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UPDATED: New Caps Banner Above Columbia Pike Prompts Community Consternation

Update on June 7 at 10:30 a.m. — Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization officials say they’ve struck a deal with the Capitals to resolve this dispute.

Each group will now post a banner above Columbia Pike, one facing east and one facing west. They believe a contractor for the Caps inadvertently disposed of the old CPRO banner, and the team plans to replace it, at no cost to CPRO.

“We are happy that CPRO and the Washington Capitals were able to come together and make things work for both organizations,” John Snyder, president of the CPRO board, wrote in a statement. “The Pike community loves the Caps. We invite the Caps family and fans to join us at the Blues Festival on June 16th — and hope they bring along the Cup!”

Earlier: A new banner stretching over Columbia Pike proclaiming that “Arlington is All Caps” might not seem out of place, given the D.C. region’s hockey obsession these days — but the arrival of the pennant has ruffled a few feathers, all the same.

As recently as this past weekend, a banner hung from the same streetlight poles in front of the Audi dealership at 3200 Columbia Pike advertising the Columbia Pike Blues Festival, set for next Saturday (June 16). The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, known as CPRO, puts on the event and arranged to have that banner placed in such a prominent spot.

CPRO leaders say they were quite confused to see their pennant disappear in favor of the Washington Capitals-themed decoration, as they believed they had a permit from Arlington officials to leave the banner up a bit longer. But the Capitals themselves also believe they have the county’s permission to post the pennant, leaving CPRO at a loss.

“It could’ve been a snafu, we don’t know,” Cecilia Cassidy, CPRO’s executive director, told ARLnow. “It could’ve just been Stanley Cup fever.”

Megan Eichenberg, the Caps’ manager of communications and publicity, insists that the team has a county permit to post the banner. She declined to answer questions about when the Caps applied for and received that authorization, or what became of the banner, deferring comment to the county.

A spokeswoman for the county’s zoning office didn’t immediately have answers on the matter, saying only that staffers are looking into it. Cassidy added that CPRO has been in contact with the county about the issue, but has yet to hear more details.

Michael Garcia, an insurance agent with an office on the Pike and a CPRO board member, says the group’s chief concern isn’t in seeing the Caps banner come down, especially with the team on the cusp of its first-ever Stanley Cup. He is, however, interested in learning what became of the $1,800 banner.

“Has it been trashed? Or will it be returned to CPRO?” Garcia wrote in an email to ARLnow. “Who will reimburse CPRO for the $1,800 banner and cost of re-installation? And who authorized this without notifying CPRO in the first place?”

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