More Funding Requested for Clarendon Plaza Improvements

by Katie Pyzyk December 7, 2012 at 1:15 pm 4,455 50 Comments

Although the overdue project to revamp the Clarendon Metro Plaza is expected to be completed this month, there’s a request for the County Board to approve funding for additional improvements.

In May, the Board approved a contract worth more than $760,000 to the Fort Myer Construction Company. The project involved improving the area around the Clarendon Metro station and part of the nearby park with new landscaping, irrigation, seating and ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps. The construction was originally estimated to be finished before Clarendon Day in September, but the expected completion is now sometime this month.

The already approved upgrades end near the center of Clarendon Central Park near the Metro elevator. The new funding request is for more than $197,000 to allow Fort Myer Construction to begin improvements on the western part of the plaza. The county staff report states that not continuing westward with the construction “would create a disjointed appearance to the park.” It further states the contract extension “will allow the entire Clarendon Central Park to be visually unified while bringing the west end of the park into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.”

The main improvements to the west end would be to replace existing pavers with ADA-compliant, smooth rolling concrete surface pavers that will match those on the east end. The war monument at the far west end would not be affected, but the area surrounding it would be re-worked. The paved area approaching the monument would be flattened to improve accessibility, and a mulched bed would be installed around two existing trees. Additionally, the proposed project would replace existing curb ramps and benches, and upgrade the irrigation system.

County staff said approving the additional funding now would allow Fort Myer Construction to begin the next phase of improvements immediately after completing the improvements already underway. That would cut down on costs due to the contractor’s materials and equipment already being on site.

Staff members recommend the County Board approves the funding and contract extension at its meeting tomorrow (Saturday).

  • MrMeow

    Maybe the can pass a prius tax or fund such projects?

  • Boogle Head

    It’s mind boggling to me the amount of money that is spent on various projects around the county. $760,000 to put in new pavers on that island? How do companies come up with these figures, and does the county have someone that checks to make sure the prices are fair?

    • JamesE

      I’m fine with this, as long as they also upgrade Ballston/VA Square/Courthouse’s metro plazas as well.

    • Captain_Obvious

      how else are they gonna pay for 6 guys to stand around and watch 1 guy drill ?

      • bobbytiger

        Only 6 guys? Must have been lunch time. when you were there.

    • drax

      “$760,000 to put in new pavers on that island?”‘


      Read the article. It’s for alot more than that.

  • WeiQiang

    OK, I’ll bite. How about eliminating the disjointed appearance – and functionality – in Virginia Highlands Park? How about not even STARTING the Spraycation Station by the library until the generally crappy conditions of the park are remediated? The lighting project – nevermind half the lights must be replaced – on the tennis courts has been sitting uncomplete with dilapidated orange construction barrier at the site, while the hill on which the electrical boxes were being worked on is eroding down the hill. The picnic area around the tennis walls is awash in silt and mud when it’s wet. All the grounds around the all the playing fields are dirt and weeds. /rant

    Please pile on … (insert name of neighborhood park) has needed (insert name of unmaintained facility or broken equipment) for (insert #) years. My (insert name or type of family member) can’t play (insert name of sport, except bocce).

    • myhood

      +1000. You saw, I assume, the orange fencing that just went up in the general vicinity of the tot’s playground? I susupect that’s for the spray ground project. Why, for the love of god, do you start a water park project in DECEMBER? I also agree whole heartedly on your list of the projects that really need completion in that park. Did you see the light pole that snapped off and then lay there, exposed wiring and all, for at least a week. Talk about a hazard. The lighting project at the tennis courts on the side of the hill is the WORST.

      • drax

        Why not start it in December?

      • yerafool

        Why, for the love of god, do you start a water park project in DECEMBER?

        So it will be ready by SUMMER.

      • WeiQiang

        The timing of project start concerns me because the hardscape work is sensitive to freeze/thaw cycles. Variations above and below an optimal range of cement cure temperatures could delay the project. Nothing saying you can’t start in Dec, but it’s a little risky (= more cost). If they started in, say, March, I suspect there would be less risk and they could still offer Spraycation Station to all the County’s Senior Citizens who will jet across the parking lot from the AH Senior Center (sans acquatique features) to fire water cannon at each other.

  • YTK

    Am I not mistaken in that the church right around the corner has a food pantry that could REALLY benefit from that $760,000 — instead of this Clarendon overkill????

    • Arlingtoner

      Am I not mistaken, that church doesn’t pay taxes…so they can use that money that everyone else would need to pay to go towards their food pantry + all the the other generous donations families give.

      • Quoth the Raven

        Yes, clearly that church is getting rich off all of those taxes they aren’t paying.

      • YTK

        Arlingtoner, Am I not mistaken that I was so impressed by your reply I almost plotzed.

        • Arlingtoner

          my post was tongue-in-cheek, while yours insisted Arlington would be better off donating money to a church than putting it towards a project. props for using ‘plotzed’ in a post tho.

