A controversial effort to get a bocce court built along the Bluemont Junction Trail has been shot down by Arlington’s parks department — for now.
Supporters wanted a 13′ by 50′ bocce court built along the trail, using $15,000 from a hoped-for Parks Enhancement Grant from the county and “sweat equity” from community members. The court would provide a fun and safe recreational opportunity to local residents young and old, supporters said.
Some who live in the neighborhood vehemently opposed the proposed bocce court, however, saying it would produce noise, trash, traffic and parking woes. Plus, opponents said, there were no public restrooms for bocce players along the trail.
At first, it seemed that Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) staff was supportive of the idea — disputing many bocce opponents’ objections in a letter to community members. But in March, DPR staff completed an evaluation of the bocce court proposal and concluded that the court should not be built along the trail in the neighborhood, but should be built in nearby Fields Park.
Furthermore, staff concluded that the court should be “standard sized” — 15.5′ by 76′. The cost to build such a court was estimated between $17,600 and $25,500, depending on the type of court surface used (staff preferred a more expensive but less maintenance-intensive synthetic surface). Either way, that brought the cost estimate above the $15,000 PEG grant limit.
“These costs do not include the cost of site work or the cost of additional amenities such as player’s benches or trash cans,” Arlington County Park and Recreation Commission Chairman Paul Holland wrote to bocce supporters. “Since the costs exceed the current PEG limits, a future PEG request will need to identify matching funds.”
But even if supporters wanted to reapply, another PEG grant might not be forthcoming in the near future. The grant program was not funded in the county’s upcoming 2014 fiscal year budget and consideration of new grant applications has been postponed indefinitely.
Bocce supporter and former Bluemont Civic Association President Judah dal Cais said he was disappointed that the parks department picked Fields Park for the location and 15.5′ by 76′ for the size, thus scuttling his application.
Registration Open for Bike to Work Day — Cyclists interested in participating in Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 17, can register online. There are three official pit stops in Arlington — Freshbikes in Ballston (3924 Wilson Blvd), Gateway Park in Rosslyn (1300 Lee Hwy) and Crystal City Water Park (1750 Crystal Drive). There will also be a stop in East Falls Church along the W&OD Trail near the intersection of Lee Hwy and N. Washington Street. Last year, a record 12,700 people in the D.C. area participated in the event.
Possibility of Another Record Low Year for Tax Delinquencies — If Arlington residents continue paying their taxes as expected, the county could experience another record low for its tax delinquency rate. Treasurer Frank O’Leary says the current delinquency rate is 0.397 percent, which is below the 0.47 percent for Fiscal Year 2012. FY 2012 had the lowest tax delinquency rate in recorded county history. [Sun Gazette]
Amnesty International 5K Run for Rights on Saturday — Amnesty International will be holding its first 5K Run for Rights at 8:00 a.m. this Saturday, March 30. The race begins at Bluemont Park. Online registration closes tonight (Thursday) at 7:00 p.m., but on-site registration will be offered on race day. More details are available on the event’s Facebook page.
The Kinhaven School 5K and Fun Run will take place at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 18. The event benefits Kinhaven School (4201-A N. Fairfax Drive), which is a parent run cooperative preschool founded in 1971.
The out-and-back course begins at Bluemont Park and takes runners west along the W&OD trail.
Ultramarathon champion Michael Wardian confirmed that he and his family will take part in the festivities, which include food, drinks and prizes. Participants receive a tech t-shirt and finisher ribbons made by the preschool students.
Registration is open online to the first 300 entrants, and the fee is $25 through today, increasing to $30 from tomorrow through race day. The fee will be $35 for on site registration the day of the race.
Sultana Grill will replace the former Castro’s Bakery location, which closed earlier this year, at 5515 Wilson Blvd. The new restaurant’s owners tell ARLnow.com that it will serve Mediterranean/Lebanese cuisine like kebabs, crepes, couscous, and baba ghanoush.
The owners are hoping to open the restaurant as soon as this coming Saturday (Oct. 13). As of Friday afternoon, work was still in progress on the interior of the eatery.
Youth Justice 5K on Sunday – Bluemont Park will be the scene of the first annual 5K Walk/Run for Justice on Sunday. The event will take place at noon and will raise money for Families and Allies of Virginia’s Youth, a nonprofit organization “dedicated to transforming the juvenile justice system in Virginia to one that is fair, effective and age-appropriate.” On-site registration is $25 and includes a free long-sleeved t-shirt. [DC Road Runners]
Arlington Fun Ride on Saturday — Phoenix Bikes is organizing a family-friendly 17-mile bike ride on Saturday. The Arlington Fun Ride will take riders on a leisurely bike tour of Arlington that will include stops in Crystal City, Ballston and Rosslyn. The ride will start at 8:00 a.m. and will begin and end at Phoenix Bikes (4200 S. Four Mile Run). There will also be a short children’s ride. The entry fee — $5 for individuals or $15 for families — will benefit Phoenix, a non-profit bike shop. Editor’s Note: The Arlington Fun Ride is an ARLnow.com advertiser. [Ode Street Tribune]
TNT Bar Launches Happy Hour — TNT Bar (2413 Columbia Pike) has started a happy hour. The bar, located in the back of the new Eamonn’s restaurant at Penrose Square, will offer four drink options — canned beer, a cocktail called “John Fosters punch,” and two varieties of wine — for $4. The happy hour lasts from 5:00 to 6:44 p.m.
