In May of 2015, the Nighttime Economy Ad Hoc Committee set to work trying to figure out how to make Loudoun a place where the next generation wants to live, work and play.
Committee leaders said Loudoun’s previous economic development strategies have served it well. For a time, office parks, data centers, suburbs, and proximity to the Metro buoyed its economy.
But NEAC co-chairmen Todd Pearson and Tony Howard say the
millennial generation doesn’t want to live in a suburb and commute to an office park. Research shows that millenials, who in 2015 became the majority of the American workforce, are flocking instead to places that allow them to integrate their work and home lives that allow them to socialize and connect.
So NEAC was created to figure out how Loudoun can keep up. On Monday evening, Pearson, Howard, and other NEAC members unveiled the first draft of their plan at BLVD in Loudoun Station in Ashburn and took suggestions from the public. Eighty-four people crowded into the room to take part.
“We found that this is about much more than what happens at night,” Howard said.
Their recommendations touch a wide range of topics, from public safety to transportation to entertainment. They recommend things like arts, entertainment and culture districts; diverse and affordable housing options; urban, walkable environments; and multimodal transportation, which means opening up options such as riding a bus and cycling to get from place to place.
Committee members also walked away with a few new ideas after speaking with people at the event.
Scott Loftis, of the panel’s public space and amenities subcommittee,
said people bemoaned the lack of outdoor spaces for concerts and for teenagers, and the lack of international-themed evenings and events.
“One of the things that they said was that nothing stays open late around here,” said Kristopher Diemar from the entertainment subcommittee. People recommended to him changes in noise ordinances to allow more live music.
“Affordability is critical, not just at the basic level, but at multiple price points and the style and type of housing that people want to buy,” said Chauvon Mcfadden from the housing diversity and affordability subcommittee.
As of Monday night, 971 people had taken an online survey from the committee. That survey will be online collecting answers through Friday.
To see NEAC’s draft recommendations and take the survey, go to loudoun.gov/nighttime-economy.