Interview with Phyllis J. Randall

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Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) became chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors in January. She previously had a 26-year career as a mental health therapist, mostly in Prince William County, where she provided substance abuse services for offenders.

The Washington Post recently met with Randall, 51, to discuss her first five months in office and her goals for the rest of her term. The following are edited excerpts from that conversation.

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Washington Post, June 5, 2016

Possibilities for restoring Grace Church

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Grace Church in Lincoln

Jeffrey Jackson wants to be able to show his grandson the church where his ancestors worshiped, near the graves where they are buried.

Reginald Simms envisions a museum honoring Loudoun County’s African American veterans.

Lee Lawrence would like to see a display depicting the long-standing ties between white Quakers and the African American community in the western Loudoun village of Lincoln.

Area residents offered these and other ideas for restoring the abandoned Grace Church building during a four-hour design workshop last month at the Goose Creek Friends Meeting House in Lincoln. Architects then sketched drawings showing how the two-story stone structure that housed an African American congregation from the 1880s through the 1940s might be restored and put to use.

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Washington Post, May 8, 2016

Vision for Ashburn Station

One of the most valuable pieces of real estate in Loudoun County is a triangle of undeveloped land along the south side of the Dulles Greenway, bounded roughly by the Greenway, Old Ryan Road and the Loudoun County Parkway. The nondescript parcel — formerly not-very-good farmland — is desirable solely because of its location next to the future site of Ashburn Station, the western terminus of Metro’s Silver Line.

Last month, representatives of the property’s owner — the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation — gave regional business leaders a glimpse of their vision for a possible trail- and transit-based urban community on the site.

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Washington Post, May 1, 2016

Residents want more nightlife options

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They want more: more bars and restaurants, and more ways to get to them safely. More music and entertainment destinations. More housing options in urban, walkable environments.

Loudoun County residents who attended a public input session in Ashburn on Monday confirmed the preliminary recommendations of an ad hoc committee created by the Loudoun Economic Development Advisory Commission. That committee has been looking at ways of stimulating the nighttime economy to make Loudoun more attractive to businesses and the young workers they employ.

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Washington Post, March 20, 2016

Lorton prison site redevelopment

Redevelopment of the final piece of the 2,300-acre property in Lorton that formerly housed prisons for the D.C. Department of Corrections has begun.

Officials broke ground last month on Liberty Crest at Laurel Hill, a project that will transform the 80-acre historic core of the correctional facility into a neighborhood of single-family homes, townhouses, apartments and businesses. Local leaders hope the project will give an economic boost to a part of Fairfax County once known mostly for the presence of the prisons.

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Washington Post, January 6, 2016

Willowsford: community with a farm

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Willowsford farm stand

The developers of Willowsford, a few miles west of Dulles Airport, tout amenities common to new communities: parks, community centers and a future regional library. But the biggest draw might be the farmland woven into the fabric of the community.

Willowsford operates a farm stand that sells food grown on site, conducts classes on cooking local seasonal produce, and offers farm-themed camps and educational experiences for children.

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Washington Post, November 15, 2015

Priorities for Dulles area

Dulles area residents want more roads to ease traffic and connect neighborhoods; biking and walking trails; access to government services; and options for shopping, entertainment and recreation — all while trees, streams and open space are protected.

Those were residents’ central messages in input gathered through Loudoun County’s Dulles Community Outreach Project. The final report, which the county’s planning staff presented to the Board of Supervisors Wednesday, included a list of 28 “consensus recommendations,” many of which involved transportation improvements and community amenities.

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Washington Post, September 20, 2015

Goats to the rescue

 

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When officials from the Belmont Country Club homeowners association realized that weeds were threatening trees in the neighborhood’s protected areas, they decided to bring in a herd of goats.

Last week, a truckload of about 30 goats arrived in the gated community to begin a five-day feast that association officials hoped would rid the areas of invasive nonnative vegetation.

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Washington Post, June 18, 2015

 

Aquatic Center opens

The Round Hill Aquatic Center at Woodgrove Park opened last week, almost 24 years after it was proffered to Loudoun County in a rezoning that allowed development of the Villages of Round Hill, Mountain Valley and Lake Point.

The opening was the culmination of a decades-long process that included public meetings, shifting plans for the facility, an appeal by the developer and rulings by the county’s zoning administrator.

The indoor facility has drawn criticism because of its size and operational costs. With four 25-yard lap lanes, it will provide space for swim team practices but is too small to host meets. The facility was built with private funds, but it will cost the county about $400,000 annually to operate. About one-third of the cost will be recovered by user fees in the first year, county officials said.

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Washington Post, May 31, 2015

Concern for eagles

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Admirers of a pair of bald eagles that live near Manassas Regional Airport raised alarms recently about the birds’ safety after noticing a real estate sign and utility work on property in the vicinity of the eagles’ nest.

Concern about the eagles’ welfare spread quickly through social media and drew the attention of federal, state and local authorities, who responded to fears that the eagles’ habitat might be threatened.

Washington Post, March 1, 2015