Alcova Heights Park is going to get a face lift.
The county is gearing up to award a $2.8 million contract to upgrade a number of facilities in the heavily used 13-acre park on S. George Mason Drive, a few blocks north of Columbia Pike.
Over the course of the renovations, most amenities will be replaced, some new features built, site circulation improved and more greenery planted to address stormwater management.
These changes aim to address complaints residents had about the park back in 2018, including: poor drainage; unsafe crossing conditions at 8th Street S., which bisects the park; the lack of a bridge over Doctors Run, which flows through the park; and old picnic shelters and bathrooms.
The renovations — expected to begin this spring and take about one year — include:
- a new large picnic shelter and site furnishings
- an improved fire pit area
- a new sand volleyball court
- new stairway entrances to the park at the north and south ends from S. George Mason Drive
- an improved sidewalk and pedestrian crossing at 8th Street S.
- a new lighted basketball court
- new restrooms
- tree and shrub plantings to improve drainage
- improvements to site circulation
Arlington Palooza, an annual event held at Alcova Heights Park that made its debut in 2017, will be relocating for this year due to the work.
“The playground and diamond field are not part of the project and will remain open during construction,” a county report said.
These two park amenities will be replaced as part of a yet unfunded second phase, which will also see the construction of a pedestrian bridge.
Phase 2 can be considered in an upcoming Capital Improvement Plan, according to the county. A timeline for these upgrades has yet to be determined.
The county has budgeted $4 million for all the renovations.
The public process for the project kicked off in 2018. Initially, the county planned to begin renovations in 2020 and finish in 2021. The County Board is now set to consider the construction contract at its meeting this coming Saturday.
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.
Brush Fire in Park Near Columbia Pike — “Firefighters were called to Alcova Park a little after noon today to put out this small fire. No word on cause, but it’s an early season reminder to fully extinguish smoking & BBQ’ing materials before safely discarding them in a metal container & leaving the area.” [Twitter]
‘Walk for the Animals’ Tickets on Sale — “On Saturday, June 8, 2019 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., AWLA invites you to Walk for the Animals and celebrate our 75th anniversary of improving the lives of animals in our community… $35 Early Bird registration until May 1 (includes Walk registration and t-shirt)” [Animal Welfare League of Arlington]
Traffic Enforcement in Clarendon — Arlington County Police conducted “high-visibility pedestrian enforcement at the intersection of N. Highland Street and Washington Boulevard as part of regional @COGStreetSmart campaign” yesterday afternoon. [Twitter, Twitter]
Arlington Resident Wins Lottery — “An Arlington man is $100,000 richer after playing a Cash 5 game he purchased at a store in the Fort Myer Heights neighborhood near Rosslyn recently.” [Patch]
Ebbin, Levine Endorse Parisa — State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) and Del. Mark Levine (D) have endorsed Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, Democratic candidate for Commonwealth’s Attorney of Arlington County and the City of Falls Church. They join several other elected officials, including former Gov. Terry McAuliffe and former County Board member Walter Tejada, in endorsing the challenger in the Democratic primary. [Facebook, Blue Virginia]
Stamos’ Recent Endorsements — Earlier this month Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos announced endorsements from Arlington’s firefighter union and county treasurer Carla de la Pava in her bid for reelection, in addition to a litany of endorsements from other elected and former elected officials. [Facebook, Facebook]
Nearby: Aldi Coming to Bailey’s Crossroads — An Aldi grocery store will reportedly be replacing the former Babies R Us store at 5700 Columbia Pike, while a nearby Safeway store is said to be closing. [Annandale Blog]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
An annual, family-friendly outdoor festival is scheduled to return next weekend with music, dancers, and games.
The 3rd annual “Arlington Palooza” will be held in Alcova Heights Park (901 S. George Mason Drive) from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, April 13.
This year, organizers at the Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation say there will be laser tag, a bouncy house, face painting, and lessons in making flower crowns and pinwheels, among other activities listed on the event’s website.
Four food trucks will serve the festival, including Big Cheese, El Encanto Latino, Little Miss Whoopie and Salou’s Softy.
This year’s musical line-up includes:
- 1-1:30 p.m. — The Sunshine Gang, a classic rock and roll band
- 1:50-2:20 p.m. — Sarah Baumgarten, an H-B Woodlawn student and singer-songwriter who plays the ukulele
- 3:15-3:50 p.m. — The Blue Flames, an five piece Arlington-based rock band
The Sultanas Troupe will perform a fusion of traditional Middle-Eastern and modern dances from 2:40-3 p.m.
The Arlington Art Truck will also join the festivities with a traveling show about electricity by Baltimore artist Neil Feather.
