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.
LED Street Lights Draw Complaints — New energy-efficient LED street lighting has been drawing complaints from Arlington residents. Residents have complained that the new lights are too bright and too white. That has prompted county officials to install dimmers on the lights, which has driven up the cost of the new lighting. The county is also exploring the use of lighting that is less harsh but also less energy efficient. [Sun Gazette]
‘Chiefs vs. Chefs’ Cooking Challenge Tonight — Some of Arlington most notable chefs will be battling some of Arlington’s top firehouse cooks in a cooking challenge for charity tonight. The chefs — David Guas of Bayou Bakery, Todd Pozinsky of Carlyle in Shirlington and Adam Barnett of Eventide — will go up against the tastiest creations from Arlington’s bravest. ‘Chiefs vs. Chefs’ is taking place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. tonight at the Key Bridge Marriott (1401 Lee Highway). Tickets to the event, which benefits the Arlington Food Assistance Center, start at $100. [AFAC]
Transportation Advice for APS – Writing in response to the recent controversy over changes to busing at Arlington Public Schools, Greater Greater Washington writer and Arlington resident Steve Offutt says APS should look to Arlington County government for guidance on how to create a “real, 21st-century transportation plan” that isn’t so focused on buses. [Greater Greater Washington]
New Jeweler Coming to Clarendon — Alexandria-based B&C Jewelers will be opening a second location in Clarendon. The store will be opening at 2729 Wilson Boulevard, in the storefront once occupied by the Sisters3 boutique. [Patch]
Polls Open for County Board Race — Polls are open until 7:00 p.m. for today’s Arlington County Board special election. The three candidates on the ballot are Libby Garvey (D), Mark Kelly (R) and Audrey Clement (G). See the list of polling places here.
Merrifield to Rival Arlington? — Merrifield, once best known for its drive-in movie theater, is transforming itself into a walkable urban community. Multiple apartment and townhouse developments are being built, and more are in the pipeline. Businesses like Harris Teeter, MOM’s Organic Market, Matchbox Pizza, Dolcezza gelato, Red Apron Butchery, Tayor Gourmet, and Cava Mezza are also on the way. Rep. Gerry Connolly says of the rapidly-developing Merrifield: “I think that it’s going to rival Arlington for a lot of the younger generation of workers and commuters.” [Washington Post]
Arlington’s Streetlight System, Explained — Of Arlington’s 17,000 streetlights, about 5,000 are owned by Arlington County while 12,000 are owned by Dominion Power. That dual ownership structure can sometimes cause long repair times, even after a resident reports that a traffic light has gone dark. [Greater Greater Washington]
Poverty on the Rise in Arlington — Arlington County is struggling to keep up with the needs of the growing segment of residents living under the poverty line. Currently, 1,200 people receive a county rent subsidy of just over $500, on average. But the current proposed budget for FY 2013 will leave 1,300 needy families without county assistance. Bridging that gap will likely require higher taxes, something County Board members are reportedly considering. [WAMU]
Ballston Parking Garage Rate Hike Approved — On Saturday the Arlington County Board approved a proposed increase in parking rates at the Ballston Public Parking Garage. The parking rate hike, the first at the garage since 1996, will have the biggest impact on those who park on weekends, who were previously paying a $1 flat rate. The county said the increase was necessary to pay for repairs and upgrades to the garage. Also discussed: the effect of Arlington’s living wage requirement on personnel costs at the garage. [Arlington County]
New Streetlights Green-Lit for the Pike — Also on Saturday, the Board approved a $1.2 million contract to install new LED streetlights along part of Columbia Pike. County officials said the new streetlights will improve safety, energy efficiency and aesthetics along one of the busiest pedestrian sections of the Pike. [Arlington County]
‘Pipestem’ Compromise Reached — A developer and neighbors in the Leeway Overlee neighborhood reached a compromise on the developer’s controversial plan to build a new home on a “pipestem” lot on N. Nottingham Street. As part of the compromise, the house — located behind another home and connected to the street by only a thin strip of driveway – will be smaller than originally proposed and will include a detached garage. [Washington Post]
Home Prices Up in Arlington — Fewer homes were sold in January compared to a year ago, but the fact that there were fewer homes on the market helped to raise average and median sale prices by nearly 10 percent. The increase in home prices was led by double-digit increases in townhouse and condo prices. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Damiec
The Arlington County Board on Saturday is expected to grant approval to a $1.1 million contract for new streetlights and streetlight upgrades on the Pike between S. Frederick and S. Scott Streets. Most of the contract will be paid for with federal highway safety funds; about $140,000 will be paid by the county.
The contract will fund the construction of new LED streetlights and the upgrade of existing streetlights on three stretches of Columbia Pike: from S. Frederick Street to S. Buchanan Street, S. Wakefield Street to S. Glebe Road, and S. Glebe Road to S. Scott Street (including the “town center” area of Columbia Pike).
The LED-powered streetlights are necessary to improve pedestrian visibility and safety, county staff said. More information on the lights is available here.
Photo via Arlington County
Officials hope to replace 1,800 streetlights, or 40 percent of all county-owned lights, by the spring of 2011. The funds for the project will come from a federal energy efficiency and conservation grant.
After the initial push, the county will install 500 new streetlights per year. The conversion will take about six years to complete, and will produce a significant cost savings for the county.
The new lights are expected to cut energy consumption by about 60 percent and save more than $1 million per year, according to one estimate.
Even after the conversion, however, most streetlights in the county will be of the older, less energy-efficient variety. That’s because the vast majority of streetlights in Arlington are owned by Dominion Power. Dominion operates 11,700 lights under contract with the county, and those have not yet been scheduled for an upgrade.
“Arlington and Dominion are exploring options to improve the energy efficiency of those [streetlights] in the future,” the county said in a statement.