Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
As ARLnow.com reported in March, the Arlington County government is considering “long standing space issues” at the Trades Center.
The Trades Center is an approximately 38-acre complex located at the intersection of S. Arlington Mill Drive and S. Taylor Street. Arlington County owns approximately 32 acres of the site and approximately 6 acres are owned by APS.
The Trades Center complex consists of multiple buildings and utility structures used for various so called “back office” Arlington County government operations. The County departments that use the site include DES, DPR, ACPD, and ACFD. APS occupies space for bus storage and other facilities and operations.
A current aerial view of the Trades Center site is here.
As the County told ARLnow:
[T]he “siting of operations and offices developed when space was abundant. Now, room for growth is limited given the developed surrounding area, while service levels have increased in size and complexity”…
The Trades Center optimization study
To address its pressing space issues, the County just launched what it describes as a “Trades Center Optimization Study” designed to analyze existing programs and current and future programmatic needs.
The study is supposed to benchmark the County’s current programs and practices against those of similar municipalities. The study is intended to:
- develop a concept plan to optimize business functions and operations on the site
- present three alternative concept site plans
- develop a cost estimate for the chosen site plan, with phasing of identified priorities over a 5 to 15-year period
The County says that the study will engage internal and external stakeholders and utilize feedback from stakeholders to inform recommendations.
The County has retained Stantec, a major consulting firm, to advise it about aspects of the study. According to a draft of the scope of work, Stantec will provide recommendations on a wide range of matters, including:
- meet all current and future (next 15-30 years) programmatic requirements
- incorporate co-location and “building up not out” principles
- focus on core functions that must reside at the Trades Center
- consider only the current footprint
- mitigate impacts on neighbors to the extent possible
Promising things about the study
The County deserves credit for including these promising concepts in the study design:
- long-range planning horizon (15-30 years)
- request to present a minimum of 3 concept plans rather than just one
- early introduction of costs into the equation
This study presents a welcome opportunity for the County to improve on its prior practices regarding long range planning and civic engagement.
Challenging things about the study
The Trades Center study will be undertaken against the background of Arlington’s official plans for substantial population growth and development.
Arlington County government is planning for its population to grow from 226,400 in 2019 to 287,600 by 2040. APS is planning for its student enrollment to grow 24%, or 6,600 students, by 2028.
These County departments and APS cannot be allowed simply to refer to these expected growth statistics as the only justification needed to expand operations at the Trades Center or other sites. To the contrary, each also needs to explain in full and transparent detail exactly how and why these growth statistics translate into specific quantitative requirements for operations that must be conducted on this site.
How about the steadily growing number of APS school buses parked on this site?
- how many today out of total?
- how many planned for 2028 out of total?
- should high school students ride ART buses instead?
The optimization study also presents an opportunity to decide whether some operations currently performed by the County should be terminated. The site should be able to accommodate changes in services the County provides and how it provides them.
Every Arlington resident is an “external stakeholder” in this study’s success.
Every critical assumption made by any County Department, APS, or the consultant must be transparently disclosed and explained.
All residents must be provided sufficient advance notice and opportunities to comment on all these critical assumptions before they are finally adopted.
This study is promising. Its potential can only be realized by appropriate civic engagement.
Peter Rousselot previously served as Chair of the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission (FAAC) to the Arlington County Board and as Co-Chair of the Advisory Council on Instruction (ACI) to the Arlington School Board. He is also a former Chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee (ACDC) and a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA). He currently serves as a board member of the Together Virginia PAC-a political action committee dedicated to identifying, helping and advising Democratic candidates in rural Virginia.
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Synetic Theater Camps are a wildly fun, highly accessible choice for young people who love moving, playing games, and making memories. Registration is open now for Summer Camps (sessions June 20-August 25) and there are even a few spots left for Spring Break camp, April 3-7.
Located in National Landing, these performance-based camps are designed for students of all ages – no theater or performance experience required.
Led by professional teaching artists, campers learn acting, movement, and technical theater skills through the lens of Physical Theater. Physical Theater incorporates acting, movement, dance, mime, and acrobatics. If you’ve seen a Cirque du Soleil performance, you’ll find many similarities.
Most first-time campers are new to the performing arts, and teaching artists are well-versed in engaging students at all levels. Parents and campers report that one of the best parts of Synetic is the community, with many families returning year after year because they feel a strong sense of belonging.
EDBS Dental Billing Solutions is pleased to announce that it has achieved compliance with the federally mandated standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) through the use of Compliancy Group’s proprietary HIPAA methodology, The Guard® compliance tracking software, and HIPAA Seal of Compliance®.
The HIPAA Seal of Compliance is issued to organizations that have implemented an effective HIPAA compliance program through the use of The Guard, Compliancy Group’s proprietary compliance tracking solution.
Clients and patients are becoming more aware of the requirements of HIPAA compliance and how the regulation protects their personal information. Forward-thinking providers like EDBS Dental Billing Solutions choose the HIPAA Seal of Compliance to differentiate their services.
“Since the nature of our business being exclusively remote, we take HIPAA compliance very seriously. With the help of Compliancy Group, we are able to take steps to fortify our systems to protect PHI information and familiarize each employee about HIPAA and how we can further safeguard PHI data.” said EDBS Dental Billing Solutions founder Goldie De Leon.
WHS Spring Festival
Join us at the WHS Spring Festival on April 22, 2023, from 10am- 3pm at Wakefield High School(main parking lot). Come out to shop, play, and eat!
Shop local vendors, arts & crafts, new and used items, food vendors/trucks, and
District 27 Toastmasters 2023 Virtual Conference
District 27 Toastmasters invites you to its annual conference where you can hear phenomenal speakers, attend professional development and personal growth seminars about leadership, negotiation, communication, teamwork, and mentorship. Learn how to develop your personal story and how to improve