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Six Neighborhood Improvement Projects Could Secure Funding

by Ethan Rothstein | February 20, 2014 at 3:30 pm | 1,533 views | No Comments

arlington-va-logoThe Arlington County Board could approve another round of neighborhood improvement projects at its meeting this Saturday.

Six projects are slated to receive $3.5 million in funding in the fourth and final round of appropriations from 2012′s $11 million Neighborhood Conservation Bond.

The projects are:

  • Street improvements to the 5700 block of 2nd Street S. and the 100 block of S. Kensington Street in Glencarlyn. Cost: $724,042. Expected completion date: June 2016.
  • A trail connector from the 4800 block of 7th Street S. to the W&OD trail in Barcroft. Cost: $135,317. Expected completion date: October 2015.
  • Pedestrian safety improvements to 19th Road N. between Woodstock Street and Upton Street in Waverly Hills. Cost: $753,845. Expected completion date: May 2016.
  • Street improvements to S. Lang Street between Arlington Ridge Road and 28th Street in Arlington Ridge. Cost: $713,003. Expected completion date: October 2015.
  • Streetlights and trail improvements on N. Ohio Street between 22nd Street and Washington Blvd in Highland Park Overlee Knolls. Cost: $380,369. Expected completion date: July 2015.
  • Park improvements to Woodlawn Park in Waycroft-Woodlawn. Cost: 795,000. Expected completion date: None given.

The projects were chosen based on a priority scale and approved for recommendation by the NCAC in December.

The projects given the highest priority were those in neighborhoods that have recently updated or completed new conservation plans and in neighborhoods that have waited for projects the longest. The county staff report has the full list of criteria.

South Arlington Parents Start Petition for New Elementary School

by Ethan Rothstein | February 6, 2014 at 3:30 pm | 1,580 views | No Comments

South Arlington parents protesting School Board capacity plansMore than 500 parents and residents have signed a petition asking the School Board to hold to its plans of building a new elementary school in South Arlington.

School Board Chair Abby Raphael sent a letter to community members last month notifying them that the Board was considering diverting $4.5 million in design funds — slated for a new elementary school next to Kenmore Middle School in Glencarlyn — to relieving middle school overcrowding in North Arlington.

The elementary school was originally supposed to open in Glencarlyn in 2017. The plans are not the only changes Arlington Public Schools facilities could be due for when the Capital Improvements Plan for 2015-2024 is adopted in June — a move or expansion for H-B Woodlawn is also on the table.

The list of options for the CIP won’t be narrowed until April or May after a long community involvement period, according to APS.

The $4.5 million was part of a bond Arlington voters approved by referendum in 2012. Glencarlyn neighbors protested the location of the school at the time, claiming the added traffic would be a hazard for the neighborhood. Raphael references their objections in her letter as a reason to reconsider the school.

Below is the Change.org petition, which has garnered 555 signatures as of 3:30 p.m. Thursday:

… we ask that you remain true to the original intention of the 2012 School Bond by moving forward with the design (and later construction) of a new South Arlington elementary school.

As busy residents of Arlington County and/or parents of young APS students, we may not have the ability to attend every… CIP stakeholder meeting — e.g. the Community Forum on Feb. 5th at Washington-Lee High School; however, we remain concerned citizens who want to ensure that our voices are heard on this issue. We voted for the 2012 School Bond based on a specific plan laid-out in the bond’s FAQ sheet (http://www.apsva.us/CIP), and we want to ensure that APS and its School Board follow-through on their original intention to alleviate imminent elementary school overcrowding south of Arlington Blvd., rather than re-directing those bond funds toward the design (and later construction) of a new North Arlington middle school.

Thank you!

Photo via Change.org

School Board Considers Scrapping 600-Seat Glencarlyn Elementary School

by Ethan Rothstein | January 17, 2014 at 10:00 am | 2,395 views | No Comments

New elementary school proposed for the Carlin Springs/Kenmore campus(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) The Arlington School Board is reconsidering the plan to build a 600-seat elementary school at the Kenmore Middle School site in Glencarlyn.

Despite voters approving $4.5 million in design costs for the school in a 2012 referendum, the Board is looking at diverting that investment to prepare for middle school overcrowding in the coming years, which is projected to be more serious than the capacity issues in elementary schools.

