County Board Approves Glencarlyn Park Playground — The Arlington County Board on Tuesday approved a $485,000 construction contract for a new playground at Glencarlyn Park. The playground is intended for 5-12 year olds and includes a swing set and a “treehouse” log play structure. [Arlington County]
Demand Rises at AFAC – The Arlington Food Assistance Center “has seen a 20 percent surge in families visiting the food pantry in need of groceries over the past six months.” The director of AFAC says cuts in food stamp (SNAP) benefits has increased need in the community. Those cuts are expected to deepen if Congress passes a new compromise farm bill that includes $800 million in annual food stamp reductions. [Patch]
Grant Accepted for Innovation Initiative — Arlington County has accepted a $350,000 from the state to help fund “an innovative public-private initiative that will connect fast growth technology product companies with national security agencies headquartered in Arlington and the Commonwealth of Virginia.” Arlington will contribute a $175,000 matching grant to the project. [Arlington County]
Dem Caucus Is ‘Basically About the Streetcar’ — On its Twitter account, the blog Greater Greater Washington opines that this week’s Democratic Arlington County Board caucus is “basically about the streetcar.” Alan Howze and Peter Fallon, who GGW recommends voting for, generally support the Columbia Pike streetcar project while Cord Thomas has spoken out against it. [Twitter, Greater Greater Washington]
New African American Book Club — Arlington Public Library has launched a new African American Book Club. The club will “discuss the novels of both new and well-known authors, thought provoking non-fiction about the African American experience.” [Arlington Public Library]
Pageview Problem on ARLnow.com — We are currently trying to resolve a problem that is causing the pageview counter on each article to significantly undercount the actual number of views. The problem is impacting articles published within the past 24-48 hours.
Flickr pool photo by Mrs. Gemstone
Ft. Myer Alarm System Test Today — In conjunction with Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Operations, the Department of State will test an alarm system on Summerall Field on the Fort Myer portion of the joint base at 2:30 p.m. today. Residents near the area can expect to hear high noise levels. For more information call 703-696-0573.
September Start Date for Ashlawn Addition Construction — A groundbreaking ceremony is planned for 5:30 p.m. on September 6 for construction on the addition to Ashlawn Elementary School. Construction on the three level addition is expected to take about two years. The new portion will add about 26,000 square feet to the existing 69,000 square foot school building, allowing the capacity to grow from 524 students to about 680. [Sun Gazette]
Grants for Non-profits — Arlington County is accepting grant proposals from non-profit organizations that help residents with physical and/or sensory disabilities. Projects should increase or maintain independence and community integration for residents with disabilities through empowerment focused services. The 2015-2016 Regional Grants to Disability Groups Application Packet can be found online. Grant proposals are due by September 30. [Arlington County]
The Arlington Commission for the Arts recommended that 18 arts organizations and one individual artist receive direct financial support as part of the county’s Fiscal Year 2014 art grants. One of the organizations set to receive a grant, Signature Theatre, withdrew itself from consideration after it accepted a $250,000 tax bailout from the county in May.
The following are among the recipients of the $199,100 worth of proposed grants.
- The American Century Theater — $9,780.00
- Arlington Arts Center — $39,118.00
- Arlington Philharmonic Association — $1,356.00
- The Arlington Players – $6,457.00
- Bowen McCauley Dance — $19,108.00
- Dominion Stage — $2,421.00
- Educational Theatre Company — $4,970.00
- Encore Stage and Studio — $11,923.00
- IBIS: A Chamber Music Society — $4,564.00
- Jane Franklin Dance — $2,891.00
- The Metropolitan Chorus — $3,951.00
- National Chamber Ensemble — $2,362.00
- Prelude: The Arlington Youth Orchestral Program — $3,420.00
- Synetic Theater — $39,701.00
- Teatro de la Luna — $14,969.00
- UrbanArias, Inc. — $8,160.00
- Washington Balalaika Society — $4,947.00
- Washington Shakespeare Company — $14,002.00
- Hendrick Sundquist for “Supply and Demand, A Natural History of Consumption” — $5,000.00
Additionally, the following are to receive facilities and technical services grants from the county:
Alma Boliviana, The Arlington Artists Alliance, The Arlington Children’s Chorus, The Arlingtones, BalletNova Center for Dance, Bangladesh Center for Community Development, Inc., Cambodian American Heritage, Inc., Carmen de Vicente Spanish Dance Academy, Centro Cultural Peru., Dance Asia, El Tayrona, Festival Argentino, First Draft at Charter Theater, Halau O’Aulani, Hexagon, Indian Dance Educators Association, Los Quetzales Mexican Dance Ensemble, Matices DC, Old Dominion Cloggers, Opera NOVA, Potomac Harmony Chorus, Prio Bangla, Inc., The ProBolivan Committee, Signature Theatre, Tinkus Tiataco USA, Vietnamese Cultural Society of Metropolitan Washington, Washington Area Mongolian Community Association.
