With 12 years under his belt, Joseph J. Cararda is retiring from the town's Architectural Review Board (ARB) and Heritage Preservation Review Board (HPRB) in June. A 29-year Herndon resident, Camarda has served as chairman of the ARB since 1996.
"Joe's technical knowledge was invaluable during the design phase of the downtown municipal center complex — one of the most ambitious capital projects ever undertaken by the town," said Herndon Mayor Richard Thoesen, announcing Camarda's retirement. "His extensive experience as an architect helped ensure development of high quality structures that reflect the heritage of Herndon and the vision of the downtown."
When it was built, the municipal center, a $16 million project, helped begin the revitalization of downtown Herndon. The project encompassed the design and construction phases for the municipal center, council chambers, Town Green and Herndon Fortnightly Library.
"That was my most satisfying time — the Herndon Municipal Center and the subsequent work on the Herndon Town Council Chambers," Camarda said. "That was a very interesting project because ARB was asked to be more involved as advisors to Town Council and to provide help. I really enjoyed working with architect Tim Cooper."
WHENEVER HE WALKS past the downtown buildings, Camarda can't help but feel a little tinge of pride. "Sure, there's a little certain piece of ownership there."
The mayor and council praised the outgoing chairman for his hands-on experience with historic renovations and his willingness to share his knowledge with applicants. With new large-scale capital projects on the historic downtown's horizon, including a proposed Cultural Arts Center, and ongoing improvements to existing homes in the heritage district, the mayor and council believe that having a licensed architect is critical for the two groups.
Camarda, a licensed architect with the firm of Architecture, Inc. in Reston, is not quitting his "day job," but he does have some advice for his would-be successor. "Keep in mind that you are there to help people," he said. "You are more than a governing board, you are also there to assist people."
He also admitted that he will be paying attention to the fate of the "Old Yellow House" next to the Green Brothers funeral home. "I am concerned about the ultimate survivability of the Yellow House," he said. "It is a strong piece of the constitution of the heritage of the this town."
WITH HIS TERM UP in June, Camarda felt it was a good time to "explore new things." He said there are other things I want to try. "I think it's good to try new things," he said. "Otherwise you are going to get stale."
With his weeknights of lengthy and sometimes "distressful" ARB meetings soon to be a thing of the past, Camarda says he is looking forward to pursuing ice skating and drawing.
Camarda will be recognized with a Town Resolution expressing appreciation for his service to the community at the Town Council public hearing on June 10.