Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Friday, February 18, 2011

Remembering Dave Edwards, Reston Patch, February 18, 2011, by John Lovaas

Reston resident had longtime impact on the community.

The year after receiving his master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina, Dave Edwards moved to Reston.  That was 1967.  He involved himself in his community and making it a better place from the beginning.

Edwards, who died on Thursday of cancer at age 73,  played in key role in that shaping Reston in its earliest formative years and was back playing a vital role recently as Reston enters a period of urban expansion.

Edwards made his living working for Fairfax County, first as a county planner where his work included developing the county’s first comprehensive plan for the Upper Potomac Planning District, including Reston.  Subsequently, he worked as Executive Director of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.  His work included bringing to Reston dozens of businesses that made this their home.

Meanwhile, he helped to organize and energize the new Reston Citizens Association, created in 1967 to protect the Robert Simon’s founding vision following his firing by Gulf Oil Corporation.   Edwards served on the RCA Board from 1968 to 1972, service that included chairing RCA’s Planning and Zoning Committee.

In this capacity, he worked to develop the agreements with Fairfax County establishing the P & Z as the recognized voice of the community in reviewing proposed new development.  Previously, development proposals went directly to the county staff and elected officials with very limited community input.  In those years, P & Z was a highly professional group that developers took seriously and whose recommendations were usually accepted by the county.  It is hard to overstate the importance of this function and its impact over the last 40-plus years.  Edwards was a principal architect of this key institution.

In the early 1970s, Dave joined the Ad Hoc Committee to plan and design the Reston Community Center.  This committee later became the new center’s first Board of Governors.  As a member of the Ad Hoc Committee, it was Edwards who conceived the financing mechanism for the center, the creation of Small Tax District No. 5.

The Reston Community Center was established in 1979 and has expanded to Lake Anne. It serves thousands of Reston citizens of all income levels with a wide array of cultural, recreational and educational programs.   We can, and should, thank Dave Edwards for his crucial role in shaping both its physical plant and the inclusive philosophy which still governs it today.

Over the years, Edwards played scores of other roles serving Reston with no thought of personal reward.  As a volunteer for Reston Association, he provided input into the planning for South Lakes High School;  served on the Reston Metro Access Group (RMAG); served on the RA Election Committee, 2004-2010; and, served as member and vice chair of the RA's Transportation Committee.  He was selected as RCA's 2010 Citizen of the Year.

Most recently, Edwards  was an active participant in preparing a new master plan for Reston, a plan to guide development for a generation and to convert Reston from a suburban to urban community.  He was a dynamic force within the citizens Reston 2020 group providing skilled, experienced input focused on assuring that Reston’s future development is up to his high standards for excellence in design and quality of life.

Edwards is survived by his beloved wife of 43 years, Abbie Edwards; son Bob Edwards of Smithfield, VA; son Brian Edwards of Waynesboro, VA; son Marc Edwards of Philadelphia, PA; daughter Julie Edwards of Charlotte, NC; eight grandchildren; and one great grandson.

A memorial service will be held March 12 at 2 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston.

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