Police will close one block of 8th Street S. between S. Randolph Street and S. George Mason Drive during the event.
The county is warning that parking near the event will be “extremely limited” and is encouraging attendees to find alternative transportation. A spokeswoman for the event noted there will be bike valets, and that scooter company Bird is offering a $5 credit with the coupon code BEFREE.
The department said there will be a “designated drop-off area along S. George Mason Drive near 8th Street S.” for people with disabilities.
Photo via Arlington County
Alcova Heights Park is set to see some renovations next year, and county officials are getting ready to unveil their plans for the park’s improvements.
The county plans to hold a meeting Thursday (Feb. 21) at 7 p.m. at the Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S. Dinwiddie Street) to discuss new designs for the park.
Officials began planning for a refresh of the green space, located at 901 S. George Mason Drive, this past fall and held a few community meetings on the topic.
Though the county will only detail the full extent of its plans at the meeting later this week, proposed improvements include the renovation of the park’s basketball court and lights, as well as its sand volleyball court, according to the county’s website.
The park’s large picnic shelter and restroom could be in for some upgrades, and the county also hopes to add improved signage and landscaping to the area. Improving the park’s drainage and stormwater management will be another key focus of the work, particularly after several residents mentioned muddy conditions at the park in a survey seeking to identify potential improvements.
The county hopes to finalize designs and start construction on the renovation work by the third quarter of 2020, then wrap up that work by the second quarter of 2021.
Eventually, officials plan to overhaul the Alcova Heights playground and diamond field in a second phase of the project, but the county’s current funding squeeze means they aren’t yet sure when they’ll be able to afford that work.
Three separate events will be temporarily shutting down Arlington roads this weekend.
The sixth annual Arlington Festival of the Arts will be held in Clarendon on both Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The event will shut down the following roads from 4 a.m. on Saturday through 9 p.m. on Sunday:
- Westbound Washington Boulevard from N. Garfield Street to Clarendon Boulevard
- N. Highland Street from Clarendon Boulevard to Washington Boulevard
- 11th Street N. between N. Highland and N. Garfield streets only will be open to delivery traffic
Police are advising motorists that street parking will be restricted and that “No Parking” signs will be enforced.
The Discovery/Nottingham Friendship 5K race will be held on Saturday from 7:30-10:30 a.m. According to the Arlington County Police Department, the following roads will be closed during that time:
- Williamsburg Boulevard will be closed to eastbound traffic from Little Falls Road to N. Harrison Street
- Little Falls Road will be closed from Williamsburg Boulevard to N. Harrison Street
- N. Ohio Street will be closed from 26th Street N. to Williamsburg Boulevard
Residents living in the closed-off area will be escorted by police, and are encouraged to park their vehicles in their driveways.
Saturday’s Arlington Palooza, at Alcova Heights Park, will close 8th Street S. between George Mason Drive and S. Randolph Street from 9 a.m.-6 p.m, according to ACPD.
Temporary “No Parking” signs will be placed along George Mason Drive to allow vehicles to load and unload items for the event. Vehicles violating the signs will be towed.
Photos courtesy ACPD
Clement to Face Kanninen Again — “The 2018 Arlington School Board race is likely to be a rerun of 2014. Audrey Clement and incumbent Barbara Kanninen have qualified for ballot access, county elections chief Linda Lindberg told the Sun Gazette, setting up a reprise of their campaign from four years ago.” [InsideNova]
PenPlace Sketches Released — JBG Smith has released new sketches of its planned PenPlace development in Pentagon City. The development includes “two seven-story apartment buildings totaling 300 units, 40,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and a future park.” [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Palooza Set for Saturday — The second annual Arlington Palooza,”a free outdoor program for all ages with live music, art, games and more,” is set to take place Saturday from 1-4 p.m. at Alcova Heights Park. [Arlington County, Twitter]
Arlington Historical Society Getting Donation — Per a press release: “The Arlington Historical Society will receive a significant donation this spring as Arlington welcomes National Capital Bank to the Courthouse/Clarendon area on Wilson Blvd. National Capital Bank President Randy Anderson, who grew up in Arlington, called to inform AHS President Johnathan Thomas that the Society was chosen as one of the charities the Bank will support with a grant award.”
Real Estate Inventory Crunch — “Long & Foster says… the number of houses and condos on the market, in D.C., Loudoun County and Arlington County was down 22 percent in March compared to a year ago.” [WTOP]
Live Construction Cam in Ballston — The new 672 Flats apartment building (an ARLnow.com advertiser) in Ballston set up a live camera to track the construction progress. The camera is viewable online and shows an aerial view of the apartments and a portion of the neighborhood. [OxBlue]