As an independent city, Falls Church is a special place in the heart of Northern Virginia. We are at the historic crossroads of Route 7 and Route 29, a place where history, commerce and community thrive.
Marybeth and her husband, Michael, moved to Falls Church in 1995. Their children, Brian, Andrew & Julie, are Falls Church lifers. They didn't expect to stay in Falls Church this long, but they can't imagine a better place to live.
In the 22 years that the Connellys have lived here, Falls Church and Northern Virginia have undergone enormous change and development. To be sustainable, our city needs to be part of this continuing regional growth. We also need to maintain our unique identity as an independent city. As a member of City Council Marybeth is committed to making sure that Falls Church is growing and thriving, while maintaining our friendly, accessible neighborhoods.
Public Education is at the Heart of Falls Church
Falls Church City was founded in 1949 because citizens valued education. They wanted to create a special place where public education would contribute to a thriving community.
Strong schools are a vital element in Falls Church. It is the responsibility of City Council to provide funding for school programs that is adequate to ensure top notch programs, staff and facilities. It hasn't always been easy, but it has always been worth it.
Marybeth is a strong proponent of collaboration with all stakeholders, including School Board, community members, businesses owners, city employees, and our nearby neighbors in Fairfax, Arlington, University of Virginia & Virginia Tech.
I'm a fan of GMHS FIRSTRobotics team #1418 Vae Victis.
Economic Development is Key to our City's Sustainability
A real city has residential, commercial, non-profit, and private interests - all working together to support our citizens. Falls Church has a strong and dedicated business community. Locally-owned businesses, regional chains, and national brands are all essential elements in our city.
Historically the ratio of commercial to residential property in Falls Church has been skewed towards residential. The City Council has been working hard to adjust that ratio so that more of our city's tax revenue is derived from commercial growth. Economic Development in the past 10 years has brought in $3.8 Million net revenue, keeping 9 cents out of the tax rate.
In addition to revenue, mixed use buildings help Falls Church become a Place. When Marybeth moved to Falls Church in 1995 the Spectrum (Mad Fox, Panera, SuperCuts, Moby Dick, Core Power Yoga, My Thrive Pilates, Sweet Frog, Beadazzled) was an unkempt field surrounded by chain link fence. We've got a bustling Maple Ave. sidewalk near Happy Tart, PIzzeria Orso & Creative Cauldron (and soon to be a Target and more businesses.) Thy Byron (Plaka Grill, Penzey's Spices, Blue Nectar Yoga, Jazzercise) was a stand-alone Red Lobster with a large surface parking lot. The Kensington (Falls Church Arts & soon-to-be cafe) was a decrepit Burger King with a large surface parking lot.
Marybeth believes that when done right, mixed-use development works. Not all projects are perfect, but they keep getting better, and we've learned many lessons to make the next project even better.
Mixed use is an important part of the mix that will sustain Falls Church.
People Make Our City Strong
The role of the City Council is to facilitate the creation of Falls Church as a special place where people want to live, work, shop, learn and play. Falls Church should be a city for families, young people, retirees, immigrants and multiple generations.
Marybeth believes that Falls Church should have facilities and services that unite people to form a community, and provide opportunities for all to be involved.
Our parks, schools, bike paths, sidewalks, businesses and neighborhoods are the places where people meet and form strong bonds making Falls Church a great place to be.
Northern Virginia and the DC Metro area are all growing, and Falls Church needs to embrace this growth and lead the way.
We Are Still Making History in Falls Church
The first known Falls Church settlement dates to 1699 when a cabin with Big Chimneys was located on the Rolling Road. It was a trading settlement. The Rolling Road was one of the first improved roads in colonial times. Enslaved people rolled barrels of tobacco from the Virginia plantations to the Alexandria port.
Since then history has happened right here. It is up to us to decide what kind of history we will make. These are just a few of the events that happened here:
1781 Andrew Ellicott and Benjamin Banneker surveyed the boundary of Washington, DC. Part of this boundary now delineates Falls Church.
1801 Thomas Jefferson stopped at Wren's Tavern in Falls Church on the journey from Monticello to Washington for his inauguration.
1861 First aerial reconaissance mission in US military history took place in Falls Church when Thaddeus Lowe raised his hot air balloon with the permission of Abraham Lincoln
1912 The residents of Tinner Hill joined together to fight a segregation ordinance passed by the Town Council. The organization they started became the first rural branch of the NAACP.
1940s During and after World War II, housing was built and paid for throught the GI Bill for those who served.
1970s Refugees from Vietnam settled in Falls Church and Eden Center became a gathering place. It is the largest Asian shopping center on the East Coast.
For the past 22 years Marybeth has been involved in the Falls Church community. She has been employed by Falls Church City Public Schools since 2005, and was elected to City Council in 2013.
Marybeth ran for City Council because she wanted to ensure that the people who are "doing" things in Falls Church by volunteering and participating, are represented in the decision-making for the City.
As a Council member she has served as liaison to numerous Boards & Commissions, and represented Falls Church on Regional bodies.
Her volunteer service and membership include:
Village Preservation & Improvement Society
Citizens for a Better City
League of Women Voters
Falls Church Education Foundation
Elementary, Middle and High School PTA and Boosters