The former Lucky Seven store in Nauck, closed since a fire last summer, was recently torn down and will eventually become part of a park.
Before the fire, in 2010, the property (2406 S. Shirlington Road) was purchased by Arlington County for $1.4 million, according to property records. The purchase followed a public process in 2006 to design a “Nauck Town Square,” a central public gathering place for the community that complements the developing Nauck Village Center commercial district on Shirlington Road.
The “town square” would incorporate the existing green space on the block, the Lucky Seven property and a still-privately-owned property at 2400 S. Shirlington Road. The county is now in discussions with the owner of that property about a possible acquisition, according to Chikwe Njoku, the county’s Neighborhood Revitalization Program Coordinator.
The current design for the Nauck Town Square includes “a public plaza with outdoor seating, landscaped areas with a water feature, decorative lighting, public art, and displays featuring the history of the community,” according to the county website. It will also feature either an open-air pavilion or an enclosed public multipurpose facility, for hosting entertainment and community events.
“Once completed, this Square will encompass the entire block and host a variety of community events both formal and informal,” the county said. “Additionally, it will provide an outdoor location for public art, Nauck interpretative historical elements, and outdoor entertainment.”
Njoku said it’s impossible to know exactly when the project will move forward, since it depends on the purchase of private property. He also said that the plans for the town square are likely to be “slightly different” than those conceived in 2006.
“There is no official timeline for this project yet since we are still in discussions with the owners on the acquisition of the final parcel,” Njoku said. “However, we are planning to engage the community this Fall and revisit the design that was developed as part of the Nauck Town Square Charrette. We will have a better idea of the project timeline by the time we start that process.”
Construction is underway on a tiny park near Ballston Common Mall.
The park, adjacent to the Ballston Parking Garage at the corner of Glebe Road and N. Randolph Street, features a pair of bocce courts and enhanced green space. The park is intended to be temporary; the county plans to eventually replace it with a longer-term use.
More about the park from the county website: “Arlington County is constructing interim improvements at Glebe & Randolph Park including two bocce courts, site furnishings, accessible paths, and flowering shrubs that support a variety of butterflies, birds and insects.”
Construction is expected to wrap up “early this summer,” according to parks department planner Scott McPartlin.
On Saturday, Jan. 26, the Arlington County Board approved a $733,315 contract (including contingency) for reconstruction of the Tuckahoe Park playground. Contractor Jeffrey Stack, Inc. will make improvements to the park, including an accessible entrance, new play equipment, accessible paths, site furnishings, synthetic turf safety surfacing, site drainage, bio-retention gardens and plantings.
The Board also approved eight Park Enhancement (PEG) Grants, for a total of $83,377. The grants include:
- Removal of invasive plants at Hillside Park in Radnor-Ft. Myer Heights ($11,354)
- New garden and tools for the Lubber Run Teen Program at Lubber Run Park ($5,500)
- Small deck, tree protection and other improvements at the Fort Barnard Community Canine Area in Nauck ($15,000)
- New benches and wood chip path at Thomas Jefferson Middle School ($13,718)
- Five new benches, a picnic table and a grill at Fraser Park on Army Navy Drive ($10,400)
- Improvements to the volleyball court at Alcova Heights Park ($5,523)
- Four new benches and invasive plant control in a large traffic island on John Marshall Drive ($9,290)
- New concrete path at Woodlawn Park, near Ballston ($12,592)
The Arlington County Board on Saturday is expected to approve a contract for improvements to Ft. Myer Heights Park (1400 Ft. Myer Drive).
The planned improvements to the 0.48 acre park include new nature-themed playground equipment, new fencing, an accessible path to the playground from Ft. Myer Drive, concrete retaining walls, enhanced plantings and improved site drainage. The construction contract, in the amount of $475,920.53 plus a $47,592.04 contingency, will be awarded to Avon Corporation.
The existing park consists of a small playground area, basketball court, picnic area and open grassy field. The park improvements were devised with the help of input from the community, including the Radnor / Fort Myer Heights Civic Association.
Images via Arlington County
The Arlington County Board on Saturday is expected to award a $2.95 million contract to Meridian Construction Co. to build the first phase of the new park, which has been in the works since 2010. Funding for the improvements is coming from 2010 Neighborhood Conservation funds, park bond funds and park pay-as-you-go funds.
The finished 2.4 acre park is expected to feature the following amenities:
- One lighted basketball/volleyball court
- One lighted basketball/futbol sala court
- A lighted synthetic grass multipurpose field with bleachers
- A sandbox and two play areas
- A picnic shelter, picnic tables and benches
- A skateboarding area with “skate-able art”
- A “raised boardwalk”
- Bicycle parking
- Drainage improvements
Per a neighborhood request, the volleyball court will have a net installed by default, which must be removed by park staff in order for basketball to be played. The courts and the multipurpose field will be lighted with dark sky compliant “Green Generation” lighting which will shut off after 10:00 p.m.