The Reevesland Learning Center is a group of Bluemont, Boulevard Manor and Dominion Hills residents who want to convert the Reevesland property (at 400 N. Manchester Street, near Bluemont Park) to a center for learning about “the science and practice of growing and eating healthy foods and building relationships.”
The group has been trying for more than a year to convince Arlington County to embrace its vision for the farmhouse, which has remained mostly dormant since it was purchased by the county following the death of owner Nelson Reeves — Arlington’s last dairy farmer — in 2000.
Arlington County, however, has been seeking other ideas for the farmhouse, which it estimates is in need of more than $1 million worth of repairs and rehabilitation. Last month the county issued a Request for Proposals from any entity that wanted to use the property in exchange for paying for the rehab work.
In a new letter to members of the Arlington County Board, however, leaders of the Reevesland Learning Center group said that it has gotten more than 230 people to pledge more than 3,000 volunteer hours for a “Habitat for Humanity-style” rehabilitation of the farmhouse.
“This is an unprecedented demonstration of grassroots community support and civic engagement for the highest and best adaptive reuse of the farmhouse as the Reevesland Learning Center,” the group wrote.
No word yet on what other proposals the county might be considering at this point. See the full Reevesland Learning Center letter, after the jump.
Arlington County has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the historic Reeves Farmhouse.
The county is seeking an entity that wants to lease or license use of the farmhouse. In exchange, the entity would help restore the farmhouse, which might need more than $1 million worth of work.
The farmhouse (at 400 N. Manchester Street) and its 2.5 acres of land was purchased by the county from the Reeves family in 2001 for $1.8 million. The house itself, which overlooks Bluemont Park, dates back to 1899, according to a historical and architectural survey. The farm was “the last dairy farm to operate in Arlington and the centerpiece of the Reevesland Historic District in Bluemont Park,” according to the County.
Arlington says it’s looking for “adaptive reuse proposals” — in other words, ways to repurpose the farmhouse for use by an individual or organization. The cost of the rehabilitation of the farmhouse and any sort of “programming” in the farmhouse — ideas discussed by residents include a demonstration kitchen or a learning center — would be borne by the entity that submits a successful RFP. The county will retain ownership of the property.
“The local historic designation of the farmhouse by Arlington County has ensured that it will be preserved, but finding an appropriate adaptive reuse is the next step to keeping the structure usable for future generations,” the Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation said in an email.
Proposals are due by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 24.
The 2012 Bluemont 5K will start at 7 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) at the Belmont Park South Pavilion (399 N. Manchester Street).
The course is on both the Four Mile Run and Washington & Old Dominion trails and will wind back toward the South Pavilion. Online advance registration is open until 6 p.m. today (Monday) and is free for DC Road Runners members and $5 for non-members. On-site, day-of-race registration is $5 for members, $10 for non-members.
There will be free parking, but Metro riders can take one of the 1-series buses from from the Ballston Metro to Wilson Boulevard and N. Manchester Street.
Check out the race page at DC Road Runners for more information.
The 2nd Annual Turtle Trot 5K takes runners along the W&OD trail. Proceeds help with the rehabilitation of injured local turtles and wildlife, and with providing shelter until they can be released back into the wild. Some money also goes toward educational programs at Long Branch Nature Center.
Following the race, the whole family can enjoy educational booths, games and displays, some of which feature live animals. Onlookers can also cheer on the stars of the “real turtle race.”
The 5K starts close to the picnic pavilion in lower Bluemont Park, near Wilson Blvd and N. Manchester Street. Sign up can be done online through Friday, or on location starting at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday. The race begins at 10:00 a.m.
The W&OD trail will not be closed during the race, so runners must share the trail. Others who plan to use the trail at that time are encouraged to be patient and be mindful of runners.
For more information, call 703-228-6535.
Registration is now open for Saturday Morning Footy, which kicks off on June 16 in Bluemont Park. The free program runs for six weeks, and is open to boys and girls ages 5-15. Kids will be divided up for different activities based on age.
The sessions will teach basic rules of the game and work on honing skills. Younger kids will participate in non-contact footy games and older kids will play tag games. Parents are also able to participate in many of the activities.
The program’s website says footy is the most popular sport in Australia, and describes it as a mix of soccer, basketball and volleyball. Organizer Chris Adams says the program is “unique in the United States” and brings in kids from a variety of different backgrounds.
