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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Eileen Garnett recognized as 'Annandale Citizen of the Year'

John Marr Drive
Long-time Annandale activist Eileen Garnett was named “Citizen of the Year” by the Annandale Chamber of Commerce Thursday in recognition of her years of work in support of the revitalization of the community’s central business district.

The award caught Garnett by surprise. “It’s quite humbling that they think that much of me,” she said. “I’m flattered and humbled at the same time.”

Garnett helped create the Annandale Central Business District Planning Committee in 1984 and has worked tirelessly over the years in support of various redevelopment projects.
It’s also a bit frustrating, Garnett acknowledged, as she’s been working on efforts to improve Annandale for the past 27 years, and “it’s not where I want it to be.” It’s been difficult to put together a significant multiuse project because Annandale is carved up into many small parcels of land, she says.

The committee spent countless hours on several proposed projects that later fell apart when the economy tanked. A plan to develop an office/retail/residential project on the site of the AMF bowling alley went all the way through the zoning process.
The bowling alley
“That building would have been great for Annandale,” Garnett says noting that people who live here don’t want to go to Tysons or other areas for their daily shopping. “You need one good sizeable project to give Annandale a shot in the arm,” she says, then other developers will jump in. An project proposed for the Kmart fell through before it even got to the zoning process.

One successful effort of the committee was the streetscape improvements on John Marr Drive, which included brick sidewalks, the “acorn” streetlights, and plantings. Another was the development of Toll House park on Little River Turnpike.

Those efforts were aimed at making Annandale more attractive and a bit more walkable, but much more pedestrian-friendly development is needed. One hopeful sign Garnett points to is the new TD Bank, on the corner of Little River and Backlick Road, which should open in a few weeks.

1 comment:

  1. Could not have happened to a nicer, smarter, more savvy woman. Congrats to Eileen.