The skate-able art will be constructed as part of a second phase of park construction, funded with 2012 Neighborhood Conservation funds.
In the Board report, county staff said the final price tag of the park increased by $850,000 due to extra costs associated with making the park Americans with Disabilities Act compliant.
Construction on Phase I of the park is expected to begin this winter. No word yet on when construction is expected to wrap up.
The ceremony for the 17,000 square feet park, located at 2503 Columbia Pike, will be kick off at 4:00 today. The park features a tree-covered upper terrace with movable tables and chairs, an inner plaza with a water feature, small gardens, a sustainable storm water runoff bio-filtration and re-circulation system, and “Echo,” a large two-piece sculpture by Richard Deutsch (more information, below).
The park was designed by the prominent local design firm Oculus. A second phase of the project will include “a transit Super Stop in front of the square along Columbia Pike to support the current Pike Ride buses as well as future generations of transit.”
“With the completion of this first phase of the Penrose Square project, we are really beginning to feel and see the transformation of Columbia Pike,” Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. “A visionary group of residents came together to create this vibrant, public square that will serve as a welcoming place, where neighbors can come together to socialize, dine, relax and have fun.”
In a press release, county officials described in inspiration for the “Echo” sculpture.
As a member of Penrose Square’s landscape design team, Richard Deutsch created the interactive sculpture inspired by the Three Sisters Radio Towers, formerly located near Columbia Pike and Courthouse Road.
Built in 1913 by the Navy as cutting-edge technology, the towers broadcast the first trans-Atlantic radio signal in 1915, connecting Arlington with the Eiffel Tower. They also introduced regular broadcasts of time signals — important navigational aids for ships at sea. When National Airport opened in 1941 the towers posed an aviation hazard and were taken down.
Echo provides a modern interpretation of Arlington’s significant contribution to the history of communication. The concave elliptical parabolas carved into each monolith reflect and project sound, allowing words spoken into one stone to be heard by listeners at the other. California-based artist Deutsch designs sculpture and environments using stone, water, bronze, and stainless steel. Like Echo, much of his work is marked by an understanding of space and environment and an attention to social context and history.
Through the county’s Neighborhood Conservation Program, the money will go toward four new projects and five ongoing projects. The program allows residents, through their neighborhood associations, to suggest improvements and work with the county to get the projects funded.
“Our Neighborhood Conservation program is true civic engagement – neighborhood improvements planned from the ground up,” said County Board Chair Mary Hynes. “Its success lies in the fact that it puts residents in charge of prioritizing which improvements their neighborhoods most need.”
The Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee (NCAC) meets monthly and makes project recommendations to the County Board twice a year. Of the 25 new projects examined, the NCAC chose the following four at its June meeting:
- Penrose, Butler Holmes Park — $522,400 for Phase II of park improvements
- Clarendon Courthouse, Rocky Run Park — $750,000 for Phase II of park improvements
- Madison Manor, N. Quintana Street — $126,018 for streetlights from 11th Road N. to N. Potomac Street
- Arlington Ridge, 21st Street S. — $572,474 for street improvements including sidewalk, curb and gutter from S. Kent Street to S. Joyce Street
Those projects, with a cost of nearly $2 million, will be funded from the proposed $11 million 2012 bond that will be on the ballot in November. Funding for the five existing projects will run nearly $750,000, and primarily comes from the previously approved 2010 Community Conservation Bond. If approved by voters, the bonds are scheduled to be sold before the end of fiscal year 2013.
Additional funding for the existing projects was requested due to increases in costs; the sprayground plan now includes a water recirculation system, and the cost of materials and installation of streetlights increased. Those projects, along with their original costs and additional funding requests, are as follows:
- Waycroft Woodlawn, N. Abingdon Street — Original estimate of $138,366 for streetlights, requires additional $170,506
- North Arlington/East Falls Church, 26th & 27th — Original estimate of $73,289 for streetlights, requires additional $100,565
- Madison Manor, 11th Road N. — Original estimate of $68,804 for streetlights, requires additional $103,309
- Columbia Heights, N. Barton Street — Original estimate of $356,525 for streetlights, requires additional $161,146
- Virginia Highlands Sprayground — Original estimate of $550,000, requires additional $212,000
It was noted in the county staff report that the cost for the lighting projects rose largely because they were held until the countywide conversion to LED lighting, which is currently underway. During the holding period, the price for materials and installation increased.
