Arlington, VA

Aspire! Afterschool Learning is planning to open its new facility in the Arlington Mill Community Center.

A ribbon-cutting celebration of the new program is planned for 4:30 p.m. on Thursday (June 6), according to a press release.

Aspire! launched a campaign in 2016 to finance a 7,300 square-foot expansion. The expansion ultimately cost $1 million.

“Words can’t express how thrilled and grateful we are to achieve this amazing feat, thanks to the incredible generosity of our partners, donors, and supporters,” said Aspire! Board Chair Steve Manlove in the press release. “This truly has been the most amazing public-private partnership between Aspire! and Arlington County, with invaluable support [of sponsors].”

The summer camp at the facility is planned to open on July 1 for 120 children. Aspire!’s Learning ROCKS! Program for upper-elementary students is planned to return in the fall.

“Aspire!’s new home at the Arlington Mill Community Center is the next step in a great partnership with Arlington County,” said Jane Rudolph, Arlington County director of Parks and Recreation, in the press release.”As a permanent fixture at Arlington Mill, Aspire! will continue to empower students through their after school and summer programs and bring energy and inspiration to this well-loved intergenerational community center.”

Photo courtesy Aspire! Afterschool Learning

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(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) Phoenix Bikes, a local nonprofit and community bike shop, has officially moved. The shop started moving yesterday from its Four Mile Run location into a new home inside the Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S Dinwiddie St).

Meg Rapelye, executive director of Phoenix Bikes, said the shop is planning to open next week. The exact date is still pending an approval of a certificate of occupancy, but an official ribbon cutting is planned for next Wednesday (Sept. 12).

The new location is three times the size of the former Phoenix Bikes shop. Rapelye said the crew at the shop was most excited to have an air conditioning unit and some indoor plumbing, amenities that weren’t available at the small Four Mile Run workshop.

According to Rapelye, the new location is also closer to many of the youth communities the store serves and can help bring some revitalization to the western end of Columbia Pike.

The nonprofit’s mission is to promote bicycling, build community and educate young people by running a mentorship program for students looking to learn more about repairing and selling bikes. It just marked its 10th anniversary last year.

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Arlington Mill Community CenterAn educational event focusing on the transgender community is scheduled for tonight (March 28) at the Arlington Mill Community Center.

Roxanne Edwards, vice president of the Transgender Education Association of Greater Washington (TEAGW), will be hosting the discussion starting at 7 p.m., according to Nicholas Englund, the Arlington Mill Senior Center director. The event is free and open to the public.

Topics of conversation will include transgender community concerns and how to be an LGBT ally, including vocabulary, etiquette, and additional resources. A question and answer session will be part of the discussion.

The event is part of the AGLA speaker series, according to an online event posting. AGLA — the Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance — is a “nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit open to all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) people and straight allies.”

File photo

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The Arlington Mill Community Center gym will be closed for floor maintenance today (March 15) through March 19.

The gym will reopen on March 20, according to an Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokesperson, adding that there wasn’t much programming this week that is affected by the closure.

Everything else at the community center, including the fitness room, will remain open.

While the repairs themselves are minor, the gym floor — which was replaced this fall — has to be “cured,” according to the spokesperson, and that takes several days to dry. The maintenance is a proactive measure, and there wasn’t any noticeable problem or lack of smoothness before the maintenance began.

Photo via Arlington County.

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(Updated at 6 p.m.) A free movie series is returning to Columbia Pike this summer, with a showing of a music-oriented film every weekend from June 1 through Sept. 1.

The series, called “The Music of the Movies: Oscar Scores and Classic Musicals,” will screen the films outdoors on Fridays at the Arlington Mill Community Center and Saturdays at Penrose Square.

The film series is sponsored by the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) and the Signature Theatre.

Signature is thrilled to support the 2018 Columbia Pike Movie Nights, which will bring the magic of great classic musicals to the big screen for free to the Arlington community this summer,” said Eric Schaeffer, the Signature Theatre’s artistic director, through a CPRO press release.

Several movies will be classics like Grease, West Side Story, and The Sound of Music, but movies as recently-released as the Pixar-produced Coco will be screened as well.

