Columnist: Reston is a 'Soulless Ant Colony'

Norfolk columnist takes a jab at Reston and the citizens who may or may not want a Reston license plate. What do you think?

Virginian-Pilot columnist Kerry Dougherty probably didn't set out to take a potshot at Reston this week.

In looking through some of the hundreds of bills on the docket in the 2012 Virginia General Assembly, it's own "Work, Live, Play" license plate.

"Even this session's license-plate proposals are yawn-inducing," wrote Dougherty. "Although you have to wonder who will want to zip around with this on his car: 'Reston! Live Work Play.' Be honest, is there a more soulless spot in the commonwealth than that bland ant colony near Dulles?"

Say what? Soulless ant colony? Says who? Not Tom Jackman's State of NoVa blog. Jackman points out that Norfolk, where the Virginian-Pilot is based, has averaged 37.5 homicides per year  there since 2000.

"That’s a lot less souls, after all the shooting stops," Jackman writes. 


Reston has more than 50,000 souls (and only one murder in 2011), and I would venture to guess many - even most - souls  don't consider it an ant colony. If it were, it would be an ant colony with lakefront views, granite counters and recreational amenities.

Come on, columnist lady.

We've got public art and a Mercury Fountain. Not bland. A quirky-but-wise founder coming up on his 98th birthday. I saw him out last night drinking a glass of wine. Not bland. Dougherty needs to spend an afternoon on a deck boat on Lake Thoreau. No, no, no, not bland. Heck, at the Farmers Market. That's soul!

Has she ever read the comments section on Patch when one brings up the schools or whether Reston needs a third Chipotle or an indoor tennis place? Not bland (but could be called first-world problems, for sure).

In any case, do you agree with Dougherty? Perhaps you do feel like you are  stuck in a soulless ant colony? Or maybe you are enjoying an ahead-of-its-time New Town and are pretty pleased, regardless of whether you want a Reston license plate?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Oh, and if you want to reach out   directly, send an e-postcard from the ant colony to kerry.dougherty@cox.net.

Marilyn Davis January 16, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Marilyn I moved to Reston in 1978 and spent many wonderful years there until 2007. My son was raised there and still has many friends that he keeps in touch with, even though he no longer lives in this area. I always felt as if I was a cheerleader for Reston, having spent many years watching all the development around me, especially Town Center. Due to circumstances I moved to Fairfax in 2007, and am now planning to move back this summer. The first thing I will do is put in my order for a license plate!
Uncle Smartypants January 16, 2012 at 03:43 PM
I think she must have been refering to the Reston Town Center. I live, work and play in Reston and I love it, but the RTC is a play-it-safe, corporate, stodgy, faux-Disney downtown that is not only soulless, but heartless. There are a couple of pockets of cool: the Jackson's-MonAmiGabi-Passionfish Axis of Awesome, the skating rink, but other than that, the architecture, the stores, and the restaurants are about as soulful as the average suburban mall.
Myron Rosmarin January 19, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I love Reston. Anyone I know who lives here or has lived here loves Reston too. But I really have no desire to convince Kerry Dougherty that there a 1,001 reasons why Reston is awesome. I really would prefer if she didn't know so that she never comes here. I'm afraid she'll ruin it for me.
Helen Dunn January 19, 2012 at 05:12 PM
This columnist should do her homework. Check out the Reston Museum in Lake Anne for the history of Reston. One of its founding principles was Diversity. In the sixties it was one of the few communities where people with "soul" were welcomed. With no fair housing law, Reston declared itself to be an "Open Community" which threatened the funding for its development. Adherence to that principle represents more moral courage in the face of economic pressure than you are likely to find in other communities
Bill Burton January 20, 2012 at 02:49 AM
From a diversity standpoint, I am very proud of our town. In fact, some of my best friends are ants.


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