The November 8 Community Meeting at Aldrin Elementary
School to discuss pedestrian connectivity throughout Reston, Baron Cameron
retail and Tall Oaks Village Center was very interactive.  Lots of folks
(approx. 70) putting dots on charts helped our County Land Use and
Planning staff pinpoint our views of the key items, including desired design
features and recommended additions/changes for Baron Cameron & Tall Oaks
and Reston’s sidewalk network.
Attendees were given the opportunity for public
comments. A few of us took the opportunity to speak to our neighbors, the
Planning Staff, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and several of her
staff.  Three speakers reinforced the value of the senior housing at each
of the Village Centers.
Heidi Merkel, the RMP II Project Manager from the Fairfax County
Department of Planning and Zoning, asked us to think out of the box when it
came to Tall Oaks.  To put aside limitations and pre-conceived
thoughts.  Reston resident Leni Nazare had come prepared with
innovative suggestions that are worth repeating.
Comments by Leni Nazare, as shared at the public
planning meeting on 8 November 2014:
I’d like to offer four food-related suggestions
for Reston’s village centers. Each one is intended to draw people together – as
is the intention of the village centers themselves.
1. Pop
Up Food Truck Day
. Have half a dozen food trucks with different cuisines
park in one of our village centers, perhaps on a Saturday from 11:00 AM to 2:00
PM. And set up a big tent with lawn chairs and/or tables and chairs inside —
so people can sit and linger while enjoying the food and company! Tall Oaks
Village Center would be perfect for this because the parking lot is empty and
the seniors at Tall Oaks Assisted Living could join the fun.
2.  Cooking
. The cooking school could be set up to serve not only the well
heeled, but also the immigrants living in our community.  Our immigrants
can teach the rest of us how to cook their native cuisines!  New York City
already has such a program: .  
To do this, we need a community cooking and
teaching space. Perhaps we could start this program by using the space at the
Reston Community Center, but in order to grow, we would need a larger more
specially designed space.
3. Shared
commercial kitchen
, such as the one in DC:  The trend away from packaged junk food to healthier food is creating
the opportunity for entrepreneurial ventures. The small businesses that are
hatched in a commercial kitchen incubator can offer low-income people and
others jobs close to home!

4. Independent
. Eating out in Reston would be more fun if we had more
independent restaurants that offer interesting food choices and special events,
such as trivia nights, which bring people together. To encourage these
restaurants to locate in Reston, let’s use the CSA concept.  Just like you pay your CSA (community
supported agriculture) for 20 weeks of vegetables before the season starts, so
too you could pay the restaurant for 20 meals before you ever dine there. This
would reassure the restaurant that there is a market for what they offer. And
it would create community because people from the neighborhood would be dining
there over and over again and running into each other.