Meyer Campaign Calls for More High-Revenue Projects
Projects like Marriott could fund city improvements.
Council member David Meyer wants to take advantage of a change in city leadership and a recovering economy to revitalize Fairfax Boulevard.
He's spent the last two months knocking on doors and talking with voters in his campaign for a third term on the council. He hopes his "eye-contact sport" approach to campaigning will pay off on May 1.
"I feel like there have been moments when I've really made a difference [on the council]," Meyer said. "It's one of those things where you have to be at the right place at the right time to hear someone say the right thing. Good decisions can come from that."
His campaign focuses on the more immediate steps the council can take to improve Fairfax City. Meyer believes a new mayor and a slowly improving economy are in the city's favor.
"With the change in leadership and change in the economy there's a renewed interest in new approaches to economic development," he said.
Meyer emphasizes Fairfax Boulevard, the main money-maker for commercial revenue, as key to kick-starting the city. He wants to get started right away on strategic projects that will generate revenue and have just the right density, size and scale to make businesses successful without encroaching on neighborhoods.
Take the new Residence Inn/Marriott at Chain Bridge Road and Fairfax Boulevard for example. Staff estimates says that project will bring in more than $400,000 a year in city revenue, he said.
"We need anywhere from 20-40 of those kinds of projects in the city to make a significant impact on revenue that will allow us to pursue initiatives like protecting our streams, stormwater maintenance, infrastructure, paving and staff compensation."
It's not something that can happen overnight. Fairfax Boulevard projects require buy-in from property owners (there's quite a few) and plenty of planning. But that's all the more reason to start now, he said.
"Projects like these will put the city in a new trendline that will allow us to maintain excellent services, create new spaces for commercial and residential, and pave the way for a new generation of residents," he said.
Meyer wants to start working on the Northfax project as early as this year. He is also in favor of the commercial surcharge that funded the widening of Route 50 near Jermantown Road.
Though the size and scope of development projects will differ based on their locations, they will have a few things in common. All will emphasize a variety of transportation options (walk, bus, bike) as well as open spaces meant to cater to people instead of cars.
"No solution is 'right,'" he said. "We try to get best solution we can given challenges we have to work through."