Here’s the 2018 movie series schedule:

  • June 1 — Grease (Arlington Mill)
  • June 2 — Hairspray (Penrose Square)
  • June 8 — Chicago (Arlington Mill)
  • June 9 — The Color Purple (Penrose Square)
  • June 15 — Into the Woods (Arlington Mill)
  • June 16 — Dreamgirls (Penrose Square)
  • June 22 — Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (Arlington Mill)
  • June 23 — O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Penrose Square)
  • June 29 — Batman (1999) (Arlington Mill)
  • June 30 — Batman (1989) (Penrose Square)
  • July 6 — Mary Poppins (Arlington Mill)
  • July 7 — Dick Tracy (Penrose Square)
  • July 13 — The Sound of Music (Arlington Mill)
  • July 14 — The Sound of Music (Penrose Square)
  • July 20 — Toy Story (Arlington Mill)
  • July 21 — Singin’ in the Rain (Penrose Square)
  • July 27 — Coco (Arlington Mill)
  • July 28 — Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Penrose Square)
  • Aug. 3 — Jailhouse Rock (Arlington Mill)
  • Aug. 4 — The Music Man (Penrose Square)
  • Aug. 10 — Beauty and The Beast (1991) (Arlington Mill)
  • Aug. 11 — Beauty and The Beast (1991) (Penrose Square)
  • Aug. 17 — Young Frankenstein (Arlington Mill)
  • Aug. 18 — Young Frankenstein (Penrose Square)
  • Aug. 24 — West Side Story (Arlington Mill)
  • Aug. 25 — West Side Story (Penrose Square)
  • Aug. 31 — The Wizard of Oz (Arlington Mill)
  • Sept. 1 — The Wizard of Oz (Penrose Square)

Photo via Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization

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Morning Notes

Lost Hikers Found Near Chain Bridge — Two men who had apparently been hiking along the Potomac River got lost and had to call emergency dispatchers after one of them fell and hurt himself. The call came in around 2:30 a.m. this morning. Arlington, Fairfax County, D.C. and U.S. Park Police units helped to search for the men — Fairfax used its police helicopter — and eventually they were found and transported to the hospital. [WUSA 9]

Video: ACFD Responds to FC Vehicle Fire — A minivan caught on fire in Falls Church over the weekend and a camera was rolling as Arlington County firefighters arrived to extinguish the blaze. [Twitter]

Holiday Decorations Going Up — Around Clarendon yesterday — and perhaps in other parts of the county as well — lights, window paintings and other festive decorations were being put up in anticipation of the holiday season. [Instagram]

Arlington Mill Gym Floor Installed — The new gym floor has been installed and is ready to use at the Arlington Mill Community Center. The gym’s previous floor had to be removed due to water damage stemming from a March snow storm. [Twitter]

County Announces Human Rights Award Winners — Among the recipients of Arlington County’s 2017 James B. Hunter Award winners are: Signature Theatre’s Eric Schaeffer; the Building Bridges community initiative; Saint George’s Episcopal Church and its refugee advocacy; Café Sazón and its support of immigrant rights; and Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City, which is considered the only gay bar in Northern Virginia. [Arlington County]

Reporter Accused of Unwanted Advances in Local Bar — New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush has been suspended following accusations that during his time at Arlington-based Politico, he made unwanted sexual advances at young, female colleagues while drinking at a Rosslyn bar. [Vox]

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A sign near the Arlington Mill Community Center marking one of the early skirmishes in the Civil War will be unveiled this weekend.

The ceremony is set for Saturday, November 11 from 11 a.m. to noon at the center at 909 S. Dinwiddie Street. Members of the Army of the Potomac Living History Society portraying Union soldiers will provide a color guard, and a short video will be shown to show the Civil War history in the area.

“On June 1, 1861 one of the early skirmishes of the Civil War occurred near Arlington Mill when Union pickets were attacked by a handful of Confederate soldiers,” an announcement reads. “After a brief fight, the Confederates fell back. One Union soldier was killed.”

Courtesy image

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Arlington Mill Community Center pre-opening Flickr photoA farmer’s market could return to the Arlington Mill Community Center next spring, with organizers planning to operate it on Saturdays.

The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization is proposing reviving the market at the center at 909 S. Dinwiddie Street, having decided to close it in 2014 due to a lack of customers. It would be open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and be one of two along Columbia Pike.

Originally, the Arlington County Board approved a permit for a market in July 2014, and it began the following month, opening each Wednesday from 3-7 p.m. But CPRO decided to close the market that October, citing a lack of sales, and “reassess the needs for a successful re-launch of the open-air/farmers market,” staff wrote in a report. Its permit expired in July 2016.

CPRO believes the new day and hours will attract more customers, and staff wrote it will benefit those along Arlington’s western end of Columbia Pike. They added that the Arlington Mill Civic Association, Columbia Forest Civic Association, Douglas Park Civic Association and Barcroft School and Civic League all expressed their support for the market.

