Arlington is preparing to demolish the old Arlington Mill Community Center to make way for a brand new community center in 2013.
Due to some expected minor disruptions, Arlington County staff will be presenting information about the demolition plan at a public meeting
next week. Update at 1/3 — The meeting has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 4 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Greenbrier Baptist Church (5401 7th Road South).
In case you can’t make it, here’s an executive summary:
- No explosives will be used in the demolition, which will begin in January
- No road closures are expected
- Traffic and transit on Columbia Pike will not be affected
- Pedestrian access will be maintained on surrounding streets
- The demolition will take 30 to 45 days, weather permitting
- Debris from the site will be hauled from South Dinwiddie Street to Columbia Pike to South Four Mile Run Drive
- Construction on the new Arlington Mill Center is expected to begin in the spring
- Another informational meeting will be held regarding the construction plan
After all, every taxpayer in Arlington knows that our famously progressive county probably pays employees more than anyone else in the region, right?
Arlington is, in fact, still playing catchup with Fairfax and Alexandria compensation-wise, County Manager Barbara Donnellan told a group of Arlington County Civic Federation delegates Tuesday night.
Donnellan cited a study released last year which determined that while employee benefits were on par with Fairfax and Alexandria, Arlington’s two biggest competitors in the job market, employee salaries lagged in more than half the job categories examined.
Another such study will be conducted next year.
Donnellan said that Arlington will likely continue to grant merit-based step increases to employees in the upcoming budget. That, she said, should help Arlington compete with Fairfax, which has frozen step increases. Like Arlington, however, Alexandria is still granting pay raises.
“Overall, we’re trying to maintain competitiveness,” Donnellan said. Comparisons to the private sector and to similar jurisdictions in other parts of the country are generally not helpful, Donnellan said, because the county is drawing from a different pool of potential job applicants.
Out of some 70 prospective applicants for a significant number of police vacancies (perhaps 20 to 30), only four were ultimately hired after a battery of physical and mental tests.
“Four doesn’t cut it,” Donnellan said, adding that more public safety recruiting classes will be necessary. In other job categories, she said, hiring is a mixed bag.
“We had a hiring freeze for two years, so when we do open up a job, we get a lot of applicants who are applying for it,” she said. “Are they the best and the brightest and fit exactly with the experience that we’re looking for? Not always. But we certainly have been able to capture some people in this downtime that are looking for a more stable environment to work in.”
The new Buffalo Wild Wings in Crystal City (at 23rd Street and Crystal Drive) held an employee orientation session for a couple dozen new hires last night.
During the orientation, the glow from the galaxy of overhead flat screen TVs illuminated a relatively wide open, comfortable-looking space. The decor looked a bit more sleek than your standard, suburban Buffalo Wild Wings location. The huge floor-to-ceiling windows facing the street also helped to add a more urban feel.
An employee coming out of the orientation revealed that the restaurant’s opening date has been pushed back. Instead of opening on Monday, as originally planned, the restaurant is now expected to open to the public on Thursday, Dec. 16, he said.
There is a stop sign missing on the on-ramp from Courthouse Road to eastbound Route 50, causing a serious traffic hazard.
Police are currently on scene directing traffic, according to police radio transmissions. Before police arrived, cars were heading straight through the T intersection, where Courthouse Road traffic heading onto Route 50 normally yields to eastbound Route 50 traffic exiting onto the ramp.
No word on how the stop sign went missing or whether it caused any accidents. A new stop sign is expected to be installed shortly.
(Updated at 10:25 a.m.) Nearly 300 Dominion customers are without power in Crystal City and Pentagon City this morning.
The outage is due to scheduled work to replace an underground cable along Crystal Drive, according Dominion spokesperson Le-Ha Anderson. Power should be restored by 4:00 this afternoon, she said.
In addition to buildings, the power outage is also affecting traffic lights in the area. We’re hearing that the traffic lights are dark at the intersections of 15th Street South underneath Jefferson Davis Highway and
15th Street South and Hayes Street (since restored).