“Over the last 6 years, hundreds of children from Arlington and the Washington D.C. area have participated in the program… many of them children of Australian military families stationed temporarily in the area,” Adams said. “Other children have had connections to Australia through parents or time spent stationed at U.S. bases in Australia. Many other children have attended simply because friends have told them it is fun!”
AWLA considers this one of its most important fundraisers of the year. Money raised will help care for all the homeless animals brought to AWLA every day, from dogs to hamsters to birds.
The three mile walk or one mile stroll will start and finish at Bluemont Park (329 N. Manchester Street). Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the walk starts at 9:30 a.m. In addition to sponsor booths, there will be demonstrations by WOOFS! Dog Training Center of Shirlington, and by the Arlington County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit.
Humans are encouraged to bring any canine walking partners older than four months. Dogs must be on a flat leash, not a flexible leash. Cats and other pets must stay at home. All pre-registered human walkers will receive a t-shirt, and dogs will receive a bandana.
You can register for the race on AWLA’s website. The cost for the walk is $25 in advance and $40 the day of the event. Special prizes will be awarded to participants who raise the most money.
The Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation is joining up with PBS Kids to provide the event. Activities include art projects, a nature treasure hunt, relay races, moon bounces and bingo. There will also be an opportunity to get up close and personal with live snakes, turtles and lizards.
Families are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy together. There will also be a $3 lunch available for purchase, which includes a hot dog, chips and a drink.
Be sure to watch the weather if you plan on attending, because if there’s inclement weather the event will be cancelled. If it is cancelled, the event will not be rescheduled.
The event runs from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Timing for each of the activities can be found online. For more information, contact Kevin Clements at 703-228-4729 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bluemont residents will vote tonight on a petition (below) that calls for the county parks department to build and pay for a Petanque-Bocce court in the neighborhood.
The vote will take place at tonight’s Bluemont Civic Association meeting. Supporters say the court would “foster community spirit in a fun way for all ages.”
BLUEMONT PETANQUE COURT PETITION
We, the undersigned Bluemont residents, support the petition to construct a 4-meter wide and 15 meters (13’ x 50’) long Petanque-Bocce court along the Bluemont Junction Trail. At the Bluemont Civic Association (BCA) general membership meeting on April 25, 2012, this petition will be submitted to the BCA for approval. Upon approval, the petition will be forwarded to the Arlington County Parks & Recreation Department to fund design and construction. We request the BCA to create a working group to coordinate with the Parks department, and homeowners residing along the Bluemont Trail to determine the site location between N. Illinois and N. Emerson Street.
New Long-Haul Flights Coming to DCA — Three new long-haul flights to western cities are being added at Reagan National Airport. A new United flight to San Francisco will start in May, and flights to Salt Lake City and Los Angeles will start in June. While travelers may be happy about the new nonstop options, some Arlington residents are concerned about the potential for added noise from the larger planes necessary for the long-haul flights. [Sun Gazette, Washington Business Journal]
Metro Track Work This Week — Metro is working on the Blue Line this week, and those who travel between the District and Arlington around midday may experience some delays as a result. Metro is single-tracking between Foggy Bottom and Arlington Cemetery from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each day through Friday. Crews are performing “rail, fastener, tie and insulator renewal.” Riders should add an extra 10 minutes to their travel time, according to Metro. Orange Line passengers may also experience brief delays as a result of the Blue Line work. [WMATA]
Pricey Rehab Options for Reeves Farm — The historic Reeves Farm, located near Bluemont Park, is in need of rehabilitation. According to a new report, it will cost between $1.1 and $1.3 million to convert the Reeves farmhouse to a learning center or demonstration kitchen. [Arlington Mercury]
Retailers Helping Arlington’s Car-Free Diet — The Arlington County Commuter Services Bureau has partnered with 327 local retailers to help promote its Car-Free Diet campaign. You can find a map and a list of specific options for getting to each retailer without a car on the Car-Free Diet web site. [TBD]
(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) Wondering what the famous Oscar Mayer Wienermobile was doing at the entrance to Bluemont Park on Tuesday?
So were we. Luckily, the team of “hotdoggers” who are driving the vehicular sausage all over the East Coast got in touch with us yesterday and were able to grill them on the purpose of their visit.
We asked what they were up to over in Bluemont.
“We’re in Annapolis for a few days of events at grocery stores,” the pair said. “We were just in Arlington for the afternoon to do some disc golfing with a friend.”
There were hot dogs served to their fellow Frisbee golf players, right? Seems like that would be a perk of the job.
“Haha nope no hot dogs,” the hotdoggers replied. “Just a nice day of frolfing in the park.”
The Oscar Mayer ambassadors promised to let us know next time they were in town. Hopefully they’ll remember to steer clear of the Pentagon.