“The proposed open-air market is strongly supported by the surrounding community and will provide a community amenity to the residents and this portion of Columbia Pike,” staff wrote.

Staff’s report on the plan recommends the County Board advertise a public hearing on the market for next month.

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Water damage from a March winter storm has prompted the replacement of the gym floor at the Arlington Mill Community Center.

Staff first noticed water damage to the wooden gym floor in late spring. They investigated, and found that water leaked into the building after the snow on March 14, according to a spokeswoman for the Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services.

“Given the heavy gym use for the Department of Parks and Recreation Summer Camps, the decision was made to replace and repair beginning September 2017,” the spokeswoman said. “The work is expected to be completed by October 31 with the gym reopening November 1. The damage is being paid for through the facilities maintenance fund, but we are in the process of reporting it to the County’s insurer.”

A number of programs at the gym will be impacted while the work is completed. Per a county flyer:

  • “Pickleball players are encouraged to use Walter Reed Community Center (2909 S. 16th Street, Arl. VA 22204) while the gym floor is being replaced.”
  • “Family Nights @ The Mill will be relocated to the Carver Community Center (1415 S. Queen St., Arl. VA 22204) and Teen Nights will return to Arlington Mill in November.”
  • “Pint-Sized Indoor Playtime, basketball, futsal and volleyball participants are encouraged to check-out our county-wide Community Center Drop-in Activities Schedule.”
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Local nonprofit Phoenix Bikes will rent space in the Arlington Mill Community Center after the Arlington County Board unanimously approved a five-year lease Tuesday night.

Phoenix Bikes will lease just over 1,800 square feet of space for its bike repair shop on the center’s first floor at 909 S. Dinwiddie Street. It will also rent office space on the fourth floor and some storage space.

The nonprofit, which lists its mission as promoting bicycling, building community and educating young people, celebrated its 10th anniversary this year.

It moves into first-floor space that had been vacant since the center opened in 2013. Phoenix Bikes had previously planned to build an education center along S. Walter Reed Drive near the W&OD Trail, but ran into significant opposition from nearby residents concerned about tree removal, parking and unsavory people visiting the public restrooms.

“This is a great location for Phoenix Bikes and a great way for the county to fill vacant retail space at Arlington Mill,” County Board chair Jay Fisette said in a statement. “Phoenix Bikes’ award-winning program of mentoring youth through bicycle repairs and sales will thrive in this high-visibility location on the west end of [Columbia] Pike. We’re happy to have them.”

Phoenix Bikes has one year from the execution of its lease to build out its retail space, and 21 months to build out its office space. It will pay just under $9,000 a year in rent. It is estimated the build-out will cost $170,000.

Phoenix Bikes executive director Meg Rapelye said the new space will help the organization add to its programming and help serve more people.

“We are so grateful for Phoenix Bikes’ new home at Arlington Mill Community Center,” she said in a statement. “This move is the most significant event in Phoenix Bikes’ 10 years of existence and will dramatically increase our organization’s capacity to serve the community. We look forward to augmenting the afterschool and summer teen programming the Center currently provides and helping activate Columbia Pike’s West End.”

Courtesy photo

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It promises to be a busy few months for local nonprofit Phoenix Bikes as it celebrates 10 years since its founding.

The organization — which lists its mission as promoting bicycling, building community and educating young people — marks its 10-year anniversary today.

It will celebrate on Thursday night from 6:30 p.m. with its Makers’ Ball at 1750 Crystal Drive. The evening will include music, food, drink, an auction of art and other hand-made craft, a bicycle showcase and more.

Later this year, Phoenix Bikes will take center stage once again as it hosts this year’s Youth Bike Summit on October 6-8 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City.

The summit is geared toward youth, bikes, education, advocacy and leadership, and it features a number of workshops and seminars as well as keynote speakers and networking.

“By creating a space where voices of all bicyclists can be heard, the Youth Bike Summit fosters an inclusive national dialogue that addresses the issues, rights, and concerns of all bicyclists,” Phoenix Bikes posted on its website.

Phoenix Bikes currently is located in Barcroft Park, where it provides its community bike shop to help recycle, mend and repurpose used bicycles. But before the end of the year, the organization will relocate to the ground floor of the Arlington Mill Community Center. Such a move has supporters very excited.

“It is an exciting step for Phoenix Bikes, the youth they serve and our Arlington community,” County Board member Libby Garvey, also a Phoenix Bikes board member, wrote in an email to supporters.

Photos via Facebook

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