The Board discussed the matter in a closed session before unanimously approving it. According to County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac, it is standard procedure for the Board to discuss a grant behind closed doors. The grant agreement will be made public once the county attorney finalizes it.
County Manager Barbara Donnellan said the grant will help bring the theater current with real estate taxes owed to the county. Funding for the grant was provided from budget savings identified at the end of Fiscal Year 2012.
The Arlington County Department of Management and Finance indicates the grant includes around $85,000 for past due real estate and business tangible taxes, $99,000 for the next two payments of real estate taxes and around $30,000 for the next business tangible tax payment. The remaining $35,000 will either help fund a financial consultant study or go to future tax payments.
Signature Theatre has sole access rights and branding capability in its current space within a county owned building. It is responsible for the full costs of operating that facility, including real estate and business tangible taxes. Other county supported arts groups performing in county subsidized spaces are not required to pay taxes.
“Signature is thriving, and has a great future ahead of it,” Donnellan said. “This grant addresses an immediate, short-term need by providing temporary relief from a tax burden that is not shared by other supported arts groups.”
The county emphasizes that the theater is a cultural anchor for Shirlington and provides financial benefits to the community. It estimates that more than $150,000 in annual sales and meals taxes can be directly attributed to Signature’s presence in Shirlington.
Signature faced several debt-related lawsuits in Arlington General District Court last year, including claims from Waste Management, Conde Nast Publications and the Delancey at Shirlington Village apartment building. The Waste Management and Conde Nast claims were eventually dismissed. The court ruled in favor of Delancey at Shirlington Village.
County Treasurer Frank O’Leary told the Sun Gazette that Signature was delinquent on its real estate and business taxes.
APS to Benefit from State STEM Funding — Arlington Public Schools will be getting a boost from the Virginia Department of Education’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) grants. A $247,000 grant to George Mason University will provide support to 90 educators in seven school districts, including Arlington. Additionally, a $250,000 grant shared by four colleges and universities will support 76 teachers in 45 school districts, including Arlington. [Sun Gazette]
Public Hearing for School Boundary Changes — On Wednesday, the Arlington School Board will host a public hearing on the recommendations for boundary changes. Last month, Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy presented his recommendations for boundary changes. The hearing will take place at the Education Center (1426 N. Quincy Street) at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday (April 3).
JBM-HH Works with County to Reduce Use of Energy — The Directorate of Public Works at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (JBM-HH) has been working with Arlington County to share information about energy use and conservation. Although the two entities aren’t sharing policy yet, they’re sharing information about a community plan to reduce the use of energy. [U.S. Army]
Eighteen Arlington nonprofits will receive part of the more than $200,000 in grants the United Way of the National Capital Area presented to the county on Tuesday (January 29).
The 20 grants total $202,000 and come from designations to the Arlington Community Impact Fund during the annual workplace giving campaign.
Each year, United Way NCA solicits funding proposals from its member nonprofit organizations for specific programs and work in the community. This year, organizations from Arlington submitted 51 proposals totaling $895,500. A citizen-led task force made up of volunteers determined the grant recipients by examining where there may be gaps in services and where the funds would do the most good.
“One of the reasons why I continue to make donations to the Community Impact Fund and now also participate in the grant selection process myself is that there are certain areas I want to impact and I don’t necessarily know all the charities involved in that pursuit,” said Afua Bruce, a member of the grant selection committee. “I’m confident that the money I and so many others entrust to United Way NCA is going to organizations that will have the most impact creating the changes I want to see in our community.”
The following 18 organizations will share the grant money:
- Arlington Food Assistance Center
- Arlington Free Clinic
- Arlington Pediatric Center
- Arlingtonians Meeting Emergency Needs
- A-SPAN (Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, Inc.)
