(Updated at 5:55 p.m.) The working group charged by the county to help decide the fate of the green space next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School says it was unable reach a final consensus.
Arlington Public Schools is eyeing land surrounding the middle school as the site for a new $50 million, 725-seat elementary school for south Arlington. Those funds were adopted by the School Board as part of the 2015-2024 Capital Improvement Plan last June, and approved as part of the schools bond referendum by Arlington voters in November.
The 20-member Thomas Jefferson Working Group was formed by the Arlington County Board last year, after APS announced the middle school’s surrounding area was its “preferred” location for a new elementary school. The group has met 10 times over the last five months but still couldn’t reach an agreement on how best to proceed.
“While the group could not reach full consensus within tight constraints, we do agree on strong guidelines under which a new school, if approved, could be fitted into this important site without harming TJ Park or the many community activities there,” working group chair Carrie Johnson said in a press release.
An advocacy group, Friends of Thomas Jefferson Park, formed soon after APS announced it was considering the TJ site, and the Friends group has been expressing vocal opposition to the placement of a new school on existing parkland at the 27-acre site.
“Building adjacent to the middle school ignores the county’s future recreation needs by permanently converting parkland and valuable open space to non-park and recreation uses,” Friends group President Jim Presswood said in a December press release. “We agree that Arlington needs more seats for students, but we should not have to choose between schools and parks.”
The group now leaves the decision of whether to build on the site up to the County Board. If the Board elects not to build on the site, the elementary school seats the school could have provided to South Arlington would come from additions at Barcroft and Randolph Elementary Schools, an alternative plan the School Board has already approved but is more expensive than building a new school.
Johnson will present the working group’s recommendations to the County Board at its Saturday meeting, and the Board is expected to respond during its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 27. During its deliberations, the working group engaged the community with open meetings, surveys and involving local civic associations in the discussion.
Any plan to build a school at the site needs County Board approval because part of the land is owned by the county, not Arlington Public Schools.
The complete working group report is available online. The group found that it’s feasible to build an elementary school site to the west of the existing middle school and it would have a relatively minor impact on current recreational uses. However, the group says building on the site removes it from consideration for future parkland — for which it’s currently slated — and it would pre-empt the comprehensive study the County Board is launching this year of all county- and school-owned properties for future use.
The free event takes place at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street South). Tonight and Thursday, activities are outdoors, including rides, racing piglets, pony rides, the Cows-N-Corn milking demo and lots of fair food vendors. Additional indoor activities, such as bingo and clog dancing, begin on Friday. Spots are still open for the 5K run/walk on Saturday. The full schedule of events can be found online.
Fair goers have access to a new shuttle stop in Pentagon City this year. A shuttle bus will pick up passengers at the Pentagon City Metro and take them directly to the fair. Shuttles will also run from the three other locations at Arlington Career Center, Ballston Metro and the I-66 parking garage. Parking is free at shuttle locations and shuttles cost $2 round trip.
The Arlington County Fair will kick off its 38th year in two weeks, starting Wednesday, Aug. 6 until Sunday, Aug. 10.
The fair will again be held on the grounds of the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.). The fair starts at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday and at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday. As always, the fair is free to attend.
Just like last year, the fair will have a 5k run/walk, for which registration is still open, at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 9. There will be multiple piglet races every day — including five on Friday — making sure no visitor will be in the park for more than a few hours without getting a chance to see one of the fair’s most popular attractions.
There will be “Cows-N-Corn milking demonstrations,” more than a dozen live bands, exhibitions by the Harlem Wizards basketball troupe, pony rides, an outdoor showing of “Frozen” and plenty of other outdoor activities. There will be rides, face painting and a Miss Virginia Senior America pageant.
No county fair would be complete without a full agenda of exhibition competitions, with categories ranging from extracted honey and preserves, baked goods (there are 14 categories just for cakes), needlework and textiles, ceramics and fine arts, photography, and herb, fruit and vegetable growing.
(Updated at 10:00 a.m.) Three records fell Sunday at Thomas Jefferson Community Center during the annual Grant-Pierce Indoor Marathon & 50 Kilometer races, two of them broken by Arlington residents.
Chuck Engle, 43, won the indoor marathon in 2:43:49, setting an unofficial world record for fastest indoor marathon time ever by someone older than 40, according to Arlington running guru Jay Jacob Wind, who organized the event.
Wind broke his own record for fastest indoor 50-kilometer race by a runner 60 or older, completing the distance in 4:23:45. The 64-year-old Wind ran the same race, and set the same record, last year in 4:34:14.
