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Nonprofit Bike Shop Plan Picking Up Opposition

A plan to build a new headquarters for Phoenix Bikes has picked up some neighborhood opposition.

Phoenix Bikes is a nonprofit focused on empowering youths by teaching them bicycle repair and entrepreneurship. The organization wants to move from its present cinder block building in Barcroft Park to a new location on county-owned land adjacent to the W&OD Trail, near the intersection of Walter Reed Drive and Four Mile Run Drive.

The new facility will feature education space, public restrooms, a drinking fountain, a water bottle refill station and an air pump.

A second public hearing on the proposal will be held tomorrow, Dec. 4, at the Park Operations conference room (2700 S. Taylor Street). Fliers sent to condo associations around the neighborhood suggest that some residents will be attending to voice opposition to the plan.

“Arlington County plans to remove trees… to build a replacement facility in what is now a wooded area for the nonprofit Phoenix Bikes, which will be used for training teens in bicycle repair,” the flier says. “The facility will provide only 3 parking places and thus its visitors will be parking on streets near your homes. The facility will be lighted until 9:00 p.m. and may provide public bathrooms attractive to drunks.”

Susan Kalish, spokeswoman for the Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation, says it’s too early to determine how many trees would have to be cut down to make way for the facility. She said any trees that are removed will be replaced per county policy.

“It’s way too preliminary to know how many trees are impacted because the exact location of the building, its size or the size of an associated parking lot have not been determined,” she said. “That said, when the building plans are finalized the County will use its standard tree replacement formula.”

The flier makes reference to County Board member Libby Garvey, who sits on the board of Phoenix Bikes. It also accuses Arlington County of not giving enough notice to residents about the first public meeting.

Phoenix Bikes is currently raising money for the new headquarters, which is projected to cost $1 million. As announced today, proceeds from next year’s Crystal City Diamond Derby will be used to help fund the headquarters.

The text of the full opposition flyer, after the jump.

Arlington County plans to remove trees on the east of Walter Reed Drive between Four Mile Run Drive and Randolph Street. They plan to build a replacement facility in what is now a wooded area for the nonprofit Phoenix Bikes, which will be used for training teens in bicycle repair. The facility will provide only 3 parking places and thus its visitors will be parking on streets near your homes. The facility will be lighted until 9:00 p.m. and may provide public bathrooms attractive to drunks.

The County held the first public meeting regarding their intent on November 23rd, with one week’s notice and no publicity. The County refused to reveal the exact size and placement of the facility or the number of trees they will remove–perhaps all trees along Walter Reed up to Randolph St. Though they claim they have no final details they still intend to present their proposal to the County Board by the end of December, 2013. One County Board member is on the Board of Phoenix Bikes and is likely to influence other Board members to approve this site.

None of the standard procedures for notification of the public have been employed in this instance as was the case with the medians installed on Walter Reed. If you are tired of the County ignoring citizen’s rights in South Arlington, we urge you to attend the next public meeting on Wednesday, December 4th at 7:00 pm. The meeting will be held at the Park Operations Conference Room at 2700 S. Taylor Street (Arlington Mill Drive and Taylor St.–the facility is just inside the gate on the right and has “Conference Room” written in large letters).

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