Mark Tonkovic is a natural steward of his community. He has lived in the Culmore/Bailey’s Crossroads neighborhood since childhood and is affectionately known as the “mayor.” He quietly volunteers many hours to improve the quality of life for young and aging residents in the Aura Heights community. Mark keeps a watchful eye on his neighbors, assisting whenever needed, from helping with computer glitches to solving parking problems, and everything in between.

Mark never hesitates to assist others who may not have the means, language ability, or knowledge to seek assistance from local or state government agencies. When over-parking on neighborhood streets presented access challenges for his aging neighbors, Mark went to work on expanding the existing Culmore Residential Permit Parking District (RPPD) to include several roads in Aura Heights. He spent seven years working with neighbors along both sides of the roads until they all met the RPPD acceptance requirements.  

When aggressive driving and stop sign violations in his neighborhood became a daily occurrence, Mark collaborated with local police enforcement to stem it, improving pedestrian safety within and beyond his neighborhood. To further improve pedestrian safety and to also deter crime, Mark collaborated with Virginia Department of Transportation staff to cut back vegetation blocking street lights from illuminating roads and sidewalks. He has already volunteered to collect signatures from Culmore property owners for a new project to install additional street lights for safety.

“Mark provides guidance to neighbors who seek it, or assistance when needed, to address and resolve the challenges of daily life. He is one example of a “hyper-local” community champion, who stayed in the area where he grew up, and continues to be a dedicated steward of his community.”