Park Contracts Approved — The Arlington County Board has voted unanimously to approve contracts for improvements to two county parks. The tiny 0.6 acre Nauck Park at 2600 19th Street S. will get a renovated restroom, new swings, a slide and a “spinner bowl.” Virginia Highlands Park, at 1600 S. Hayes Street, will get the county’s fourth “sprayground” park for children. [Arlington County]
Bus Stop Moved Away from Sex Offender — An Arlington mom has succeeded in getting Arlington Public Schools to move her middle-school-aged daughter’s bus stop further away from a convicted sex offender’s house. The stop was six homes away from the man’s house. APS spokeswoman Linda Erdos called WUSA 9′s story on the situation a “cheap shot.” [WUSA 9]
Board Approves ‘Citizens United’ Resolution — The County Board on Tuesday approved a resolution calling for a federal constitutional amendment to reverse the implications of the Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision. [Sun Gazette]
The county has been working with Paradigm Development Company to develop the 2.3 acre public park. The property is known as Buckingham Commons Village I, and a portion purchased by the county for $14.8 million in 2009 will be dedicated as Henry Wright Park (4350 4th Street North), as well as a new county street.
Paradigm Development Company will be responsible for ongoing maintenance at the park, as part of the public/private partnership. The county will maintain the new portions of North 4th Street and North Upton Street once they are dedicated. The measures were finalized by the County Board’s unanimous vote at its meeting on Saturday (July 21).
“Henry Wright Park brings much needed open space to Buckingham Commons Village I,” said Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes. “Through a public/private partnership with Paradigm, the county has found a cost effective way to ensure that this beautiful park is well taken care of so that generations of Arlington children have a safe, attractive place to come together, exercise and play.”
The oval park has a fenced in playground for two to 12-year-olds, picnic and game tables, two grassy areas and a sign commemorating the history of the Buckingham Villages Gardens Apartments.
Construction began last fall and is nearly complete. If all goes according to plan, the park will open next month.
One notable aspect of the plan features an area specifically designed for skateboarders. The lower portion of the park is the area aimed at skaters, where special “sculptures” will be installed. The “skateable art” is meant to be functional for skateboarding, as well as visually appealing for other visitors.
Two basketball courts will sit in the middle of the park; they will be striped both for basketball and other sports like volleyball and futbol sala. The courts will be lit at night, as will the adjacent revamped field. The current stone dust field will be redone with a synthetic turf surface.
An existing playground for older (5-12 year old) children will be relocated to the upper end of the park along N. Barton Street, to be next to the tot (2-5 year old) playground. Both will receive some new play equipment.
Additional seating and picnic tables will be installed throughout the park, along with new trash cans, recycling containers and bicycle parking. The plans also include increased accessibility with the construction of Americans with Disabilities Act compliant walkways. During the revamp, grading and drainage will be improved, additional landscaping added, and numerous trees will be planted.
County staff started meeting with residents in the area in 2010 to develop the plan. Funding is coming from pay-as-you-go and park bond funds, as well as Neighborhood Conservation Program funding.
A landscape architect with the Department of Parks and Recreation said the construction documents are 90 percent complete and currently under review. Staff members believe the project will go to bid sometime this summer, and construction will begin in the fall.
A pair of bocce courts may soon be coming to a small strip of green space near Ballston Common Mall.
Arlington County park planners have proposed a set of improvements to a barren, triangular park at the corner of N. Randolph Street and N. Glebe Road, adjacent to the Ballston public parking garage.
The proposal includes two side-by-side bocce courts, benches, a handicap-accessible walkway, bike parking, meadow plantings and a designated food truck/cart area. The cost of the improvements is estimated at $150,000. The park design is described as temporary, and is intended to be “easily… displaced if a long-term use is identified.”
Park planners met with community members on Tuesday to discuss the proposal. The final design for the park is expected to be firmed up by early summer, with construction beginning in late summer or early fall.
The work planned for High View Park (1945 N. Dinwiddie Street) includes renovating the worn-out playground and picnic areas and improving access to those with disabilities. The $628,082 project will add a large kid’s play structure with swings, a boulder and a climbing wall, as well as a sand play area with swings, a water spigot and a play structure for younger children.
Another $83,637 will be used for the following projects:
- Landscaping at the I-395 ramp/Arlington Ridge Road intersection
- Invasive plant removal at Zachary Taylor Park
- Improvements to the entrance to the Shirlington Community Canine Area
- Invasive plant removal at the Bluemont Park Trail entrance and a park information kiosk
- New benches and picnic tables at the old Westover Library site
- Discovery play area at Long Branch Nature Center, plus invasive plant removal
- Bike rack, two benches, recycling can, two bat houses and educational signage at Prospect Hill Park
- Spanish translation of Buckingham Village history sign at Henry Wright Park
- Adding boulders near the Fort Scott Park parking lot
Construction is getting underway on a new public plaza along Columbia Pike.
Fences have gone up around the construction site — a small grass field in front of the Penrose Square apartment complex, on the 2400 block of Columbia Pike. The first construction phase of the $2 million Penrose Square public plaza is expected to be completed this fall.