School Board Chair Abby Raphael, in a letter sent to parents and community members who have inquired about the issue, says its updated projections call for elementary schools in Arlington to be 3 percent over capacity in FY 2019, while middle schools are projected to be 16 percent over capacity in the same time period.

Raphael also referenced the objections from Glencarlyn residents from 2012 as a reason to re-evaluate building the school in the neighborhood, saying “the community raised significant concerns about the traffic and transportation issues” surrounding a new, 600-seat school in the area.

APS is revisiting the plan in advance of their next Capital Improvements Program for FY 2015-2024, which will be adopted in June. Raphael wrote that no decisions have been reached on what schools to build, if any, or if the School Board elects to construct additions onto existing schools.

Civic activist Monique O’Grady is trying to organize a campaign against the apparent backpedal. O’Grady said she’s disappointed that APS is considering abandoning its plans.

“The numbers still show that south Arlington will face more than an elementary school’s worth of overcrowding, so I believe the plan should move forward,” she wrote in an email. “I believe middle school should be addressed, but it shouldn’t come at a cost of 770 South Arlington elementary students being in trailers and with yet-to-be-mentioned programs being moved.”

O’Grady said the school should still be built while APS comes up with creative, cost-effective solutions to address anticipated middle school overcrowding.

“I worry that increased development in South Arlington, especially of apartment buildings and condos, will result in more students than currently projected and that South Arlington schools will become even more crowded than anticipated,” she said. “This is not a time to pull back from researched, planned and approved permanent elementary capacity in South Arlington. I think it is important for the South Arlington community to stand up and ask the school board not to turn South Arlington into a trailer park.”

APS acknowledges it does not have the finances to build capacity to accommodate 100 percent of the projected growth. No matter what comes out of the CIP, trailers will still be used as classrooms. The elementary school in Glencarlyn was originally slated to open in 2017.

Parks Dept. Holding Two Ribbon Cuttings This Weekend

by ARLnow.com | May 31, 2013 at 10:45 am | 621 views | No Comments

Renovated playground at High View Park (photo via Arlington County)Arlington County’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation will be holding two ribbon cutting ceremonies this weekend.

Tonight (Friday), starting at 6:00 p.m., an opening celebration will be held for the newly-renovated High View Park, located at 1945 N. Dinwiddie Street, within the boundaries of the John M. Langston Civic Association.

Renovations to the park include  new play areas, an ADA accessible route from Cameron Street, new benches, and a picnic area.

The event will include moon bounces “for all ages,” face painting, balloon art and refreshments. The ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 7:00 p.m.

On Saturday, Arlington County will celebrate the restoration of Carlin Hall (5711 4th Street S.). Dating back to 1892, Carlin Hall is currently used as a preschool, a community meeting facility and a recreation center. It recently underwent an extensive structural restoration.

A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for Carlin Hall at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday. The ceremony is part of the annual Glencarlyn Day festivities, which include a pancake breakfast, a parade, a fun fair and a home and garden tour.

Photo via Arlington County

Morning Notes

by Katie Pyzyk | July 20, 2012 at 9:20 am | 1,531 views | 21 Comments

911 Outage Scrutinized in Electrocution Death — A Falls Church man died on Sunday after being electrocuted by downed lines during the derecho storm on June 29. Bystanders tried calling 911, but couldn’t get through due to the sporadic outages across Northern Virginia. It’s unclear if the man could have been saved had the system not been down. [Washington Post]

Historic Carlin Hall Gets Facelift — The Glencarlyn Civic Association is pleased with the progress of the $500,000 renovation on the 120-year-old Carlin Hall. The project was originally only intended for replacing some siding, but inspectors found many more areas in need of repair. [Arlington Mercury]

Iota Hosting CD Release Party — Sixteen local bands will be on hand at Iota Club and Cafe in Clarendon on Sunday, to celebrate the release of a CD featuring 20 local artists. The CD includes a variety of music, from punk-pop to hip hop. The event kicks off at 7:00 p.m. and admission is $10. [WTOP]

Residents Voice Opposition to New Glencarlyn School

by ARLnow.com | June 26, 2012 at 9:30 am | 3,103 views | 106 Comments

The Glencarlyn Citizens’ Association is asking the Arlington County Board for help in its fight against a new proposed school in the neighborhood.

To address school capacity issues, Arlington Public Schools is planning to build a number of new schools, including a new 600-seat “choice” elementary school on the site of the existing Kenmore Middle School/Carlin Springs Elementary School campus.

