A new vision for replacing the Pentagon Centre shopping center, including the Costco, is coming into focus.
Kimco Realty Corporation revised its plans envisioning the long-term redevelopment of the 16.8-acre site, which were first approved by the Arlington County Board in 2015. Kimco submitted documents articulating these changes — which call for new high-rise residential and commercial buildings — in late December.
“With the redevelopment approvals that have been granted since 2015, and because the Pentagon City Metro Station is contained within the Pentagon Centre block, Pentagon Centre should be part of the intensification of redevelopment — in height, in mix and in overall density — to leverage the significant positive impacts of Metro ridership, job creation and livability here in Arlington County,” per the plan.
Pentagon City has recently been the focus of private redevelopment and county planning initiatives. On the Pentagon Centre site, Kimco has completed the redevelopment of surface parking into an apartment building dubbed the Witmer (710 12th Street S.) in 2019. Another apartment tower, dubbed the Milton (1446 S. Grant Street), is nearing completion.
Elsewhere, the first phase of Amazon’s second headquarters is set to open this summer, and — once economic headwinds change for the company — a second phase with the marquee “Double Helix” building is still planned, though delayed. JBG Smith, meanwhile, plans to redevelop acres of surface parking at the RiverHouse apartment complex into more residences.
Kimco updated its guidelines for redeveloping the Pentagon Centre site because much has changed in seven years. Office demand dropped due to the pandemic, so the real estate company proposes swapping some proposed office space for more apartments. It made changes to align with the 2022 Pentagon City Sector Plan, which guides long-term growth in the neighborhood.
“While we are not part of the sector plan, we thought it was a good time to look at the plan,” Kimco’s Director of Multifamily Development Abbey Oklak told the Arlington Ridge Civic Association during a meeting last week.
The new plans propose two office buildings, down from three, as well as three additional residential towers. Green space increased by about 30%, to nearly three acres, criss-crossed by planted paths, or “green ribbons,” envisioned in the Pentagon City Sector Plan.
Kimco divides the redevelopments into two phases. In the new first phase, S. Grant Street — which currently dead-ends at the southern edge of the mall — will extend through the site as a double-sided retail street.
Existing retail space west of the extended S. Grant Street, including Marshalls, Best Buy and restaurants, would become a pair of towers, one residential and one office, with ground-floor retail and parking.
“We wanted to look at the realignment of S. Grant Street so that Costco could stay,” Vice President of Development at Kimco Greg Reed said. “We’d take the mall down and bring the tenants back if they want to stay, in a different format… and have density above that in the future.”
In the new second phase, the Costco and parking garage on S. Fern Street would become an apartment building, an office tower with a conference center and a mixed-use hotel and apartment building, all with retail at the base.
These changes will not be happening for a while, as Kimco is still signing 10-year deals with retailers in the shopping center with 5-year extension options beyond that, civic association meeting attendees were told.
Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn.
A longtime Arlingtonian has launched a company that seeks to provide a more personalized pooch poop removal service.
Wes Clough, a Gulf Branch resident who is a partner at a handful of local restaurants, founded Poop Patroller this year after running into some service quality issues with his previous pet waste removal company.
“My wife and I, we have dogs, we’re busy and to try and make our lives easier, we had a pet waste removal service for almost 10 years,” he said. “I watched that company get bigger, and in my experience, the service deteriorated.”
He would come home to his gate left open, and one time, his dog got out as a result.
“I thought, there has got to be a better way,” said Clough.
Running Poop Patroller, Clough focuses on customer service by, for example, using software to keep clients updated on the status of the service, including push notifications to confirm that their gates have been closed after the poop is scooped.
While some people cannot fathom the idea of outsourcing this work, he says there is strong interest among pet owners. He compared it to landscaping, with some people firmly in the camp of cutting their own grass and others hiring gardeners as soon as they have a yard.
The company uses compostable bags and donates a percentage of its gross revenue to the Lost Dog & Cat Foundation. Clough, a Yorktown High School graduate, moved back to Arlington after six years in the Navy and says he has watched the nonprofit grow, experiencing the good it does firsthand.
“We have adopted three dogs through them and have donated as well,” Clough said. “It seems like a focused organization that does a good job.”
He says steering some revenue to the nonprofit and using environmentally friendly bags is important because his clientele care about their money going to good causes and companies that share their values.