Paisano’s “offers true gourmet pizza, using the finest, most expensive ingredients available,” says the chain’s web site. “Taste the difference for yourself, and find out why Paisano’s has become the top choice of selective pizza-cravers across the Northern Virginia area!”
In addition to pizza, Paisano’s offers pasta, subs, strombolis, wings and desserts.
Owned and operated by James Madison University alum Fouad Qureitem, Paisano’s has been expanding quickly in Northern Virginia. Locations in Tysons, Burke, Springfield and Vienna are all listed under the “coming soon” section of the web site, in addition to the six existing locations.
The chain has plans to eventually expand nationally, according to a 2009 Washington Business Journal article.
No official word on when the restaurant might open, but we project it could be open as soon as this summer.
Update at 1:20 p.m. — Paisano’s is applying for a beer delivery permit for the new location, a potentially unique service for this section of Arlington.
Update on 3/23/12 — This project has been delayed, according to Arlington County.
Virginia Highlands Park is in line to get the county’s most elaborate sprayground park yet.
The spiral-shaped park takes elements of Arlington’s existing sprayground parks, as well as elements from other water parks around the country. It will be located in a corner of the park, near the volleyball and basketball courts.
As planned right now, the park will feature water cannons, buckets that fill and dump water on anyone below them, mini waterfalls, small pools of water for play, bubblers, interactive locks and dams, jumping water jets and a boulder wall dividing the active and passive play areas in the park. The boulder wall will also provide a place to sit during the off-season.
The sprayground will be partially bordered by a rain garden, which will benefit from the park’s runoff. Other excess water would be directed to a large underground tank, which could then be used for irrigation or for the park’s toilets.
Funding for the park is still in question. An official who gave a presentation to the Aurora Highlands Civic Association last night suggested that the construction could be paid for with Neighborhood Conservation funds while the county tries to secure other funding.
If all goes according to plan, the park will be open in time for Memorial Day 2012. (Sprayground parks are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Recently park hours were reduced, but it sounds like the county is confident that normal hours will be restored by 2012.)
The Quarterdeck Restaurant has been saved.
Owner Lou Gatti, who suddenly announced last month that the 31-year-old seafood restaurant would be closing, now says the Fort Myer Heights institution will, in fact, remain open.
The dramatic reversal, sure to please legions of local crab lovers and dive bar enthusiasts, is due to a breakthrough in the restaurant’s lease negotiations, Gatti said in an email late last night.
For a while, it looked like we would have to close. This was finally settled today. We have another 15 year lease. It seems that the landlord, who has also been my friend for the last 15 years, and I had trouble reaching an agreement; it took 3 months. In retrospect, it reminds me more of a family disagreement; now, everything’s back to normal.
I want to thank all of you for the kind emails and the memories of the Quarterdeck you shared. Like you, I have always loved the Quarterdeck from my first visit, which was over 3 decades ago. The most moving story was from someone who lamented she would not be able to bring her children to the QD, as her parents had done with her.
Patrick Morrogh, a nine year veteran of the QD and a manager, will take over the day to day operations. I think the younger folks need to implement fresh ideas. At 62, I will still be in charge of something, but I don’t know what.
We will be updating our website: http://www.qdrest.com .
Thanks to all of you.
Planetarium Fundraising Now Exceeds $100K — The Friends of Arlington’s David M. Brown Planetarium group has now raised $120,000 to help fund renovations at the 40-year-old facility. The group is still far from its goal of raising $400,000 by summer 2011, but it is hoping to close the gap by landing a few major donations from local defense contractors. More from TBD.
Sharrows on Clarendon Boulevard – Arlington County is doing away with a bike lane between Courthouse Road and Rhodes Street on Clarendon Boulevard. In its place, the county is making the right-hand traffic lane a shared car/bike lane. Bikes should be able to keep up with traffic on the stretch of road, much of which is a steep downhill. More from WashCycle.
Ugly Holiday Sweater Party at EatBar — EatBar is throwing an ugly holiday sweater party, complete with spiked peppermint patty hot cocoa and a viewing of the 1983 classic A Christmas Story. The festive event will kick off at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 19. More from WCP Y&H.
Flickr pool photo by MichaelTRuhl