E-Bird Newsletter

Richmond Highway bus rapid transit system branded ‘The One’; WISH training center opening soon; what’s cookin’ for the Original Mount Vernon High

richmond highway the one brt

A major milestone has been reached in the development of the Richmond Highway bus rapid transit (BRT) system: unveiling the brand of the system.

And the brand is – drum roll, please – The One.

Why “The One?” It will run primarily along U.S. Route 1, which in Fairfax County is Richmond Highway.

Volunteers from the community joined a branding development team and worked to pare down a list of 84 names to put forward three for consideration by focus groups and the public.

The One will have nine stations connecting to employment centers, shopping centers and communities along the Richmond Highway corridor from the Huntington Metrorail Station to Fort Belvoir. It will provide residents and visitors with a high-quality public transportation solution that is designed to be fast, reliable and convenient because it operates with a dedicated transitway that will include buses with easy boarding, transit signal priority and separated bicycle and pedestrian paths.

The first phase of The One is scheduled to be completed and begin service around 2030.

So, what did people say when asked about The One?

  • It references the place that our buses operate, up and down Route 1, so everyone in the community can understand its location.
  • It is a fast, frequent, traffic-free way to travel along the Richmond Highway Corridor — the one way to do it.
  • Some in a youth focus group said The One brings the whole community together.

The goal of the BRT system is to increase transit ridership along the corridor and ultimately lead to an extension of Metrorail to the Hybla Valley area on the corridor.

Find out more from the Fairfax County Government News Center.


WISH list item — training center on Richmond Highway — coming true

Last Friday, Fairfax County Lee District Supervisor Rodney L. Lusk (Lee District) invited community leaders, nonprofit organizations and elected officials to tour the new Lee District Community Center that will open soon. The community center will house the Workforce Innovation Skills Hub — WISH for short.

Fairfax County Supervisor Rodney Lusk (l) talks with Fairfax County Economic Development Authority President and CEO Victor Hoskins at the WISH event.

The WISH will provide Lee District residents and the public with training in the trades and technology jobs of the future.

WISH participants will have the opportunity to get trained in 3D printing, welding, drone technology and electronics. The training offered at the Lee District Community Center will be directly linked to local employment opportunities available in the area for years to come.

Guests at the event got a behind-the-scenes tour of the future WISH worksite and had the opportunity to participate in a welding experience led by Building Momentum, an Alexandria-based technology nonprofit and future operator of the WISH.

Guests were introduced to another WISH operator, Melwood, and its President and CEO Larysa Kautz.

The community center is on the site of the old Mount Vernon Athletic Club on Audubon Avenue just off Richmond Highway. In May 2020, Fairfax County purchased the facility with plans to establish a multi-service center to meet the immediate needs of neighborhoods in the Buckman Road area on the west side of Richmond Highway.

The WISH is also supported by elected officials at all levels of government. With the support of U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, U.S. Rep. Gerald Connolly (11th District) and Virginia Del. Paul Krizek (44th District), the WISH program secured $800,000 in supplemental state and federal funding. The government funding will be used to purchase the equipment and infrastructure needed to support the program.

A grand opening of the Lee District Community Center and the WISH will be held in early May. Contact Supervisor Lusk’s office at leedist@fairfaxcounty.gov for questions or to be a partner in the program.


What’s cookin’ for the Original Mount Vernon High School

Fairfax County issued a “Request for Expressions of Interest” (RFI) for the adaptive reuse of the Original Mount Vernon High School (OMVHS). As part of its plan to redevelop the historic building and campus on Richmond Highway into a vibrant community hub, the county is seeking out organizations interested in creating a food-based business accelerator and entrepreneurship center.

The RFI is located online and responses will be accepted, reviewed, and possibly recommended for further consideration or implementation on a rolling basis in order of submission until a March 31 deadline.

The Original Mount Vernon High School on Richmond Highway

The food business accelerator will serve as an anchor tenant and will join the teen and senior center already on site. Future development includes a theatre, space for education and workforce development, childcare, and a separate technology-based business center. The renewal of this historic landmark is expected to provide economic opportunities, encourage business growth, and contribute to the economic diversification of this rapidly growing corridor.

A food business accelerator is a shared-use commercial space that is certified for food production. Members rent the kitchen by the hour, day, or month to produce specialty food products and receive guidance and coaching to improve their independent businesses. The RFI seeks a food business accelerator operator that will provide a programming component focused on helping participating entrepreneurs and small businesses to scale or expand.

The master plan for OMVHS calls for shared multigenerational, vibrant community spaces with public and private, educational, recreational, and nonprofit uses, as well as pedestrian connections to the nearby future station on The One bus rapid transit line.

The high school was built in 1939 on land that used to be part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate. It is considered a classic example of Colonial Revival architecture. The 22-acre property was used as a high school until 1973 and then a middle school until 1985. The building then was leased to the Islamic Saudi Academy in 1989 until it relocated in 2016.

The 140,000-square-foot Mount Vernon High School facility consists of the main high school building and several smaller buildings. There are also two athletic fields that are scheduled for community use.

In 1987, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources determined that the high school property was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The school was listed on the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register in December 2017, and in the National Registry of Historic Places in May 2018.

Click here for more information.


Richmond Highway Restaurant Bingo runs to March 31

It’s not too late to participate in Richmond Highway Restaurant Bingo.

All this month the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation (SFDC) is promoting local restaurants through Richmond Highway Restaurant Bingo. It runs like a regular bingo game, but in this version participants cross off five restaurants in a row to be eligible to win prizes from the SFDC.

Restaurant Bingo Rules

  • Download the SFDC Restaurant Bingo Card.
  • Make a qualifying purchase at five restaurants in a row to win Bingo! These can be vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.
  • A qualifying purchase consists of spending $10 or more at participating restaurants.
  • Proof of purchase must be sent to events@sfdc.org to verify a Bingo win.
  • Once a win has been verified, the winner will be entered into a raffle for the chance to win either a $50 or $100 gift card (three winners will be chosen through the raffle).
  • The first person to blackout the Restaurant Bingo card will win a $100 gift card.
  • The last day to submit Bingo cards for verification is April 11, 2022.
  • Tag SFDC on Facebook and Instagram so it can track and share your progress.