Running Poop Patroller, his first venture of this nature, is a big departure from being a partner in restaurants, he says.
“I’m finding social media interaction is more important than… before,” he said. “Also, because I’m doing this on my own, versus with partnerships, everything I have to do I have to do myself or hire people to help with startup and business development.”
Currently, the only patroller is Clough, who is able to handle the workload part-time. As he gains more clientele in Northern Virginia and Northwest D.C., he says he hopes he can hire some employees. Today, most of his clients are in Arlington, with a few in Alexandria.
“It would be great to have several full-time employees, I like the idea of creating jobs,” he said. “I’m not in a rush, though, I’m okay with growing organically.”
Update at 9:40 a.m. — The Saturday County Board meeting is underway and 248 people are signed up to speak about Missing Middle. The Board expects to hear speakers today and during its Tuesday meeting before deliberating and potentially voting on Wednesday, according to County Board Chair Christian Dorsey. The Wednesday meeting will start at 4 p.m.
Earlier: The Arlington County Board is set to vote Saturday on zoning changes intended to add housing by allowing greater density in single-family neighborhoods.
The vote is the culmination of nearly a decade of discussion by elected officials that picked up steam after Amazon agreed to come to Arlington.
Since then, the county has taken incremental steps toward increasing housing. First, it allowed accessory dwelling units. Then, in fall 2020, it kicked off the “Missing Middle” housing study.
After more than two years of grassroots advocacy, politicking and vigorous debate — some of it caustic, introspective and divisive — County Board members have a final vote on their weekend agenda. There are no indications, at least as of today, that the discussion will get moved to the Board’s traditional carryover meeting next Tuesday.
The rezoning plan known as Missing Middle has been rebranded and modified in response to some community concerns such as parking, tree canopy, and the pace of development. The county intends it to address the racial, socio-economic and environmental impacts of previous exclusionary housing practices, in addition to allowing more of the moderate density housing currently limited by zoning codes.
Ahead of the vote, a trio of current and former Planning Commissioners, including two architects, published a guidebook with 12 “fixes” they say will help the county meet its goals more effectively. They say the goals of the current proposal are understandable and laudable but they predict numerous problems once the plan is in place.
“We felt that it was important to… not just criticize what the county has, but study what other communities have done and put on the table proposals that address some of what we see as planners and architects as shortfalls in the county plan,” said architect and former commissioner Brian Harner in a meeting of the Arlington County Civic Federation housing committee Thursday night.
The “fixes” range from placing more limitations on height, lot coverage and density to allowing more accessory dwelling units — effectively creating cottage clusters — and building in tools to incentivize affordability and reuse of existing homes, rather than teardowns.
These may come too late, given the vote is set for tomorrow, but Harner chalks this up to the public engagement process once the county had a draft in October 2022.
“The process was teed up in such a way that there was no chance for adequate public discussion,” Harner tells ARLnow.
For instance, the Planning Commission had just over one week to read the document and prepare for three meetings in rapid succession around the Thanksgiving holiday.
“In response, we created the guidebook, hoping to chart a course to a more well-considered EHO,” he continued, using the abbreviation for “Expanded Housing Options,” another term used by the county for Missing Middle. “The Board should pause and improve its proposal before adoption, but if not, we hope our work provides a set of tools to help Arlington get to a better EHO through the follow-on work that will be essential for overall success.”
Specifically, they say the proposal allows buildings that are too tall, too big and too dense, while falling short on affordability, equity, environmental preservation and neighborhood character. The Missing Middle proposal limits multifamily structures on lots to what is currently allowed for single-family detached homes, which the guidebook authors suggested is too big.
“We don’t see it as a zero-sum game where density fights against other qualitative aspects,” Harner said in the CivFed meeting. “We think we can have them both.”
More signs preventing right turns at red lights are going up around Arlington County to reduce crashes.
They were added to long stretches of major arterial streets, including Columbia Pike and Wilson Blvd. The county has concurrently reprogrammed walk signals to give pedestrians a head start crossing the street.
These changes are being made to eliminate crashes that are fatal or result in serious injuries, the aim of its two-year-old traffic safety initiative known as Vision Zero.
“This is a win for pedestrian safety benefit,” said Chris Slatt, a member of Sustainable Mobility for Arlington, which has advocated for more of no-turn-on-red signs in areas with many pedestrians. “You would want to be safe to walk and not have to worry about driving through crosswalk.”