The women’s champion on Sunday, Washington D.C. resident Kristen Jaremback, ran the 16th-fastest women’s indoor marathon of all time, finishing in 3:25:28, according to Wind. Jaremback didn’t stop running however, continuing to complete the 50-kilometer race — roughly 31 miles — in 4:03:43, an American women’s record and the sixth-fastest indoor 50-kilometer time ever run by a woman, according to records kept by the Association of Road Racing Statisticians (ARRS).
Engle unofficially broke the record set by German marathoner Uwe Langer, who ran the indoor marathon in 2:44:58.7 last year. Engle’s performance puts him at 17th-fastest of all time, according to ARRS. The world record holder regardless of age is Arlington’s own Michael Wardian, who ran the 26.2 miles in 2:27:21 in 2010, more than seven minutes faster than the next time on ARRS’ list.
The race was the fifth annual running of the indoor marathon and 50-kilometer race. Marathoners circled the community center track 211 times. Participants in the 50K circled the track 250 times.
The Harlem Wizards, a basketball troop in the mold of the Harlem Globetrotters, will be bringing their tricks and dunks to the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.) later this month.
The Wizards will play against the Arlington Elite, an assortment of school teachers and administrators, parks and recreation staff, police and firefighters, and other community leaders, Friday, Sept. 27 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
During halftime, kids are invited out onto the court to interact with the Wizards players. After the game, Wizards players will be available to sign autographs.
General admission tickets are $13 and $10 for students and seniors purchased in advance. At the door, tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for students and seniors. Courtside reserve tickets, which include a meet-and-greet with two Wizards and a player photo, are $25. Proceeds will go to the Department of Parks and Recreation Office of Teens to support scholarships and local teen programs.
Photo courtesy of the Harlem Wizards
Arlington County has deemed its latest Environmental Collection and Recycling Event (E-CARE) another success.
The event on Saturday attracted 1,239 residents who dropped off 41.5 tons of hazardous household materials and 11.5 tons of electronics for recycling.
The next E-CARE event will be held next spring. This past spring, E-CARE collected 35.5 tons of hazardous household materials and some 20 tons of electronics.
E-CARE is held biannually at Thomas Jefferson Middle School (125 S. Old Glebe Road).
Arlington Latin-American Festival Planned — Arlington County is hosting a Latin-American festival on Sunday in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. “Savor the best of Latino culture at this annual festival with fellow Arlingtonians of all backgrounds in this diverse community,” the county said of the event, which is being held outdoors from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at Thomas Jefferson Middle School (125 S. Old Glebe Road). [Arlington County]
Lawmakers to Tour Housing Site — Four state legislators and three county board members are scheduled to tour permanent supportive housing facilities at the Gates of Ballston apatment complex (4108 N. 4th Street) today. “The tour will demonstrate how the increase in Permanent Support Housing is necessary to meet the Governor’s plan to reduce homelessness by 15% by 2013,” according to the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness, a tour organizer.
Einstein Bagels Coming to Crystal City — An Einstein Bagel outlet is coming to the lobby of the Crystal Gateway Marriott (1700 Jefferson Davis Highway). The bagel eatery is replacing a former Starbucks location.
Hat tip to Googla
This video of a 13-year-old soccer player making an incredible bicycle kick goal at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center soccer field is making the rounds on the internet today.
The player who made the “Rooneyesque” kick is said to be a 13-year-old from the Arlington Civitan club’s U13/14B Bengals squad.
Two years ago a 16-year-old Yorktown High School student made a similar bicycle kick goal that earned him “Goal of the Year” honors from the US Youth Soccer organization.
H/t to Mark Blacknell
Work is getting underway on the upper fields of the Thomas Jefferson Community Center, to address a problem with the light poles.
The fields will be closed from sunrise to 3:00 p.m. for at least three weeks due to the light pole problem, which we first reported on March 9.
Work is already underway at Utah Park, in Fairlington. The park has also been closed due to light pole issues, but is expected to reopen by April 15, the start of the county’s sports season.
Meanwhile, the Powhatan Springs Skatepark will be closed from April 11 to May 27 for repairs to the concrete. The light pole and concrete issues were all found during routine inspections, according to Parks Department spokesperson Susan Kalish.
Utah Park, in Fairlington, and the upper fields at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center, in Arlington Heights, will be closed for at least a three weeks due to problems found with the light poles at each.
“During a regular inspection, it was found that the light poles… need to be replaced to maintain a safe environment for our community,” said Arlington County Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish. “Our goal is to start as soon as weather provides a couple weeks of no rain and 50-degree weather.”
The work will take two to four weeks depending on the weather, Kalish said.
“The goal is to have the fields available in time for the sports season beginning April 15,” she said.