- Borromeo Housing
- Doorways for Women and Families
- Friends of Guest House
- Goodwill of Greater Washington
- Just Neighbors
- Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry (NOVAM)
- Northern Virginia Family Service
- SCAN of Northern Virginia
- The Child and Family Network Centers
- The Reading Connection
County Offering Grants for Runoff Projects — Arlington County is seeking local residents, businesses and homeowners associations interested in reducing stormwater runoff and pollution from their property. Using $80,000 received from the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, the county will offer cost-sharing grants to those who want to embark on runoff-reducing projects, like green roofs, rain gardens, conservation landscaping, infiltration trenches, cisterns, and pervious walkways and driveways. [Washington Post]
Arlington Teen Named ‘National Student Poet’ — Washington-Lee senior Luisa Banchoff, 17, has been named one of five 2012 National Student Poets, the “country’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work.” [Patch, Art & Writing Awards]
Library Recommends Books for Bullying — If your child is getting bullied, Arlington Public Library has some recommendations for books that can help him or her cope. [Arlington Public Library]
Photo courtesy Peter Golkin
New Exhibit At N. Va. Art Center -- The new Northern Virginia Art Center in Crystal City will be hosting a new exhibit starting tomorrow, Sept. 1, until Sept. 30. The exhibit, entitled “Grand Visions: Small World,” features a jury-selected collection of visual artworks (including paintings, pottery and sculpture) from a variety of local artists. An opening gala will be held from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 14. [Northern Virginia Art Center]
Marymount Receives Cybersecurity Grant — Arlington-based Marymount University has been awarded a $1.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation to fund a four-year cybersecurity scholarship program. [Press Release]
Reminder: Labor Day Closures and Traffic – Most county offices, with the notable exception of the election office, will be closed for Memorial Day. Drivers should expect busy highways if they’re heading out of town.
(Updated at 1:00 p.m.) The County Board has voted unanimously to follow the recommendation of the Arlington Commission for the Arts, approving $249,100 in grants for local artists and art organizations.
Of the 33 direct financial support application the Commission received, it recommended the Board approve 25 of them. All 25 recommended grant recipients are Arlington arts organizations or individual artists.
The Commission recommends three types of support for the arts — general operating grants, project grants and spotlight grants. General operating grants help organizations with the cost of overall administration and program offerings. Project grants assist organizations or individual artists with completing a specific project. Spotlight grants go to individual artists for their development and presentation of innovative new arts projects or programs.
The largest allocations of funds will go to Signature Theatre and Synetic Theatre, both slated to receive $45,000. Arlington Arts Center receives the next largest sum, at more than $20,000.
WSC Avant Bard is set to receive $18,077.71, but county staff noted that funds for the theater company are contingent on a management transition that’s currently underway.
“Avant Bard is in a transition period that has caused them to restructure their board and reconfigure their season,” staff wrote. “While staff and the Arts Commission firmly believe that WSC Avant Bard will be successful in this process, and are providing them with assistance through our non-profit resource center, our intention is to withhold their financial grant until progress is ensured and their first performance has been scheduled.”
The funds were appropriated in the County Board’s FY 2013 adopted operating budget for Arlington Economic Development. See the full list of monetary grants, after the jump.
Prince George’s County Crime Solvers gave the $2,000 grant to foster cooperation between the two counties. The money will go directly toward rewarding anonymous tipsters for reporting crimes.
Arlington County Crime Solvers President Andres Tobar says because some people who witness a crime don’t feel comfortable talking to police, they may not report the information at all. Crime Solvers allows these people to call in anonymously, and receive a reward for tips that lead to an arrest and conviction.
Tobar emphasizes that criminals often commit crimes in a variety of neighborhoods, so jurisdictions need to work together to catch the offenders. He says it’s in the best interest of all jurisdictions to make sure that people from neighboring communities can call in tips.
Tobar also says that there has been much turnover on Arlington’s Crime Solvers board, and they are actively recruiting. He notes that Prince George’s County has a strong board, and this grant helps show the commitment to improving Arlington’s board.
“This is a very nice shot in the arm for us,” Tobar said. ”It’s also a gesture of faith on the part of Prince George’s County that we will use this to move our organization forward. We will not disappoint them.”
Any members of the business community who want to get involved or join the Arlington Crime Solvers board should contact Andres Tobar at 202-841-7998, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Citizens who have tips to anonymously report can call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
The Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network is getting a $90,750 grant from the feds.
A-SPAN was one of 550 local homeless organizations selected to receive funds through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care program.
The funding “supports the Obama Administration’s far-reaching and ambitious plan to end homelessness,” HUD said in a statement.