“Penrose Square is the first of three squares that will eventually be located along the Pike Corridor and will be an active pedestrian center and community gathering spot within the corridor’s Town Center,” said Arlington County parks department spokeswoman Susan Kalish.
Among the plaza’s planned features:
The first phase of development calls for a tree-covered, upper terrace with movable tables and chairs; an inner plaza with a water feature; a unique two-piece sculpture called “Echo”; an inscription of the historic significance of the site, and a grass mound area shaded with trees for informal seating.
Continuing Arlington’s goal of a sustainable environment, the tree terrace area will have Silva Cells installed beneath the surface to facilitate stormwater runoff filtration into the soil while providing maximum soil volume for root growth. The Silva Cells prevent compaction of the soil so that tree roots are protected and also help to retain water to sustain the trees during dry periods.
What’s more, a portion of the square will have a water feature designed to shoot thin jets of water 5 – 12 feet into the air from the pavers. The water feature will enhance the square by providing the movement and sounds of water and make an enjoyable place for people to visit. The water from the fountain will be collected, treated and then reused in the fountain again to conserve water.
And finally, the square will also have a new Super Stop Station located along the front sidewalk that will support the current Pike Ride system as well as future generations of transit that are planned for Columbia Pike.
Board Approves Penrose Square Public Plaza — The Arlington County Board last night formally approved a $2 million public plaza at the Penrose Square apartment complex on Columbia Pike. “This flexible, vibrant public square is an important part of the community vision for Columbia Pike… a place for people to relax, gather and host events,” said Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman. The plaza is expected to open next fall. [Arlington County]
Board Green Lights Boeing HQ — After more than 3 hours of discussion, the County Board — somewhat reluctantly — approved a plan by aircraft maker Boeing to build a new, 450,000 square foot regional headquarters on a plot of land between Crystal City and the future Long Bridge Park. ARLnow.com will have a full recap up later today.
Moran Fired Up About Occupy Wall Street — Arlington’s congressman, Democratic Rep. Jim Moran, is fired up about the Occupy Wall Street protest movement. “Good for them!” he said emphatically at a Falls Church Chamber of Commerce luncheon. “This is what democracy is about.” Moran also decried the level of partisanship on Capitol Hill. “There used to be 353 centrists in the House in the 1980s.. Now there are zero,” he said. [Falls Church News-Press]
Dulles Signs on Route 50? — Why are there still signs to Dulles Airport on Route 50? “I suspect these signs date from before I-66 was built, since no one would take Route 50 to get to Dulles with I-66 available,” writes blogger and environmental consultant Steve Offutt. [Commuter Page Blog]
Police Service Counter Cuts Hours — The Arlington County Police Department service counter at 1425 N. Courthouse Road is reducing its hours. Starting Monday, Oct. 31, the counter will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekends, and will be closed on county holidays. “They studied it for a number of months and they just weren’t getting enough traffic to justify the staffing,” police spokeswoman Det. Crystal Nosal said of the cut-back. [Arlington County Police Department]
(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) The small grassy field in front of the new Penrose Square apartments on Columbia Pike will likely be transformed into a considerably less grassy, $2 million public plaza over the next year.
Over the weekend, the Arlington County Board will vote on whether to approve a construction contract and a public art contract for a “Penrose Square Public Plaza” at 2503 Columbia Pike. The 17,360 square foot plaza will be a central focus of the revitalized Columbia Pike “town center,” and will serve “as a meeting and gathering spot in the Corridor’s new urban fabric.”
The construction contract, worth some $1.6 million, will create “a tree-covered terrace with movable tables and chairs; an inner plaza with a water feature… an inscription of historical significance of the site; and a grass mound area shaded with trees for informal seating.” The water feature will be made sustainable “by collecting, treating and then reusing water from the fountain again to minimize daily water consumption.”
Yearly operating costs for the plaza are estimated at just above $100,000 per year, including $68,290 for grounds maintenance, $20,000 for fountain maintenance and $13,000 for utilities like water and electricity.
The plaza will also feature a public art installation. Dubbed “Echo,” the installation by artist Richard Deutsch will consist of two large granite slabs, each with a parabola carved out of one side. The slabs will be arranged so that someone at the end of one parabola will be able to clearly hear someone speaking at the other parabola, 30 feet away.
“The artwork is inspired by the significant role that Arlington’s Three Sisters Radio Towers, formerly located on the nearby Navy Annex property, played in the development of the nation’s trans-Atlantic communication capabilities,” the County Board report says. The sole-source contract to create the installation is worth $425,000.
Echo is expected to be installed in the spring of 2012. Construction on the plaza is expected to wrap up in the fall of 2012. A second construction phase — which will eventually extend the plaza into what is now the adjacent CVS parking lot — is also in the works.