The Citizens’ Association says the new school, slated to be built by 2017, would bring the total number of students attending schools in the Glencarlyn neighborhood to 2,600, including at Kenmore, Carlin Springs and nearby Campbell Elementary School. That, the association says, presents major traffic, parking and open space issues that will degrade the quality of life for residents.

The association is asking for the County Board’s help after not getting a satisfactory response from the School Board.

“We have tried to raise our concerns with the School Board, but our community was not consulted during the planning process, despite our requests that it do so, nor has it been responsive to our questions and concerns,” Glencarlyn Citizens’ Association President Peter Olivere wrote in a letter to the County Board (after the jump). “We need your help.”

Olivere told reporters that Glencarlyn residents do not want to be portrayed as having a “Not-In-My-Backyard” attitude.

“Please, we very much do not want to be categorized as NIMBY; we only want a process which fully addresses the community concerns before a final decision is made, which is the ‘Arlington Way,’” he wrote.

As previously reported, Arlington Public Schools is facing a significant capacity crunch. The school system is expected to reach capacity at the elementary school level by next fall. The new choice school in Glencarlyn is one of five proposed new capacity-generating construction projects throughout the county.

The full letter from the Glencarlyn Citizens’ Association, after the jump.

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Glencarlyn Residents Fight Proposal for New School

by ARLnow.com | April 10, 2012 at 11:40 am | 2,908 views | 68 Comments

Residents of Glencarlyn already have two schools in their neighborhood — Carlin Springs Elementary and Kenmore Middle School — but they say a proposal to add a third school to the existing campus, part of the plan to address the capacity crisis at Arlington Public Schools, goes too far.

In a letter sent to the Arlington School Board yesterday, the Glencarlyn Citizens’ Association asks the board to consider alternative sites for the proposed 600 students capacity magnet elementary school. The association cites concerns about “traffic, safety, parking and loss of [an] important recreational area” as reasons why the school shouldn’t be built or, at the very least, should be built in a way that minimizes negative impacts.

Along with the letter to the school board, Glencarlyn Citizens’ Association president Peter Olivere sent a letter to the editors of ARLnow.com, the Arlington Mercury and the Sun Gazette.

The Glencarlyn community is very concerned about the process and potential adverse consequences of the Arlington Public School’s (APS) Capacity Planning Process. The process appears to be driven by the APS’s desire to identify specific construction projects prior to placing a bond referendum before the public in November 2012. At the beginning of the Capacity Planning Process, the School Board committed to including the effect on Neighborhood Resources as a criteria for site selection. To date, the process has effectively excluded the affected neighborhoods from participation. The result is that APS has failed to incorporate the impact on neighborhoods in any meaningful way.

The School Board needs to recognize that the construction of new schools will have a significantly larger community impact than the replacement or expansion of an existing building. Given APS’s experience with late and costly modifications to approved capital improvement plans and past criticism of its ability to address legitimate concerns raised by affected communities, Glencarlyn believes the not including neighborhood input prior to deciding locations will undermine public support and confidence in APS’s ability to address future capacity needs.

Glencarlyn is requesting the School Board to refrain from selecting new school sites until additional alternatives have been considered and outreach efforts with the affected communities have resulted in plans to mitigate major concerns. For the Glencarlyn community the major concerns are traffic, safety, parking and loss of important recreational area. We believe there is adequate precedent for the Board to proceed with a bond referendum without tying it to site specific capital improvements.

Car Knocks Down Light Pole Outside 7-Eleven

by ARLnow.com | June 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm | 2,206 views | 18 Comments

A Volvo crossed two lanes of traffic and slammed into a light pole in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven across from Kenmore Middle School this morning, according to witnesses.

The force of the collision knocked the pole to the ground, damaging an SUV in the process.

A man and woman who were in the front seat of the Volvo were both transported to the hospital with injuries, witnesses say. Two children who were in the back seat were brought to the hospital with the adults, but were apparently not injured. The driver of the SUV, who was in the vehicle at the time of the collision, was also uninjured.

It’s unclear what caused the accident, which occurred around 11:00 a.m.

At least one northbound lane of Carlin Springs Road was closed following the collision. The 7-Eleven and another businesses in the small strip mall remained open. Dominion was called to help shut off power to the pole.

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