Some drivers have anecdotally reported congestion and longer idling times to ARLnow.
“Seems like these signs cause a lot of cars to sit and idle at intersections longer than they used to,” notes one tipster. “They also generally gum up traffic.”
County documents note there have been safety benefits seen in areas with high pedestrian volumes. Additionally, a focus group of elderly adults appreciated the red light restrictions.
The county’s view is that any reasonable trade-off is worth it.
“Although traffic may slightly increase at times due these safety interventions, the trade-off is a safer environment for our most vulnerable users — pedestrians and bicyclists,” Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Katie O’Brien said.
During Vision Zero’s second year, per a report, the county has been adding no turn on red signs on:
- Columbia Pike from the county line to Washington Blvd
- Fairfax Drive from N. Glebe Road to N. Kirkwood Dr
- Clarendon Blvd from N. Highland Street to Ft. Myer Drive and Wilson Blvd
- Wilson Blvd from N. Glebe Road to Fort Myer Drive
Year 2 of Arlington’s Vision Zero plan wraps up this spring.
The county says it has also grown the number of signalized intersections with a 3-7 second head start for pedestrians from 31 to 77 during Year 2. Studies show this change can reduce pedestrian-vehicle collisions by up to 60%.
As of March 2022, the county had no-turn-on-red signs at 147 approaches — each point of an intersection — after adding signs at 35 approaches in Year 1 of Vision Zero, per a May report.
Priority intersections for these changes include those with many pedestrians and bicyclists, restricted sight distance and a history of turn-related crashes, according to a “Vision Zero toolkit” of traffic safety treatments.
Arlington joins other states and municipalities, including D.C., phasing out the right-on-red at busy intersections. A number of studies have shown right on red decreases safety and restrictions improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
"Washington, D.C., will end most right-on-red turns by 2025. Already, the state of Hawaii has prohibited them on a tourist-dense stretch of road in Honolulu. The city of Berkeley in California is considering banning right on red at all intersections." https://t.co/zF0etmTtTr
— The War on Cars (@TheWarOnCars) March 10, 2023
Right on red was legalized 50 years ago to prevent idling and save gas during an oil embargo proclaimed by oil-exporting Arab countries, according to the county. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 required states to allow right turns on red to receive certain federal funds.
“Unfortunately, the country has been experiencing the trade-offs of right on red turns ever since,” the county said in the Vision Zero toolkit.
(Updated at 3:45 p.m.) Plans to redevelop the Americana Hotel in Crystal City with apartments could get final approval next month, Arlington County says.
“The County is targeting April for full Planning Commission and Board review, but that is subject to change,” Dept. of Community Planning, Housing and Development spokeswoman Erika Moore told ARLnow.
JBG Smith proposes to demolish the former hotel at 1400 Richmond Hwy and build a 19-story, 639-unit apartment building with 3,885 square feet of ground-floor retail. If approved next month, construction could wrap up in 2026 or 2027, a company representative said in a Site Plan Review Committee meeting last month.
Up to this point, JBG Smith has overcome sloping terrain and maneuvered future development plans for neighboring sites and Route 1, which the Virginia Department of Transportation plans to lower. Per the meeting discussions, the developer is spending the remaining time before final review ironing out transportation and sustainability elements.
The building will have 188 on-site residential and visitor parking spaces. JBG Smith proposes setting aside 206 spaces for residents at the nearby Bartlett Apartments, which is a quarter-mile away. County code allows property managers to provide spots on other properties they own up to 800 feet away, says Kedrick Whitmore, an attorney for the project.
Some SPRC members differed over whether this would be a burden.
“One of our group members in that situation, they lived in a place and had off-site parking, it was so hard every time they had shopping to get from one place to another,” said Pedestrian Advisory Committee Secretary Pam Van Hine. “How are you going to mitigate that?”
Also speaking from experience, Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt said his first apartment after college had off-site parking about the same distance away.
“It was occasionally annoying but otherwise not a big deal,” he said. “We all know how much parking costs to build. If it means you are 100 bucks a month under rent because it’s annoying, I would happily take that if I were fresh out of college.”
Malcolm Williams, an associate with JBG Smith, said the Bartlett garage is three-quarters full and use will likely decrease with additional transit usage.
