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County’s New Capital Plan Tees Up Dozens of Projects For Funding

A boathouse, a library in Crystal City and a new Metro entrance in Ballston are some of the projects Arlington County is looking to fund over the next three years.

These projects are part of County Manager Mark Schwartz’s proposed $1.25 billion, three-year Capital Improvement Plan, slated for adoption this summer, which includes a long list of investments, from renovating and building community amenities to upgrading county technology.

“In this CIP, we were able to make more investments than we anticipated at this time last year, but our county — and our residents — are still facing longer-term economic uncertainty and this plan was built with that reality in mind,” Schwartz said in a statement last month. “My proposal takes a more constrained approach that will continue to bridge us through the next year of budget deliberations and economic recovery.”

Normally, the county plots out the next 10 years’ worth of projects but the pandemic derailed that kind of long-range planning. The county aims to use the three-year plan as a bridge to return to a 10-year plan for 2023-2032, according to a release.

Stormwater upgrades area slated to get $96 million in funding, including $26.8 million for the Spout Run Watershed, $16.7 million for the Cardinal Elementary School Stormwater Detention project and $5.4 million for the Ballston Pond Watershed Retrofit.

Other highlights include:

  • Early planning for a community boathouse on the George Washington Parkway shoreline in Rosslyn, $800,000
  • Ballston-MU Metrorail Station West Entrance, $67.8 million
  • Phase two of renovations to Alcova Heights Park, including updates the restrooms and the basketball court, ~$1.7 million
  • A new library in Crystal City, ~$1.2 million
  • Two parks in Crystal City, at 15th Street S. and at S. Clark and S. Bell Street, ~$4.6 million
  • Arlington National Cemetery Wall Trail Project, from Memorial Avenue to a new Columbia Pike interchange, ~$25.1 million

Arlington is looking to fund the design phase for a public boathouse, which has been a topic of discussion for more than 20 years. Arlingtonians will be able to vote on this expense as a bond referendum in November.

The long-stalled Ballston-MU Metro West Entrance, at the intersection of Fairfax Drive and N. Vermont Street, is also slated to get funding. The $130 million project is in its design phase and slated to be built by 2026.

In a letter explaining the CIP, Schwartz said the county is investing more in improving transportation and parks and open space in Crystal City as the area develops and Amazon continues to move in.

“With the increasing rate of redevelopment in the National Landing area, I have asked staff to convene a near-term review of the parks and open space plans, learning from the 22202 Livability Initiative, with the objective of being ready for a more comprehensive discussion as part of next spring’s 10-year CIP,” Schwartz said. “In addition, Arlington County is committed to supporting public infrastructure improvements in National Landing.”

Starting this fiscal year, the county will also use a portion of property tax revenues in Crystal City, Potomac Yard and Pentagon City to pay for infrastructure improvements, including the Army-Navy Drive Complete Street project and the design phase of the pedestrian bridge to Reagan National Airport.

Other transportation projects include the Crystal City Metro Station East Entrance and improvements to bus stops, particularly along Columbia Pike, which the plan said serves “the highest bus ridership of any corridor in Northern Virginia.”

Crystal City will also get a limited-service library as early as 2024 as part of an agreement with developer JBG Smith. The county will use community benefits contributions to build a library at 1900 Crystal Drive, where the developer will lease 7,200 square feet of space.

The county is taking advantage of county employees working remotely to partially renovate the local government building at 2020 14th Street N. The offices of the Fire Marshall and Battalion Chief will relocate here, freeing up the county to one day start building a new Fire Station 4 in Clarendon.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have experienced transformational change in how our office-based workforce perform their work,” Schwartz said. “We are beginning to evaluate how space needs to be transformed to accommodate more telework and whether further consolidation can occur.”

A public hearing about the CIP will be held on Tuesday, June 29. The County Board is scheduled to adopt the plan on July 17.

This November, voters will have the chance to consider $62.5 million in bond referenda, including:

  • $20.7 million for Metro
  • $17.5 million for road paving
  • $2 million for future Neighborhood Conservation projects
  • $9.73 million for renovations to the Arlington courts and police building in Courthouse, including adding courtrooms, chambers and technology infrastructure
  • $5 million for renovating the Bluemont Park tennis court complex

Overall, the proposed CIP includes $6 million for funding for future improvement projects identified by individual neighborhoods after a review determined the “Neighborhood Conservation” program needed more funding.

There will also be an approximately $23 million school bond on the November ballot. The Arlington Public Schools three-year Capital Improvement Plan is slated for approval by the School Board later this month.

Beyond bond issuances, other sources of funding for the county CIP include state and federal funding, developer contributions, and “pay-as-you-go” funding from county tax revenue.

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