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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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Columbia Pike outdoor movie (photo via CPRO)Starting Saturday, the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) will begin its annual showing of outdoor movies.

From June 4 until September 17, movies will be shown every Saturday in Penrose Square and movies will also be shown on Thursdays from August 11 to September 15 at the Arlington Mill Community Center.

All movies will begin around 8 p.m. or when it gets dark. Seating is limited, with patrons encouraged to bring their own chairs. In the event of inclement weather, updates will be posted on the CPRO website along with its Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Penrose Square schedule is as follows.

  • June 4: Spongebob Squarepants: A Sponge Out of Water
  • June 11: The Martian
  • June 18: Belle
  • June 25: The Fault In Our Stars
  • July 2: Juno
  • July 9: Fantastic Four
  • July 16: The Book Thief
  • July 23: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • July 30: Moulin Rouge
  • August 6: Joy
  • August 13: All That Jazz
  • August 20: The Devil Wears Prada
  • August 27: The Princess Bride
  • September 3: Spotlight
  • September 10: That Sugar Film
  • September 17: Water

The Arlington Mill schedule is as follows.

  • August 11: Kung Fu Panda 3
  • August 18: Maze Runner: Scorch Trials
  • August 25: The Sandlot
  • September 1: The Peanuts Movie
  • September 8: Brooklyn
  • September 15: He Named Me Malala
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Morning Notes

Tree in bloom in Fairlington

Arlington Man Killed in Motorcycle Accident — An Arlington man died Saturday after his motorcycle skidded out of control while he was trying to get on northbound I-395 from Route 236, near Landmark Mall in Alexandria. Altankhuyag Saintur, 26, was pronounced dead at Inova Fairfax Hospital. [Washington Post]

Firefighters Battle Blaze in Cherrydale — Arlington County firefighters were able to quickly extinguish a house fire on the 4000 block of Vacation Lane in Cherrydale early Saturday morning. No injuries were reported. [Twitter]

Shamrock Crawl Arrests — There were no major incidents during Saturday’s Shamrock Crawl in Clarendon, but nine people were arrested for drunken behavior. The Arlington County Police Department maintained a significant presence at the bar crawl — paid for by the organizers — which kept unruliness to a relative minimum. [WJLA]

Another Grocery Store for the Pike? — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey would like to attract another food option for the western end of Columbia Pike, at least for the two years between when the Food Star store closes for construction and another grocery store opens in its place. [InsideNova]

Two Programs Planned at Arlington Mill Center — Arlington County has agreed to lease 9,400 square feet of third-floor space in the Arlington Mill Community Center to two local children’s programs: Aspire! After School Learning and Jane Franklin Dance. Aspire! will have 18 months to raise the funds to build out and lease the space, under a Letter of Intent signed with the county. [Arlington County]

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Syrian Refugee Blanket and Coat Drive (via Arlington County)Arlington County is joining a national effort to collect blankets and coats for Syrian refugees in Turkey.

The drive started on Saturday and will run through Dec. 4, collecting new or gently used blankets and winter coats for donation.

There are two locations in Arlington where residents can bring items to donate:

Donated items must be clean and neatly folded. Sheets will not be accepted.

Arlington’s neighbor to the south, Alexandria, is also participating in the blanket and coat drive. According to Arlington County, more than 40,000 blankets have been collected in Northern Virginia over the past two years.