(The county is expanding bussing in the area via the extension of the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway, while advocates of an at-grade Route 1 want to see more walking, cycling and scooting along the urban boulevard.)
The building will also target younger people working at Amazon or other nearby companies who are less likely to own cars. To Van Hine’s point, however, Williams did acknowledge the need for additional managerial effort.
“Anytime you have shared parking, it’s going to require heavy touch from the onsite property manager to make sure that drop offs and things of that nature are managed efficiently… and it’s legible for people,” Williams said. Read More
The next batch of neighborhood-level improvement projects is headed to the Arlington County Board for approval.
These include installing new LED streetlights along 35th Street N. in the Rock Spring neighborhood, fixing a missing sidewalk link along a street in Alcova Heights, and improving two parks — one in South Arlington and one in North Arlington.
The four were winnowed down from nearly 60 prospective projects. Of them, one — improvements to Baileys Branch Park in Columbia Forest — meets new equity criteria that the Arlington Neighborhoods Program says it has started using to evaluate worthy projects.
For three decades, this program has served as a community-driven process by which residents can identify small-scale infrastructure projects that are vetted and then recommended to the Arlington County Board for approval. A long-standing criticism has been that this process favored wealthier neighborhoods where residents had the time, resources and connections to be more civically engaged.
Last year, the Arlington Neighborhoods Advisory Committee struck “conservation” from its name, saying it connotes exclusivity, and added equity criteria to how it evaluates projects. At the start of this year, the Arlington County Board welcomed these changes to “embrace equity.”
The new criteria are two-fold: first, whether the neighborhood has a high population of people of color, and second, whether it has high rates of poverty and lower rates of higher education, homeownership and English proficiency.
“The equity considerations are a work in progress and will be evaluated and refined as needed over time,” per the report.
More details about the project are as follows.
- 35th Street N. from Little Falls Road to Williamsburg Blvd, in Rock Spring, is going to get new, “cobra-style” LED streetlights for $268,710. Road safety is a particular concern in this part of residential North Arlington. This stretch is a few blocks from where Washington-Liberty High School student Braylon Meade was killed by a teen accused of drunk driving.
- Bailey’s Branch Park (990 S. Columbus Street), a 2-acre park with a playground and green space in Columbia Forest, will get $750,000 in improvements, including the removal of invasive plants, additional native trees and plantings, new site furnishings and park signage.
- After invasive plants are removed from Thrifton Hill Park, new site furnishings, a picnic shelter and potentially, a dog run will be added. This will cost $985,000. The park at 2814 23rd Street N. in the Maywood neighborhood has trails and provides access to Custis Trail.
- A missing sidewalk link, with crosswalks and ramps that are accessible to people with disabilities will be installed along a 200-feet stretch of 7th Street S., near where it curves and intersects with 8th Street S. in the Alcova Heights neighborhood. This street improvement will cost $342,741.
The recommended projects went through the standard public engagement process for Arlington Neighborhoods Program, according to the county report, described as a “collaborative effort that seeks input from residents and civic associations on concept designs.”
The Rock Spring and Alcova Heights projects went through a two-step petitioning effort for affected residents and received the necessary support to qualify.
“The Columbia Forest and Maywood park projects were approved by their civic associations at one of their advertised meetings,” the report says. “All four civic associations continue to support each of the projects in their respective neighborhoods.”
(Updated at 1 p.m. on 03/21/23) Arlington County is looking to buy its first home for flood prevention.
The county has entered an agreement to buy the home at 4437 18th Street N. in the Waverly Hills neighborhood for $969,200, according to a staff report to the Arlington County Board.
The Board is set to review and approve the agreement during its meeting on Saturday.
The single-family home and detached garage is located in the Spout Run watershed, which has been hit hard by recent flooding events, such as the floods seen in July 2019. It will be torn down and the property will be replanted to serve as “overland relief,” at a cost of around $350,000.
Overland relief is a safe flowpath for flood waters to the nearest stream or storm drain during a large storm event. (An earlier version of this story incorrectly explained overland relief.)
Arlington County is looking to step up its mitigation efforts in response to severe weather events. While the 2019 flood has been described as a “100-year flood” — or a flood that has a 1% chance of happening each year — some research suggests these may occur more frequently due to rising sea levels and more frequent and severe storms, which are linked to climate change.
