I was present at the Town Council meeting where the 2011 Council voted to NOT allocate any further funding for the Visitor’s Center, even thought mid-year budget request by the Visitor’s Center had been funded by previous councils on a regular basis. And even though a line item in the Fairfax County budget specifically named the Herndon Dulles Visitor’s as the recipient of $40,000. Councilwoman Hutchinson, who was at that time acting as an unpaid volunteer Director for the Center specifically asked the Town Manager if the funds coming from the County were ear-marked for the Visitor’s Center, to which the town manager responded that once the money came to Herndon it could be used as the Town saw fit. That was an answer that troubled me deeply.
With the vote of the sitting council, the Visitor’s Center was denied County and Town support and Visitor’s Center board was forced to shut down for lack of funding. This decision by the Council was diametrically opposed by prior councils actions to support the Center and its efforts to promote economic development and tourism for the Town over the past decade.
Within two months the grant money from the County was released to the Town and I thought the Visitor’s Center would re-open, controlled by the Town, however, that is NOT the case.
The $40,000 from the County that had been ear-marked for the Visitor’s Center was placed in the Town’s general fund and allocated to hire a consultant to develop an economic development ‘strategy’ for the Town.
Dennis L Baughan