Photo via Arlington County

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Morning Notes

Power lines along Four Mile Run Drive

Greenbrier Learning Center Gets New Home — Facing the loss of its lease at the Greenbrier Baptist Church, the Greenbrier Learning Center has found a new home. The center, which provides after school enrichment to children, will be based at the Arlington Mill Community Center, after the Arlington County Board on Saturday approved a partnership with GLC. [Arlington County]

State, County Incentives Lured Lidl — German discount grocery chain Lidl is setting up its U.S. headquarters in Arlington, near Potomac Yard, and creating 500 jobs in the county. The decision was made after Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe offered $7 million in economic development grants and Arlington County offered $7.5 million in infrastructure improvements and tax breaks, including half off Lidl’s Business, Professional and Occupational License tax. [Washington Business Journal]

Australian Restaurant Eyes August Opening — Oz, a new restaurant coming to the former La Tagliatella and Restaurant 3 space in Clarendon, is expected to open by the end of August, according to a help wanted ad on Craigslist. [Patch]

Rescue on GW Parkway — Arlington County’s technical rescue team helped to rescue a person who fell down a steep embankment along the GW Parkway’s second overlook Sunday night. The victim was loaded on to a fire boat and then transported via an Arlington ambulance to a local hospital for treatment. [Twitter]

Drew Students Make Music Video — A group of 10 Drew Elementary students are getting some local media recognition for a music video they made. As part of an extracurricular project on self-image, beauty and bullying, the group made a video set to Selena Gomez song “Who Says.” [WUSA 9]

Tree Down After Storms — A large tree fell in Towers Park during yesterday’s storms. [Twitter]

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Arlington Mill Community Center(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) The cafe space in the Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S. Dinwiddie Street) is likely to remain vacant for even longer, after Arlington County is planning to terminate another signed lease.

After signing coffee shop and eatery “Root” to a 10-year-lease in January, the Arlington County Board will vote this weekend to terminate that lease. County staff say the cafe’s owner, Alami Abderrahim, said he could no longer operate the restaurant after paying for an emergency surgery for his mother.

Root is the second cafe the county had signed to fill the restaurant space, and the second that has had to back out. Pan American Cafe was originally signed as the tenant for the 1,875-square-foot space in summer 2013, but asked out of its lease that November, citing family and personal health reasons. The County Board terminated its lease in April 2014.

"Root" cafe logoIt took nine months to sign another restaurant tenant in Root, and again took less than six months before the tenant backed out. Abderrahim never received keys to the space, the county said, and never paid his rent or security deposits. Staff says he has not returned calls since March.

If the County Board signs off on the lease termination this week, staff will again look to court a tenant for the cafe space it envisioned as a healthy, fast options for users of the community center, which opened in September 2013.

When Abderrahim signed the lease in January, the county estimated Root would open in late 2015, partly because of nearly $300,000 in HVAC services the space still needs. There’s no estimate for when it could sign another tenant, or when that would open.

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Morning Notes

Tulips at the Netherlands Carillon (Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen)

Downed Wires Close the Pike — Columbia Pike was closed in both directions between S. Greenbrier Street and S. Dinwiddie Street this morning due to a tree that brought down live wires. The road was expected to remain closed for several hours. [WTOP]

Planning Still Underway for Pike Transit — Columbia Pike residents are becoming impatient for Arlington County to complete the planning of new transit options for the corridor, following the cancellation of the streetcar project. However, a plan is not expected until 2016. County Board member John Vihstadt, who helped to scuttle the streetcar project, told a public forum last week that he wants the county to speed up its processes “but frankly I don’t know if we can.” [Washington Post]

Arlington Mill Project Wins Award — The Arlington Mill Community and Senior Center has won a 2015 Urban Land Institute Washington Trends Award for “Excellence in Housing Development.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool by Brian Allen

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Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) held a roundtable discussion on the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act today at Arlington Mill Community Center.

McAuliffe and Beyer joined federal Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell to host about a dozen healthcare professionals, customers, legislators and healthcare business leaders and talk about the impacts of the ACA, also known as Obamacare, and the future of Medicaid expansion in Virginia.

“This is Virginia, the birthplace of our nation in 1607,” McAuliffe said. “We have a responsibility [to expand health insurance coverage].”

Dels. Patrick Hope and Alfonso Lopez were in attendance, as were state Sen. Barbara Favola and Arlington County Board member Walter Tejada. Hope pointed out that an expansion of Medicaid in Virginia would immediately cover 5,000 Arlington residents.