      • bdog375

        Further, the donations they receive is typically tax-deducted from the donator’s income. Thus, their money is often not taxed on two different occasions.

  • elf_dad

    I’m very glad that Arlington county passes most its bond inititives and glad we have nice parks etc. But When I saw they’d cut all/most the trees down at that Metro stop adn were tearing it up to redo it, I thought “oh boy was that really necessary”, maybe it needed some improvements but that seemed extreme. Now that I see the price just for additional funding, it saddens me that the county so seldom operates with a little restraint in terms of spending public funds. I also feel the new aquatic facility that recently passed has a huge pricetag and I am not in favor of that either – – just too expensive. Especially given that all the HS pools just got amazing new swimming facilities. http://www.arlnow.com/2012/12/07/more-funding-requested-for-clarendon-plaza-improvements/#post-comments

  • Doug

    I’m confused, were the improvements to the west side of the plaza not included in the original proposal? If so, why not? If they were, why has Ft Myer Construction not been able to stay within budget?

  • elf_dad
  • 1RLI

    “The county staff report states that not continuing westward with the construction ‘would create a disjointed appearance to the park.’”

    Did the county staff not realized when the project was initiated that not contuing westward would create a disjointed appearance? Either they didn’t think, or they didn’t care. Either way…

    • CW

      It really makes no sense. The only thing I can think of, and this is only a “reasonable” line of thought in government-land is that, when they contracted the project, they had X amount of money to spend (e.g. in some subsection of that year’s budget), and so they agreed on whatever scope that amount would buy.

      • 1RLI

        You’re probably right…banking on the arguement that the rest of the park would HAVE to be done so as not to be half-a$$ed.

        • CW

          Actually, looking back through the document that someone else linked, I am thinking that it might have had to do more with the fact that the original project was officially for a Metro plaza, and thus involved all of the trappings of a WMATA project – there were Metro funds and a WMATA engineer involved. My guess is that Metro would only allow the scope to go so far beyond the bounds of the Metro station if they were going to be involved. Now the County, by itself, is left to finish the job. How’s that sound?

    • Civil Servant

      I boggles the mind that it was necessary to add to the scope of the contract in this limited area – why was it that it wasn’t included in the original design?

      In answer to a question above, all of this work is controlled by Virginia’s public procurement process which requires low bid contracting – so this was competitively bid. However, this additional work is going to be done just with an estimate from the existing contractor. IF the County had done its diligence and properly scoped the work to begin with, it is very possible the entire project could have been done for less…but we’ll never know.

    • drax

      Yes, that’s very strange. Could ArlNow figure this out? Why wasn’t it all done at once?

    • Hasdrupal

      So right. Why not run for election and raise the level of intelligence on the BOARD 50 percent.

  • Wishful Thinking

    Awesome, we have a Central Park just like NYC! Who Knew? Clarendon Central Park must be HUGE seeing how it has a West and East end. How many acres does this Central Park cover?

    • YTK

      hahahahahahaha – and Clarendon Central Park has a zoo too.

      • DCBuff

        Clarendon too=rats.

        • DCBuff

          Clarendon ZOO=rats. Oops.

    • drax

      “Central Park” is like Main Street or Elm Street – there are many of them, even if only a few are famous.

    • WeiQiang

      wait a minute … i was roundly rebuffed when i questioned the re-design of Quincy Park, that was referred to as Central Park. and I was, like, THAT’s not Central Park because it’s not central. and they were, like, it’s next to the Central Library so it makes PERFECT sense. now they’re, like, Central Park is in Clarendon. NArls just make stuff up.

      from hereon, the center of my front yard is Central Park … it already has a canine community feature.

      • myhood

        And a lovely canine community feature it is.

      • Buckingham Beauty

        Perhaps you can apply to the county for $760,000 in improvements to your front yard, then?

  • Oh Well

    These new seats and other improvements will go a long way to making the homeless people feel more comfortable.

    • Josh S

      Talk about seeing the glass as half-empty…..

  • mouse

    are they also going to get rid of all the rats that live just to the west of the metro elevator? seriously, go over there like an hour or two after dark, can’t miss em running around.

    • cat

      Thanks for the “heads up”

  • Deadite

    The million dollar median.

    • DCBuff

      Only $79 mil more and you can have a world-class swim theme park in the median.

  • tom smart

    The county staff report states that not continuing westward with the construction “would create a disjointed appearance to the park.”

    Did anyone ask the real question? Why didn’t they think of this before the project began? The real answer is they do this intentionally knowing that they will get the money later.

    how about the new baseball field at W&L High School? No sign up about the work. It’s like they do this without saying a thing to anyone. it’s just amazing how we keep electing these bafoons year after year.

    • CW

      As i mentioned above, my guess on why it was only partial before was because it was a joint venture with metro.

  • Mayor West

    where’s the gold Dig em statue.

  • spendthrift

    Boy, that kind of money would sure buy a lot of textbooks for the high schools that always seem unable to have sufficient books for students.


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