How Much Have We Lost?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Welcome to the Dixie Pig

On November 3, 2009, I was lucky enough to be elected to the Virginia House of Delegates after a hard-fought campaign. Although I have lived in this community my entire life, I learned a lot about the 44th District and this community so I created this blog to talk about my experience and issues of concern to the 44th District.

After setting up my Blogger account, I needed to come up with a name. That was easy. Back when Fairfax County had 40,000 residents and 2,000 square miles of dairy farms, when U.S. 1 was The Road to Richmond, and Beacon Mall was an airport on the highest hill for miles around, there was a sign at the corner of Beacon Hill Road and U.S. 1 with a happy dancing pig emblazoned with neon lights featuring "Air Conditioning" and The Dixie Pig - a reliable presence on Beacon Hill for 50 years.
Courtesy of Greg Willis
Image Courtesy of Greg Willis

The Dixie Pig was my grandmother's favorite restaurant. Granny always ordered her old standby, especially after her hearing went bad, a B.L.T. and "a Bud." The Dixie Pig was definitely a place where you could get a B.L.T. and a Bud.

When I was a kid, U.S. 1 was laden with its old quirky drinking holes - Hillbilly Heaven in Lorton, Jim's Country Club in Woodlawn, or The Belvoir Grill in Pohick (Fairfax's Finest had other names for these establishments). U.S. 1 had the only remaining duckpin bowling alley in the Commonwealth at Penn Daw, the only Krispy Kreme at Kings Crossing, a year-round flea market called the Thieves' Market in Hybla Valley, and one of the few drive in movie theatres in Fairfax County at Gum Springs. U.S. 1 was a very quirky and unique place. This great article says it all. It's about one man's quest to find the old Dixie Pig sign and perfectly summarizes Route 1 around the time I graduated college.

Since then, things have changed. Many of the old trouble spots are gone along with the 40's-era motor lodges and in 1996, The Dixie Pig was bulldozed for a Rite Aid. U.S. 1 has been invaded by a dozen new drug stores, banks, and the occasional big box store. The Thieves Market has been redeveloped into a California-style mall. However, our local supervisors complain that banks, drug stores, and big box stores are the only development they can attract to U.S. 1 as compared to the mixed use projects or office buildings sprouting up in Arlington, Tyson's Corner, Reston and western Fairfax County. The larger question is why?

The closing of Lorton Prison and development south of Fort Belvoir has turned the bottlenecks along U.S. 1 into a parking lots. Increased property values have compressed large families into smaller spaces. The recession has unemployment and poverty on the rise. Increased school populations are resulting in a proliferation of trailers. Demand for Head Start is up. Longtime elderly residents are looking for support to continue living independently in our community.

The lack of a modern transportation infrastructure has hindered redevelopment, job growth, and quality of life. Proposed school budget cuts brought on by a recession and the prospect of 14,000 new jobs + an $800,000,000 hospital coming online next year just south and west in Ft. Belvoir have people even more concerned with increasing traffic and its effect on our quality of life. After knocking 8,000 doors, I can tell you that people are restless, looking for action, and an end to the obstruction from Richmond that our representatives have battled for a decade or more.

It is time to invest in our community - in it's infrastructure and in its people. It is time to talk about real solutions to these problems not gimmicks. As I said in my campaign, it is time to fight for our share.

I look forward to representing the citizens of the 44th District as we all work to make our community a better place. Thank you for giving me a chance to represent this community and help make our community a better place. I won't let you down.

3 comments:

  1. Scott, I remember the Dixie Pig. Thanks for the great reminder!

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  2. I used to go to the Dixie Pig with my grandparents, and my great aunt worked there for a time. I miss the old place, and love the fact that you've chosen the name for your blog.

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  3. I remember those places.my grandfather went to Dixie pig bought pork BBQ and my mother went to hillbilly heaven every weekend

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