As part of this effort, last year county staff sent letters of interest to 38 properties in parts of the Waverly Hills and Cherrydale neighborhoods where overland relief is “an essential element” to manage extreme flooding, the report says. Funding for this voluntary property acquisition program was included in the adopted one-year 2022 capital improvement plan.
“The County will pursue acquisitions of properties whose owners are willing to sell to the County, and whose properties would allow for greater access to existing stormwater infrastructure for potential future upgrades, provide overland relief during periods of intense rainfall,and other future engineering solutions,” it says.
“Several” owners have indicated interest in selling to the county, the report added.
ARLnow last reported that there is some interest among residents in selling, while a number of others say that uprooting their families would come at too high a cost.
We were also told several had unanswered questions about the process and how these properties will be managed. One concern is that a piecemeal acquisition process would result in a “checkerboard” of homes and blighted-looking properties.
That “checkerboard” could result in “community fragmentation, difficulty with providing municipal services, and inability to restore full floodplain functionality,” and is one reason local governments may have a hard time getting enough community support for buyouts, according to a Congressional Research Service report.
Other reasons include the potential impacts on property values and housing stock and fears of displacement, it says.
Still, people are more likely to be interested in selling after a major flooding event.
“Buyouts are often a politically unpopular option unless there is a particularly catastrophic event that changes people’s willingness to move and creates unified state and local support for relocation,” the report noted.
Other research shows that property buyouts are one of the most effective tools at the disposal of local governments to combat frequent flooding.
“At their best, they provide a permanent solution,” according to Pew Research. “Effective buyouts prevent future damage, make people safer, and ideally protect entire neighborhoods or communities. Moreover, once bought-out properties become natural open space, they can provide an added benefit of absorbing additional stormwater, further reducing flooding and helping to conserve habitats.”
A battle over how to improve public confidence in county government has driven a wedge between two large community organizations in Arlington.
The Arlington branch of the NAACP is leaving the Arlington County Civic Federation after a bitter battle over two resolutions intended to recommit the local government to the “Arlington Way.”
The clash came to a head last night (Wednesday) when delegates to the federation of civic groups voted 75-32 for a resolution, introduced by some former CivFed presidents, that included harsh criticism of county processes.
The NAACP had proposed a milder substitute resolution, focused on improving public engagement.
The tussle is downstream of two shifts in Arlington. The first occurred amid the racial reckoning of 2020, which resulted in CivFed pledging to be more diverse. The second occurred as Missing Middle, the proposal to allow greater density in single-family home neighborhoods, laid bare issues many residents say pervade civic engagement.
“A few years ago, the NAACP joined CivFed in a good faith attempt to assist the organization evolve, transform and grow; however, our organizational mission, vision, and values don’t seem to align well,” NAACP President Mike Hemminger said in an email shared with ARLnow. “We wish the CivFed the very best in the future.”
He said the NAACP has appreciated the chance to engage with members in recent years.
“Our sincere prayer is that your organization will one day accomplish the diversity, equity, inclusion and sense of belonging that so many are craving from leader organizations in the community,” he said.
CivFed President John Ford said he was disappointed to learn of the NAACP’s decision last night, especially after 98% of members voted for its admission to the federation in 2020.
“CivFed and NAACP continue to share many goals, and the many associations and warm, respectful relationships we have built with our NAACP colleagues will endure,” he said in a statement. “We hope they may seek to rejoin us in the future. And I am certain that the two organizations will continue to collaborate in many areas for the benefit of all Arlingtonians.”
While there is one overt reference to Missing Middle, long-standing criticisms of this zoning amendment permeate the text and its 100-plus footnotes, including one resolution.
It urges the County Board to adopt a policy “preventing implementation of plans, policies or projects (new major initiatives or revisions) in the absence of a thorough and data-supported analysis of the potential and cumulative impacts.”
The NAACP instead urged the county to invest “more resources in comprehensive planning and developing a more sophisticated, data-driven toolkit for anticipating, addressing, and communicating likely impacts from County policies.”
The original resolution ruffled feathers of other community groups, too, including YIMBYs of Northern Virginia, a group advocating for more housing that has been vocal in the push for Missing Middle housing in Arlington.
In its own statement, the group said an appendix to CivFed’s motion is a “100-page laundry list of personal attacks, vague accusations of dismissiveness by County staff and Board members, unfounded insinuations of conflicts of interest by Advisory Group appointees, plus multiple direct attacks on YIMBYs of Northern Virginia.”
