By Roger Vance
We are making history on July 1 in Hillsboro. We are also making our future. And that is something to celebrate indeed.
But more than that, as we celebrate our nation’s birth and pay tribute to our democracy on this day, we are holding high an example of good governance—when a grassroots vision for the future was perceived and embraced by politicians and officials at the federal, state, regional, county and local levels.
It’s an inspiring story that reflects a facet of the notion of “government of the people, for the people and by the people.” That our government can work, and often can work well.
In today’s climate that is seemingly saturated with political discord, when the lack of civility has become far too often the norm, there is a different story to tell in Hillsboro.
How did one of Virginia’s smallest towns, with a volunteer government, work tirelessly for two decades to address its road and infrastructure problems? How did officials at all levels of government decide to come to the table to seek a solution? And how did a regional board charged with solving some of the nation’s most intractable transportation challenges become intrigued with a seemingly distant rural project and, in the end, champion it?
When we as a town and a region come together Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m., we’ll be recognizing this achievement as we mark a day to remember for generations to come as the beginning of our future. The future of a place with a long history that we cherish. A long history that informs and shapes our future.
This Sunday, we’ll honor our past and take a glimpse at our future, a future much more certain than ever with the announcement made June 14 of critical funding from the regional Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. Not only will the town celebrate its Independence Day the Hillsboro Way, it will formally mark this seminal juncture in its 270-year history. With a ceremonial groundbreaking, Hillsboro will usher in transformational changes that will recapture and restore its historical essence while recasting its present and ensuring its future.
The event will mark the beginning of the town’s major road and infrastructure project that will reclaim Hillsboro’s “Main Street”—Historic Charles Town Pike—and reassert the town’s traditional role as the center of an economically vibrant rural community.
At the heart of the project is an elegant traffic management “system” that will mitigate congestion, reduce speeds and provide pedestrian safety. The creation of safe pedestrian and multi-modal access will reinvigorate the Town’s sense of place and enhance the quality of life for area residents. Simultaneously, this long-sought project will bring relief to the thousands of regional residents who must travel through Hillsboro to and from their work daily by significantly lessening congestion and reducing delays.
Also worthy of celebration is this extraordinary example of good governance and commonsense cooperation across jurisdictions that allowed this project to become a reality despite significant challenges. Creative thinking and the willingness to challenge ingrained orthodoxy created opportunities that will result in a high level of efficiency and cost savings. The foresight and resoluteness of past and present county officials has been key to an overarching strategy that has supported, leveraged and coordinated multiple critical infrastructure projects—common sense that will deliver extraordinary time and cost savings.
After nearly 20 years, how did this come to happen? How did this road, this project, come to unite? A common goal. A shared vision. Plenty of hard work. Talented teams of designers and engineers. Trustworthy and generous partners.
And a commitment that no challenge is too hard, no hurdle too high to overcome when people choose to work together.
Like our country’s journey to democracy, Hillsboro joyfully celebrates and honors today, our past and our future. We honor our leaders who choose to govern well and serve the needs of their citizens
On Sunday Hillsboro can be proud. We can all be proud.
Roger Vance is the mayor of Hillsboro. His column, A View From The Gap, is published monthly in Loudoun Now. The public is invited to join the groundbreaking ceremony Sunday, July 1 at 3 p.m. at the Hillsboro Old Stone School.