s Opening Day, but I always feel drawn to head
outside and celebrate spring at this time of year.
I wrote about the glories of spring at this
time last year
, and I’ve always enjoyed this season of renewal and
rebirth.  Last year, I mentioned that RCA
was undergoing a rebirth of its own, branching out into new areas and winning
community praise for our analysis and advocacy. 
I’m happy to say that the past year has been a very busy and productive
one for us. 
We’ve been active on issues from the Master Plan to the
proposed RCC rec center to our libraries and more.  We’ve done a great job getting involved in
the community conversation on key issues. 
We’ve strengthened our relationships with other organizations.
I’m happy to report that RCA is poised for another renewal
as we head into this spring.  Our
recently-seated new
Board members
have brought fresh perspectives and new energy to RCA.  We’ve rolled out our Reston
series to help our citizens get up to speed on key issues (the first
is now up on our website). 
We’re preparing for Reston 2020’s upcoming “ResTown
Hall Meeting
” on the Baron Cameron Park master plan (happening on Monday,
April 7th at 7 PM at Aldrin Elementary).  And we’ve had some recent developments on the
Reston-Nyeri Sister
City project
that I hope to share with you soon.
In short, it’s an exciting time to be involved in RCA, and I’m
proud of all the great work we’re doing. 
The fact that we’re making progress on so many fronts gives me
confidence that RCA will remain strong with or without me.
As you probably know, over the past month I have been
running for a seat on the Reston Association Board.  The campaign is now over, but as of this
writing, we don’t know who has won.  As a
result, I’m not sure whether I will be continuing with RCA.  (If elected to RA, the time commitment will
require me to step down from RCA.)
The past month, dividing my time between the campaign and
RCA and my family and my job, has been a busy and fairly stressful time.  I couldn’t have survived it without the help
of my RCA colleagues, who have stepped in to pick up the slack for my lesser
involvement.  They’ve made sure that RCA
has kept humming along and remained just as productive as ever.
If I am not elected to RA, I will happily return to RCA and
work on keeping our projects moving forward. 
But if I do wind up moving on to RA, I have every confidence that my
smart and hard-working colleagues will keep RCA going and serving the community
well in my absence.
As I await news on my future, I look forward to having some
time to enjoy the season.  Getting off
the campaign trail will free up some more of my time for taking walks along our
pathways and enjoying our natural beauty, the trees and flowers in full
Nature and the environment are essential to Restonians, a
fact that was reinforced during my campaign.  
One of the concerns I heard most frequently from the people I spoke with
was balancing development with preserving our natural resources and open space.   Striking that balance will be one of the key
challenges that all of us – RCA, RA, and everyone who’s interested in Reston’s
future – will need to face in the coming years.
With the revised Master Plan approved by the Board of
Supervisors, it’s clear that growth –significant growth – is coming to
Reston.  There are going to be a lot of
new buildings and a lot of new people in our community over the next several
decades.  Whether that winds up being a positive
or a negative for Reston depends on whether we find the balance, particularly
in areas like the environment.
It’s true that some parts of Reston, especially around the
Silver Line stations, are going to be denser and more urban than anything we’ve
been used to before.  But there are ways
to grow and develop without becoming a concrete jungle.  It’s possible to make natural areas a key
component of even our most urban neighborhoods. 
It’s possible to plan with the goal of creating harmony between nature
and development.  It’s possible to design
buildings that are environmentally sensitive, that conserve our resources.
In order to do that, though, it’s going to take careful
collaboration between all of Reston’s stakeholders and a shared commitment to
those principles.  It will require
thoughtful consideration of our priorities, and a clear vision about the
elements that are most essential to Reston’s sense of itself.  This will not the easiest or cheapest way to develop.  But it allows us to grow for the future while
ensuring that the things we love about Reston will be preserved.  I look forward to helping us work toward that
goal, whether I’m with RCA or RA or any other organization.

I hope you don’t mind that this week’s column wandered a bit
more than usual.  Something about the
warmth of springtime encourages this sort of rambling walk.  I have no doubt that you’ll be hearing more
from me and from RCA on the issues I’ve discussed, and more.  I look forward to seeing what happens as
spring continues to unfold.  And if you
see me out on the pathways enjoying the splendor of the season, be sure and say