Local teachers union Arlington Education Association is vying to become the exclusive collective bargaining representative for public school staff.
Arlington Public Schools educators, led by AEA, will hold an election to certify AEA as the official union for teachers and support staff. Currently, the membership-based organization advocates for employees but cannot guarantee benefits through legally binding contracts.
The forthcoming election would reinstate collective bargaining after more than 40 years without it, according to a press release from the AEA sent yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon.
“The time has come,” said AEA president June Prakash in a statement. “No more decisions about us, without us.”
The Arlington School Board unanimously approved collective bargaining last May, becoming the second school system in Virginia, behind Richmond, to do so. The Virginia General Assembly repealed a ban on unionizing in 2020.
The road since has been rocky. Last fall, some AEA members said they were taking more time to review language in the resolution and were stymied by a communication breakdown between staff and administrators. At the time, only school administrators had elected a bargaining unit.
The next step forward for AEA will be providing APS with its 20-day notice for a union election.
In a statement, AEA Collective Bargaining Committee Chair Juan Andres Otal said collective bargaining will make a positive difference for students and employees of APS.
“Collective bargaining is our opportunity to have a voice in improving our working conditions, compensation, and benefits. We can’t wait any longer for more planning time,” Otal said. “We can’t wait for a wage that keeps up with the cost of living.”
AEA said in its release that it is grateful to the educators and community leaders who “show up and fight for” school employees and students.
“While there is still much work to do before securing a contract, educators acknowledge and celebrate this achievement for the historic moment it is,” the union said.
The statement added:
We know we will ultimately prevail with your ongoing support, leadership, and commitment to what is right. Our schools must acknowledge that to recruit and retain the best, the division must offer better conditions to all employees. We will continue to press forward and ensure our schools remain strong for our community, our educators, and most importantly, our students.
AEA is itself recovering from recent controversies. Earlier this year, former president Ingrid Gant was arrested for embezzling approximately $400,000 in funds from the organization she led for six years, before she and her executive board were ousted. AEA’s national affiliate, the National Education Association, temporarily took the helm.
Prakash became president last year after working as a kindergarten teacher in APS for six years. Since then, she has advocated for better pay and working conditions for employees and more respect from the School Board.
Earlier this month, she called out APS for telling bus drivers to pick up trash. She has also advocated for more equality in raises in the proposed 2023-24 schools operating budget.
“Two things can be true: We can love our jobs and our students, but also, we can demand to be paid what we’re worth,” Prakash said at the March 2 School Board meeting.
(Updated at 11 a.m.) The namesake of Maury Park in Virginia Square is Matthew Fontaine Maury, a pioneer of oceanography and a Confederate commander during the Civil War.
The park’s name could change, however, if renaming is included in a planning and renovation process slated to begin at the end of 2023.
“It is likely that the renaming of Maury Park may be considered during its upcoming master planning process, similar to other park renaming efforts,” Jerry Solomon, a spokeswoman for the Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation, tells ARLnow.
References to Maury have been removed over the last few years, prompted by the racial reckoning catalyzed by the murder of George Floyd by police officers. Last week, the U.S. Navy announced it will rename the oceanographic survey ship USNS Maury.
In July 2020, a statue of Maury in Richmond was removed after the mayor ordered the removal of all Confederate statues on city property.
Maury Park (3550 Wilson Blvd), a small green space behind the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington, formerly the Arlington Arts Center, may be next. The old school building that has housed the arts center since 1977 was renamed in 1944 to honor Maury.
Arlington does not currently have a process for surveying all county structures for potential renamings, but DPR considers name changes as parks and facilities come up in the renovation cycle, Solomon said.
Through the renovation process, the county renamed Henry Clay Park to Zitkala-Ša Park — at the suggestion of the Lyon Park Citizens Association — “in order to honor the prominent author and activist from the indigenous community as opposed to a known owner of slaves,” Solomon said.
Maury Park is one of three urban parks in the Virginia Square Planning Area and in the Ashton Heights Civic Association, including Herselle Milliken Park and Gum Ball Park, set for upgrades in the near future.
“The project will master plan all three parks simultaneously to identify community needs and priorities while taking into consideration that the parks are located in close proximity and should have complementary rather than duplicative features,” per the Capital Improvement Plan.