“We have got to solve this problem in Virginia,” Hope said.

Much of the discussion centered around the impact felt by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, not the absence of an expanded Medicaid. Beyer told a story about a worker at his car dealership who, before the ACA’s passage, couldn’t put his sick wife on health insurance because she had a pre-existing condition. The ACA made it illegal for insurance companies to deny insurance based on pre-existing conditions.

“I really think the Affordable Care Act will be remembered as the most significant moral legislation of the early 21st century,” Beyer said. “There was the Emancipation Proclamation, women’s suffrage, Social Security and now the Affordable Care Act.”

Burwell touted numbers that she say prove the ACA has started to accomplish its goals. Since 2010, 16.4 million fewer Americans are uninsured, she said, and hospitals saved $7.4 billion in 2014 in uncompensated care costs — what happens when a patient cannot afford to pay their medical bills.

Still, Burwell said, more than 60 percent of the uncompensated care savings came from states that have approved Medicaid expansion. That’s money McAuliffe said would go back into the Virginia economy if the legislature were to approve his recommendation.

“Talking to governors from states that have expanded, it’s not only given them healthcare, it’s a huge job creator,” he said.

McAuliffe pushed hard to get the Republican-controlled General Assembly to pass Medicaid expansion during its legislative session, but his attempts failed — partly, he said, because of GOP legislators’ fears of being beaten by a Tea Party candidate in a primary. Next year, McAuliffe believes the legislature will be more willing to close the coverage gap.

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A single-vehicle accident on S. Arlington Mill Drive ended with the car rolling down an embankment and ending up on its roof.

The accident happened just after 2:00 p.m. The driver of a newer-model Acura was heading down Arlington Mill Drive, near 9th Street S., when she somehow lost control of the vehicle, drove over a curb and down the steep embankment.

The car ended up on its roof, just steps from Four Mile Run and a popular pedestrian path. Amazingly, the driver was unhurt and was able to crawl out of the passenger side of the vehicle on her own power as police and a fire department rescue squad were arriving.

Police on the scene said they were unsure exactly how the accident happened. A flatbed tow truck is currently on scene, trying to figure out how to get the car up from the embankment.

No word yet on whether the driver will face any charges. The accident happened less than a block from the Arlington Mill Community Center and the site of an earlier water main break.

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"Root" cafe logoThe Arlington County Board will consider a 10-year lease for “Root,” a new coffee shop and eatery slated to open in the Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S. Dinwiddie Street).

The Board is scheduled to vote on the lease at its Saturday meeting. The lease calls for rent of the 1,875 square foot restaurant space inside the community center to start at $43,200 annually, or $23.04 per square foot. That will rise to more than $30 per square foot by the end of the lease.

The tenant is Alami Abderrahim, a former manager at Lebanese Taverna and owner of the now-closed Moroccan restaurant Souk on H Street NE in D.C.

“Mr. Abderrahim is a cooking enthusiast and has a cooking channel on YouTube,” county staff note in a report to the Board. “He currently owns and operates a women’s clothing store in the District, Tangerine Boutique, which he plans to continue operating.”

At Arlington Mill, Abderrahim plans to open a cafe called “Root,” which will serve “fresh and healthy Mediterranean cuisine” along with “coffee and coffee-based drinks, tea, soup, hot and cold sandwiches, salads, juices, breakfast, various entrees, and a small selection of pastries.”

The coffee, breakfast and lunch/dinner menus for Root have already been posted online. The restaurant will front Columbia Pike on the Dinwiddie Street level of the building.

The lease calls for Abderrahim to pay utility costs and real estate taxes, but the county will foot the bill for $290,000 worth of necessary construction, including a new HVAC system, vents and utility equipment.

The county estimates the restaurant will open at some point during the latter half of 2015.

The former tenant of the space, Pan American Bakery and Cafe, was released from its lease last year. The county said the owners backed out of the lease “because of personal and family health problems.”

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