Hope was recently appointed to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Task Force on School and Campus Safety, which was created in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The task force has been charged with making recommendations regarding improvements to school safety practices at K-12 schools and at colleges and universities. Such improvements may include expanded use of school resource officers or security guards, new state or local programs or policies, and improvements to Virginia’s mental health system.
From 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, interested parents, students and residents are invited to discuss school safety with Del. Hope at the Wakefield High School auditorium (4901 S. Chesterfield Road). Hope will give an update about the work of the task force and listen to concerns and recommendations from the audience.
Hope said the discussion will be wide-ranging, and may incorporate topics beyond the scope of the task force. For instance, the task force was not charged with making recommendation regarding firearm policies, but Hope said guns may still be discussed.
“I don’t see how you can talk about safety in classrooms without talking about gun control… It’s a little like talking about trying to cure lung cancer, but you can’t talk about smoking,” Hope told ARLnow.com. “If you really want to solve the problem, you can’t leave gun control aside.”
Hope said he will likely hold at least one more town hall meeting before the task force concludes its work this summer. The task force’s relatively short time frame, he said, is the reason the controversial topic of gun control was not included in its agenda.
Construction on the Long Bridge Park Aquatics, Health and Fitness Facility is expected to begin this fall.
The $80 million facility is to be built just north of Crystal City in Long Bridge Park. IT will feature a 50 meter by 25 yard fitness and competition pool, a family leisure pool, a hot water therapy pool, a “teaching pool,” and a “free-form water play area that will… have a lazy river, slides, play features, and a zero-depth ‘beach’ entry.”
“It is expected that the design will be completed in late spring with construction bids being sought in the early summer,” Arlington County Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish told ARLnow.com on Friday. “It is anticipated that the County Board will award a construction contract in the early fall with construction starting in late fall. After two years of construction the opening of the Facility and park is expected in the fall of 2015.”
The operating costs of the facility are estimated to be $3.2 million per year, some $2 million to $2.8 million of which will be offset by revenue generated by usage fees, memberships and snack sales.
A second phase of construction on the facility is also planned. That phase will result in an addition to the facility, featuring amenities like a gym, an exercise facility, a climbing wall, an indoor track, racquetball courts, and meeting rooms.
The second phase of the Aquatics, Health and Fitness Facility has yet to be included in the county’s Capital Improvement Plan, and is likely more than a decade away.
“A time frame for design or construction is not projected prior to calendar year 2023,” said parks department Planning Supervisor Erik Beach. So far, there’s no cost estimate for the second phase of the facility.
The first neighborhood town hall will be held at the Drew Community Center cafeteria, at 3500 23rd Street S. in Nauck. Residents will have an opportunity to voice their opinions or ask questions about any topic, while County Board members listen.
“As part of my ‘Moving Forward Together’ agenda, I am looking forward to hearing from the community in this informal setting, where people can speak their minds directly to County Board members, and get answers,” Tejada said in a statement. “Arlington is always at its best when we are listening to each other and sharing ideas.”
The town hall meetings will be held once a month, except August and December, in various locations around Arlington. The meetings will start at 6:46 p.m. and end at 9:00 p.m. The unique start time was chosen so “people would remember it better,” according to a county spokeswoman.
The February town hall will be held at the Lee Community Center (5722 Lee Highway) on Wednesday, Feb. 27. The March meeting will be held at Kenmore Middle School (200 S. Carlin Springs Road) on Wednesday, March 27, and will be focused on one topic: the proposed Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar systems.
“It is expected that all five Board members will participate,” the county said in a press release. “They will provide a detailed update on the planned streetcar system, respond to questions from the community and discuss next steps.”
“The Board decided several years ago, after a lengthy public process, to build a streetcar system that will help us handle expected growth, encourage high-quality development, and better connect us to the regional transit network,” Tejada said in a statement. “With streetcar planning now underway in earnest, this is a good time to update residents, business owners and anyone else who is interested, answer questions, and talk about next steps. This is a conversation meant to help us ‘Move Forward Together.'”
The schedule of town hall meetings for the rest of 2013 is available on the Arlington County web site.
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)
Construction is underway on two residential buildings near the Courthouse Metro station.
“19Nineteen Clarendon” is a new 200-unit luxury apartment building that, despite the latter half of its name, will be located at 1900 Wilson Blvd in the Courthouse area. It replaces what was formerly a Hollywood Video store and a small office building.
The new building’s ground floor in now in place and the remainder of the structure’s five stories will soon follow. According to the 19Nineteen Clarendon web site, the building is expected to open this summer.
Just up the street, on the same “superblock,” a construction pit marks the future location of “2001 Clarendon.” Also known as “Washington View,” the project features 154 residential units — planned as condos — and 32,840 square feet of retail space.
As part of the project, the developer will construct an extension of N. Troy Street between Clarendon and Wilson Boulevards, thus breaking up the superblock between Courthouse Road and Rhodes Street.
Water Main Work Complete — Arlington County crews completed repairs on a 30″ water main near Arlington Boulevard and N. Irving Street Friday. As of Saturday, parts of the county that experienced low water pressure as a result of the repairs were back to normal service, according to the Department of Environmental Services.
New Asst. Superintendent Appointed — The Arlington School Board has appointed a new Assistant Superintendent of Instruction. Connie Skelton, a 22-year APS employee who started her career as a middle school science teacher, has been appointed to the position effective immediately. She replaces Dr. Mark Johnston, who was one of numerous senior APS staffers to depart since 2010. [Arlington Public Schools]
Vote on New Williamsburg School Expected Feb. 7 — School Board members are expected to vote on the concept for a new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus on Feb. 7. The $43 million school project has attracted scrutiny from Fairfax County due to possible traffic impacts. [Sun Gazette]
Fmr. CIA Officer Sentenced — John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer who lives in Arlington, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison. Kiriakou pleaded guilty in October to intentionally disclosing the identity of a covert CIA agent to a journalist. [U.S. Dept. of Justice]
‘Unleashed’ Open at Pentagon Row — Unleashed by Petco, a new pet store, has opened at Pentagon Row (1101 S. Joyce Street). The store offers “everyday pet essentials along with top-shelf natural, raw, organic, dehydrated and freeze-dried nutrition.” [Petco]
Arlington was one of the only local school systems to not close early on Friday due to the threat of snow. It’s now the only school system inside the Beltway to close today; D.C., Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Alexandria are all on a two-hour delay.
Meanwhile, with the federal government on a delayed opening, traffic volume on local roads and highways is very light.
No major accidents have been reported so far in Arlington.