Citing the county’s renaming policy, Solomon said, “renaming will be considered if a valid justification for the renaming is provided, the name change will not cause undue confusion with the community, and an appropriate level of community support exists.”
There are no plans to officially rename the building, according to Cynthia Liccese-Torres, the coordinator for Arlington County’s historic preservation program. The school is known interchangeably as the Clarendon School and the Maury School, though it has long been identified by the Arlington Arts Center, now the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington.
Signage referring to Maury was replaced with signage for the Arlington Arts Center before 2008 during building renovations, she said.
Born in 1806 in Fredericksburg, Maury joined the U.S. Navy in 1821 and was promoted to lieutenant in 1836, according to a county webpage for the Arlington Arts Center building, which it calls the Clarendon (Maury) School. He served as superintendent of the Navy Department’s Depot of Charts and Instruments from 1842 to 1855 and from 1858 to 1861.
In the 1850s, he worked on a project to “resettle slaves from the U.S. to the Brazilian Amazon as a way to gradually phase-out slavery in the U.S.,” an effort that “ultimately went nowhere,” according to a blog post by the Library of Congress.
“Maury was neither a slave-owner nor a proponent of slavery,” the post said. “Nevertheless, in declining to fight against his native Virginia, Maury resigned his post and joined the Confederate Navy, initially to direct coastal and river defenses and develop naval mine technologies to use against the Union.”
He ended up spending most of the war abroad, “hoping to persuade Europeans to support the Confederate cause and bring the war to a quick end,” the Library of Congress post said.
According to Arlington County, Maury served as commander in the Confederate Navy and later as its secretary.
Following the end of the war, Maury remained abroad for several years before taking a professorship in meteorology at the Virginia Military Institute, in Lexington, where he would teach until his death in 1873.
(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) As more parents and caregivers grapple with substance use addiction among youth, they are increasingly turning to the juvenile justice system as a last resort.
Over the past year, there has been upwards of a 100% increase in the number of petitions being made for court-ordered services, such as drug treatment, according to Hon. W. Michael Chick, Jr., a judge with the Arlington County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
He noted “a dramatic increase” in Child in Need of Services or Supervision petitions, “CHINs” for short, filed by parents. These days, most are related to fentanyl.
“They are coming to the court to say, ‘We’re desperate, please save my child,'” he said in a video message to parents shared during a panel discussion on drugs last night (Monday) hosted by three high school Parent-Teacher Associations and the Arlington County Council of PTAs.
“They are children with severe substance addictions and they’re desperate,” said Chick.
“To have kids come in front of you, asking for a treatment program and you’re not able to provide it — to have a kid beg you to put them in detention to save them from themselves — it’s heartbreaking,” he continued, reinforcing reports that youth are effectively detoxing in the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center in Alexandria.
There have been at least seven juvenile overdoses in Arlington County this year, including the death of 14-year-old student Sergio Flores after a fatal overdose at Wakefield High School. Following his death, teachers, parents and School Board members have called on Arlington Public Schools and all of county government to do more for children.
A slew of school– and community-sponsored panels have brought together first responders, counselors and addiction specialists and prosecutors to educate parents. The most recent was held last night at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, featuring a live panel discussion as well as pre-recorded messages, drawing some 200 virtual and in-person attendees.
An emerging theme at these meetings is the role of parents. The panel was as an outlet for a handful who shared first-hand observations as well as obstacles they face obtaining resources for their kids and getting through to them, with some panelists suggesting different ways parents can step up.
One mother shared how her daughter recently attempted suicide twice, part of a mini-rash of student deaths and attempted suicides this school year, and how long it took to schedule meetings with the right school officials to obtain accommodations to keep up with her schooling.
Michelle Best, who co-facilitates a parent support group through the local branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, empathized with how hard it can be for parents to receive services from the public schools in these situations.
“There’s a lot of information that could be better given to parents, out there in a better way,” she said.
A few panelists put the onus on parents, including Deputy Chief Wayne Vincent, the leader of the ACPD Community Engagement Division, who encouraged parents to tip the police to known drug dealers.
“I can’t tell you how many times, when I’m in our community, I hear, ‘Wayne, how do you not know who’s dealing? Everybody knows,'” he said. “Here’s a flash. No, not everybody knows. The police don’t know. There are so many ways you can help identifying who they are.”