As much as some people fear change, human beings have an enormous capacity for adapting to their environment. Some argue that this is fundamental to being human, as opposed to some other species. Other animals are helpless to cope with adverse conditions, but we humans have the capacity to adjust and modify. How else could anyone tolerate living in some place like Minneapolis?
With the historic final approvals given by the Falls Church City Council to two new, large-scale mixed use projects Monday night, each promising a large grocery store and a combined over 500 residential units within just a handful of blocks from one another, the fear quotient among a number of residents rose considerably in the recent months leading up to Monday’s votes.
This was considerably verbalized by those living or doing business near to the new locations. Potential upsides of the projects were dimmed as fears of change, of inconveniences and all sorts of potential dangers went into overdrive.
Certainly the more rational among them offered thoughtful and useful correctives to both of the plans, and they were generally incorporated. And there will be some inconveniences, foreseen and not yet foreseen. For example, none of the new projects built in the last dozen years in Falls Church can be hailed for their great parking arrangements. The spaces are too cramped and so on.
But that brings us to another point. Thinking back a dozen years, the Falls Church of today would hardly be recognizable, especially along its main Rt. 29 and Rt. 7 commercial corridors. Who remembers what was, for the longest time, in the 400 block of W. Broad, where the Spectrum, Mad Fox, Panera and the plaza now sit? Yes, that was a bumpy empty field, a pot-hole marked slab of asphalt, and an unimproved old building. Not that long ago, either.
Then there is the 500 block of West Broad, where the Broadway now proudly stands. It was another eyesore, an abandoned old gas station and the ancient so-called “AdCom Building” that lay empty for more than a decade.
Across the street was a massive asphalt parking lot with a seafood joint in the middle where the Byron now stands. There was nothing where the Flower Building now is, an old school auto repair shop where the Read Building now stands, an old funeral home where the Northgate project is now under construction on N. Washington, and a couple old two-story houses where the Hilton Garden Inn is now rising out of the ground.
Falls Church has absorbed, indeed thrived as a result of, all these changes, all made in the last dozen years. In 2000, all the old stuff was still there where the new stuff now is.
So, in a few years, the Harris Teeter and all the rest will seem like they’ve been here forever, too. We’ve seen all this happen, and it’s clear to us it’s all been for the better.